Blewett R.I.P

From Wenatchee I continued along highway 2 until Cashmere. Follow the sign into the village and turn left at the Bank. (That place is more Swiss than all places in Switzerland: everthing heads towards THE BANK as the locals call it, not the church or anything like it.)
Turn right again on Sunset highway. This is a backroad that goes all the way to Dryden and the junction with 97. I followed 97 to Ellensburg. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere there is one of these “heritage markers”: These are panels that tell you something about the history of the place. Normally it goes along the lines “in 1850 Jack Sparrow was the first to set up his house in this village.” Ah, interesting. What comes to my mind then is how incredibly young everything is, especially here in the West. My grand-granma was born at a time when the first settlers came to kill and steal from the first nations (they use that term only in Canada apparently, but I like it.)
Now that heritage marker tells you the story of Blewett, a gold mining town that stood in that very spot. And existed from ca. 1880 until 1940. Now there is nothing left but the town’s very own gravestone and the new highway running right through it.


Blewett gravestone

If you searched around you must find some remnants of the mining, old tunnels and alike. They built a road there, on cycling up I had seen several traces thereof but I couldn’t find its start and it is barred and fallen, parts of it completely gone. It would be quite easy to recuperate it as a bike route…
Further up the old road is still intact and even on my map. It leads to the so called “old Blewett pass”. The 97 passes the mountain range at a different location. I took the old one which leads you for ca. 12 miles into silence and peace. There is only forest, at the highest point there is a house. From there a really great and entertaining downhill follows. I am quite sure the 97 is boring compared to it. It is steep enough to let you gain some speed, curvy and it has a couple of hairpins, 4 hairpins, narrow ones, first time I used my brakes on a downhill for another reason than a foto stop. So far that was the my absolute favourite cycling road in Washington.


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