Friday, May 22, 2009

22May2009 | North Cascades

From North Cascades
Entering the North Cascades National Park we emerge from the deep green redwood forests of Oregon and Washington and the snow capped peaks begin to show themselves.


From North Cascades
We cross the Skaggit River to look for skiing at higher elevations.

From North Cascades
Crossing this rivlette on a red cedar log bridge - a single log spanning 40 feet kept our feet dry. The snow fed creeek was clear and cold.

From North Cascades


From North Cascades
Route 20 winds along the Skaggit River Gorge, which has been dammed in three places - Ross Lake, Diablo Lake, and Gorge Lake in the 1920's to make power for Seattle. The forests have grown back, but the salmon run has been desimated. Efforts are underway throughout Washington and southern BC to mitigate the dam's impact on fisheries.

From North Cascades


From North Cascades
We head out to the east side of the park, higher elevations and find the snow we are seeking. The dramatic jagged peaks hold snow late in the season, but late afternoon warm temperatures and clear skies make for many wet snow avalanches - visible on many steeper slopes.

From North Cascades


From North Cascades
We depart late in the afternoon for a gentle tour up a wide canyon. Signs of recent avalanche activity are all around, so our alert is up and we pick our route carefully. Here, Diane crosses a slide path created probably just the day before. We begin to get a bit spooked as we hear falling rocks from far overhead. But, it turned out to be skiers descending from a high traverse tour called "the Birthday Tour" - a one way shuttle trip between Blue Lakes parking area and the hairpin turn on Rt. 20 where we parked. We subsequently met up with the party and had a nice chat as our paths crossed on the way back to the road.

From North Cascades


From North Cascades


From North Cascades
We hear a distant roar, and look around. Nothing is moving in our valley, but as we crest the low pass to return to the car, we can see flashing lights on the highway. A slide has come down blocking the road - our camper on this side of the slide, with us. Our campsite and tomorrow's exit from the park on the other side. We prepare for a long wait, make dinner for another ski party we met on the trail - as their car is on the far side of the slide and they, like us are trapped until the road is clear. We swap stories and get to know one another, and within 2 hours, the heavy equipment has arrived and cleared off a single lane through the snow. We make our move and are on our way.

From North Cascades
Waterfalls cascade all along Rt. 20 this time of year and as the sun begins to slide into the woods, they light up in alpenglow and the orange mist scatters on the hot roadway.

From North Cascades
(Photo Credit - Dan Turner - one of the skiers we shared dinner with. This mountain goat was perched atop the ridge at 7,500' along the "Birthday Tour")

1 comment:

tim said...

Love the picture!

-tv