Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan in eastern Washington is a wonderfully friendly and scenic space. At the south end of the lake sits the resort town of Chelan. Here are a few images of sunset from the hills above Chelan, from last weekend.

The local area is filled with orchards and wineries, spring is a wonderful time for a visit. Chelan is part of the Cascade Loop, so you can get all sorts of info for your trip at the Cascade Loop page.

Cashmere, Washington

Just back from a Cascade Loop Road Trip to Cashmere.

Located on the Cascade Loop along Highway 2, Cashmere is about 20 minutes east of Leavenworth and about the same distance down to Wenatchee.

I stayed the night at the Cascade Valley Inn. The images speak for themselves!

Panorama from Cascade Valley Inn, April 2018

Spring is very pleasant here, my visit to Cashmere was wonderful!

Here are a few more images from around town.

No trip to Cashmere is complete without a visit to Aplets and Cotlets! I arrived just in time for the tour!

Washington Pass Overlook, North Cascades Highway

The Washington Pass Overlook, North Cascades Highway is one of those places I most always stop when I drive along the North Cascades Highway.

Most Overlooks are a one time deal, once you’ve seen it, no need to go back!

Um…. not the case here.

The Washington Pass Overlook is one of the most scenic spots along the entire Cascade Loop Scenic Highway. Crossing the North Cascades at Washington Pass and Stevens Pass, the Cascade Loop is one of the most scenic highways in the Lower 48!

The Washington Pass Overlook, North Cascades Highway is in the Okanagon National Forest, and maintained out of the office down in Winthrop. The Overlook is well marked, and the parking area is about 1/4 mile off the highway. There is ample parking, several rest rooms and some lights. There is a 200 yard paved path to the overlook, and lots of railings preventing a plunge.

Night sky imaging, where you capture images of the Milky Way, only works well where you can escape the ambient lights from what passes for our civilization. Here are a few images from my many night time visits! This is one of the locations for the Drive-In Night Sky North Cascades Photo Tours.

The North Cascades Highway closes each winter, usually in November and opens near the end of May. I am always excited for its reopening each spring and eager to visit again.

Spring Trip to the Olympic Coast

Spring Break arrived and we headed west. For us that means a ferry ride and drive along Highway 101, through Olympic National Park, one of the greenest places on earth. We stopped to see Sol Duc Falls along the way.

And after checking into our B&B we headed to Ruby Beach for sunset.

The next morning was rainy, but the skies cleared in the afternoon for a hike along Rialto Beach.

That night we stayed in La Push and enjoyed crazy skies and a lot of hail!

Port Townsend is always a treat for more eye candy.

For information on Photo Tours, Classes and Order Prints its all right here!

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park surrounds the entire mountain, but the thing is just so bloody big that you don’t have to be in the park for the mountain to fill the frame. These images were all taken quite a distance away, across White Pass and deep into the Goat Rocks Wilderness.

We entered the wilderness at Snow Grass Flats, hiked up to an intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked north to the highest point along the PCT in Washington, a place called the Knifes Edge.

Prints are for sale here.

Photo Tour info is available here.

North Cascades National Park

Mount Logan, North Cascades National Park

In the last entry we explored the Northern Unit of the North Cascades National Park.

The Southern Unit of the North Cascades National Park is much more accessible than its northern sister. Lake Chelan created a natural route deep into the eastern flank of the North Cascades, a relatively short trek over Cascade Pass crosses into the western zone. This route was used by Native Americans, the village of Stehekin at the north end of Lake Chelan translates to “the way through”.

Once Cascade Pass was considered a possible route for what is now the North Cascades Highway but thankfully now is only reached on foot via a 3.7mile hike.

This is probably the most popular hike in the summer, a day hike to Cascade Pass and maybe up and onto Sahale Arm.  Late July the wildflowers explode and it’s really a Sound of Music experience…

North Cascades National Park info on trails and permits.

Sahale Glacier Camp is my favorite camp site on Washington. I have stayed the night maybe 15 times.

The North Cascades National Park turns 50 this year! In October, 1968 the park was officially established. Lauren Danner has recently written a wonderful book “Crown Jewel Wilderness: Creating North Cascades National Park” that chronicles the efforts of many to protect the North Cascades.

From Cascade Pass the trail continues east, dropping through Pelton Basin, and then down the Doubtful Creek drainage. The trail bisects the creek in a wonderful spot on the way down…

Before you reach Basin Creek there is a spur trail heading around the shoulder of Sahale Peak and up to Horseshoe Basin. This is NOT a trail to pass up. It’s a short way up into the basin, a wide semicircle of granite teeth sit in a bed of ice, glistening. Impossibly green swards of meadow slash below and bright blue gleams above… you get the idea.

The upper basin is the home of the Black Warrior Mine. A going concern as recently as the 1950’s, the opening to the mine is carved into the headwall of the valley, several rooms are accessible, littered with the detritus of past inhabitants. A road once led from the mine entrance to Cottonwood Camp, and Stehekin, but little by little nature has won back. As recently as 2003 there was a tour bus that ran a daily route from Stehekin to Cottonwood Camp, barely 11 miles from Cascade Pass!

The American Alps Legacy Project is a coalition working to protect more than 237,000 acres of pristine wild country, from Baker Lake to Washington Pass. Their proposal is to expand the North Cascades National Park. You can learn more here.

In the next post we’ll visit Stehekin, Park Creek Pass and the North Fork of Bridge Creek.

Fine Art and Canvas Prints of these and more images here.

Information about North Cascades Photo Tours here.  

Buckner Mountain from Park Creek Trail

 

These are just a few of the many spectacular hikes in the park. Your opportunities for adventure are endless.

I am planning trips to both Whatcom Pass and Park Creek Pass this summer, to celebrate the 50th Birthday of the Park.

Hope to see you out on the trail.

 

 

North Cascades National Park

The North Cascades National Park is situated in the northwestern corner of Washington State, along the Canada border. It’s a wonderfully rugged piece of wilderness, half a million acres of meadows, jagged peaks, glaciers, forests and wonder.

The North Cascades National Park does not get a lot of visitors, by National Park standards. That’s due in part, to the fact that the park is not on the way somewhere, unless you’re circumnavigating the US border! It’s a 3 hour drive, north from Seattle. In short, it’s an out of the way place. If you got there, its because you meant to!

Which is all fine with me. Less people means more solitude.

The park is bisected by the North Cascades Highway into two units. The North Unit is more remote than its southern sister. There are fewer trails.

The legendary Picket Range is here. Peaks like Mount Terror, Mount Despair and Mt Challenger tower over the deep, wet valleys filled with nasty things like Devils Club.

Trail access from the west side is via Hannegan Pass. Heading east from the town of Glacier on SR 542 (Mt Baker Hwy) for 13 miles there is a well marked turn off for the Hannegan Pass trailhead.

All sorts of important info about permits to camp overnight in the park, can be found here

Its about 4 miles to the pass, and from there you can do a short easy scramble to the top of Hannegan Peak, or a more involved climb of Ruth Mountain.

Just down the east side from the pass you enter the National Park. There is a campsite, Boundary Camp, and a trail junction. You can ascend Copper Ridge to Silesia Camp and Egg Lake, or follow the main trail down the Chilliwack River (there is a spot where you pull yourself over a chasm in a cable car) to a junction where you meet a turn off for the trail to Whatcom Pass.

This is one of the more remote parts of the park. The views of Mt Challenger and its namesake glacier are mind blowing. I have visited twice, the first visit was magnificent, and the most recent a total white out of gray.

From Whatcom Pass you can retrace your steps back to the car, or you can continue your trip east, and hike down along Little Beaver Creek to the shores of Ross Lake and take a water taxi to Ross Lake Resort,  or hike out via Beaver Pass.

A longer and more spectacular trip is to take the turn off for Copper Ridge. This is one of the few ridge hikes in the park, affording breathtaking views of Mount Shuksan, Mount Baker and host of other peaks. There are several camp site along Copper Ridge, Silesia Camp has the best views anywhere, and Copper Lake is a wonderful place to camp along the route.

The trail loops down the Chilliwack River, which you ford just south of the Canada border.

In early August expect to be wading through a river filled with salmon. It is quite a sight. From there its an easy hike to the junction with the Whatcom Pass Trail, and so you can make a loop out of the trek.

 

The Southern Unit has many more access points along Highway 20, Ross Lake to the east and Lake Chelan to the south. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through on its way to Canada.

In the next two posts we will visit some of the most spectacular areas in the lower section of the park.

Here is an image of Mount Logan from the North Fork Bridge Creek.

Mount Logan, North Cascades National Park