North Cascades NP, WA July 4, 2018

After we returned from two weeks in Alaska we spent several days in Bothell, Washington unpacking, washing clothes and restocking the fridge.

Our next stop was in Anacortes, Washington where we spent the 4th of July holiday.   Anacortes is located on beautiful Fidalgo Island. It is separated from the mainland by a bridge over the Swinomish Channel.

On Friday we visited North Cascades National Park, a 505,000 acre park located in north central Washington.  The park terrain is a result of glaciation with more than 300 glaciers remaining today. The park contains more glaciers than any other area outside of Alaska, containing one quarter of all glaciers in the lower 48 states.   Some refer to the area as the “North American Alps”. As well as glaciers are 500 lakes and ponds and many, many waterfalls. IMG_2885IMG_2878IMG_2888IMG_2895IMG_2906



Ross Lake Dam

The first inhabitants in the North Cascades dates to at least 9400 B.C.  The park was established in 1968, making this year its 50th anniversary.  IMG_20180705_132241


Gorge Creek Falls – 242 foot drop

The North Cascades Highway opened in 1972 which allowed vehicular access through this beautiful park.  We drove part of the highway enjoying the beautiful views throughout the park. We stopped at the Visitors Center and watched several short movies about the park.  We were last here in July, 2014 but it is always fun to go back to our favorite national parks. We followed the Skagit River which is the largest river draining into Puget Sound and the third largest river on the West Coast.   We arrived at beautiful glacier fed Diablo Lake surrounded by glaciated peaks. Diablo Lake is one of three reservoirs from three dams built between 1919 and 1968 which supplies electricity to Seattle.  IMG_2927IMG_2910IMG_2911IMG_2913IMG_2928

On Saturday we met up with Bill’s college friend Todd and his granddaughter who lives nearby.  Todd gave us a tour of the area with some beautiful views of the San Juan Islands, including this one from Mt Erie, elevation 1,273.  We introduced Todd’s granddaughter to geocaching which she loved. 20180707_12215820180707_12235120180707_110014~220180707_105902-EFFECTS

On Tuesday we moved further north to Birch Bay, less than ten miles from the Canadian border.  For the first two days Bill was fighting a cold.

On Thursday we drove to see Mt Baker, one of the beautiful mountains in the North Cascade Range.  


A View of Mt Baker Driving Toward Artist Point

 We drove through the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest along the Mount Baker Highway, designated a National Forest Scenic Byway.  IMG_2950IMG_2955IMG_20180712_123217-EFFECTS

Our destination was Artist Point, elevation 5,100 ft., which is the end of the road. This section of road is usually not open until mid July.  The area has an average annual snowfall of 701 inches. IMG_2957IMG_2960IMG_20180712_131514-EFFECTSIMG_2996IMG_3005


Mt Shuksan, 9,127 FT


Mt Shuksan, 9,127 FT

Mount Baker is a glacier covered volcano rising 10,781 feet above sea level.  It is the second most active in the Cascade Range, with Mt St Helens being the first.  It was named by Captain George Vancouver for a young officer in his command, Lt. Joseph Baker who first spotted the peak. IMG_3012

The drive was amazing with hairpin curves, amazing scenery, cascading waterfalls and snow.  Piles and piles of snow! The temperature was 66 degrees but there was plenty of snow for people to play in, including Bill who decided to throw snowballs with Mt Baker watching behind him. 20180712_13011120180712_130129IMG_20180712_130046-EFFECTS

Our last view of MT Baker today. IMG_3017

Next up:  A ferry ride

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