Two weeks in the Canadian Rockies wasn’t nearly enough time, by far, but by early September we were poised to resume our journey one by one through the U.S. National Parks.
Crossing back into the United States we spent our first night in a Walmart parking lot just south of the U.S./Canadian Border in Washington. We had read that not all Walmart stores allow overnight stays, but luckily this location did because we were seriously worn out from the long drive from Jasper. The thinking is that the traveler gets free lodging and in exchange Walmart gets the business. We did our best in this regard and were stock full of supplies when we headed out to North Cascades National Park.
State Highway 20 bisects the middle of North Cascades from East to West and we were surprised to find that there are no entrance fee stations. The road meanders through a river that has been dammed into lakes that in turn power the surrounding areas complete with massive power lines and concrete. The campgrounds are located deep within the forest and it’s hard to see the sky. Left to ourselves we felt a little underwhelmed.
As with all of the parks we headed for the visitor center to get a better feel for the park and take in the park film. We were greeted just outside the door by a ranger whose enthusiasm for North Cascades was obvious and contagious and she was eager to share her experiences. She pointed us inside to a couple more rangers who set us up with a few hikes that they thought that we would enjoy. It seems that at the slower parks the rangers are more at your disposal and have the time to really help you plan your trip.
We quickly discovered that in order to get a better feel for North Cascades you must first get out of the dense forest of trees where sunlight barely penetrates and hike into the park. Strange as it may seem, we had to drive an hour outside the park and then back door up an unpaved road through Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, in order to get back into North Cascades, just to get to the trailhead. We then took a strenuous ten-mile hike up into the wilderness and found the beauty of North Cascades at Cascade Pass with a full view of the valley, Sahale Glacier and Doubtful Lake.
On the way down the trail we could hear the glacier bemoaning its fate and a marmot was trying to tease a hiker out of her lunch. After talking with some other hikers we have come to realize that this park is a hikers paradise; but you have to know where to find the best hiking, none of which is near the main road and much of which begins outside of #NorthCascadesNP
#gopro #hiking #trailporn #gotyourbak #fitness #betterwithpets #highwaysandblueskies
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