Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 12-13: North Cascades National Park

~ Just the Facts ~
Restaurants:  Cascade Burgers

A new national park is a good day for the Miller's. North Cascade was a surprise for us. We envisioned it being a "sky island" -- one of those parks that you climb in altitude to get to and that climb lifts you above the heat. Not so.  North Cascade is at about 500 ft in elevation and was plenty hot.  Thankfully, we had plenty of shade so we didn't miss the air conditioners too much.  

NCNP is a serious temperate rain forest -- like the redwoods that we call home.  However, the trees are quite different and the underbrush in the forest is much more dense.  Everything in the park is covered with moss and anything not covered in moss is likely to be covered in berries or ferns.  

The river that runs through NCNP is dammed in several locations and there are lots and lots of power poles and lines everywhere in the park.  There is lots of hiking and boating in the park.  We did a very long drive on our free day there.  

At one high overlook, we saw an interesting phenomenon on the water below us.  The wind was pushing on the water, rippling the surface.  We watched it grow and grow and all of a sudden, the wind was upon us, too.  

Then the rain started.  Big, fat raindrops that felt so good after the heat we'd been in.  We stood there and watched the weather move in around us.  So beautiful.  

We noticed some folks in a kayak and canoe on the lake below who were probably not enjoying the weather as much as we were.  

After that, we explored the nearby town of Concrete, WA where we found this amazing high school that crosses the road.  We also had ice cream and then took off up a beautiful side road to another dammed up lake.  

At one point, we got out and did a nature trail loop through the forest and 600 year old Douglas Firs.  It was so beautiful as well as being hot and humid.  

 We'd been warned that the glacier run-off made the lakes dangerously cold but Baker Lake was not. It was refreshing and delightful.  We skipped rocks and enjoyed cooling off.  

Mt Shuksan

Rained on the way back.

Mt. Baker, looking up the aptly named Boulder Creek

We woke up the next morning to rain.  And had to pack up wet chairs and gear!  Oh well.

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