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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

North Cascades‏

June 3rd, 2011 · 1 Comment

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North Cascades National Park in north-central Washington is about water and trees. My friend Tom Schulte had recommended that I take the North Cascades Highway through the park as I returned home on Sunday, May 29.

But because of the late spring in the Northwest, it had been closed until just May 25. “Snow up to 65 feet deep on the North Cascades Highway is causing one of the latest spring openings in the history of the 39-year-old highway,” the Seattle Times had reported on May 11. I lucked out again.

I was certainly lucky to have the hospitality of Tom and his wife Martha both when I left the Seattle area to fly to Alaska and to return there. Tom picked me up at the airport and took me to their home in Redmond for delicious meals, a bed, and great conversation.

Tom has so often given me good advice about routes to take that I made sure to consult with him when I got back to his home on Saturday. I remember his great recommendations on where to stay when I visited Mesa Verde National Park, when I returned once from Albuquerque, and en route to Portland to see Multnomah Falls.

“You could continue driving diagonally to the northwest to connect with Highway 20,” the North Cascades Highway, Tom wrote me. “Highway 20 goes over the Cascades right through the middle of the North Cascades National Park. North Cascades doesn’t have any real ‘attractions.’ It’s just a huge tract of wild mountains and forests – and a handful or so of Grizzly Bears, with many more elk, mountain goats, and sheep. As a National Park it’s actually pretty inaccessible unless you want to do multi-day (week) backpacking. But some of the scenic turnouts on the highway can knock your socks off – if you get there on a clear day.”

And, just as Tom have recommended, I did get there on a clear day. The views that I enjoyed the most were those on a small scale — streams and individual trees. At the Happy Creek Forest Walk I wandered through groves of old-growth Douglas-fir and red cedar, some of them 700 years old.

A Red Cedar Close Up

A Red Cedar Close Up

Click on the picture above to enlarge

At another turnout is this mountain stream.

A Stream in North Cascades

A Stream in North Cascades

Click on the picture above to enlarge

This route through one of America’s great national parks was a fitting way for the start of my journey back to Boulder.

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Posted in: Alaska, Photography

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 George Elting // Jul 1, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    You were in my neighborhood and didn’t stop by??

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