June 20, 2011

North Cascades - Final Day

Ta-daaaah! I promised I wouldn't leave you hanging! Here at last are the pictures and stories from our final day of vacation. :) Enjoy!

We leave Winthrop late Tuesday morning, around 11am. We ate breakfast at Three-Fingered Jack's in town (a splurge), and that gave us our late start. But we have Hwy. 20 under us, and a long trek back over the mountains to look forward to.

Our hiking book highlights several intriging hikes along our route. Cutthroat Lake, Cedar Falls, Lake Ann, Maple Ridge. Top on my list, though, is the Pacific Crest Trail. Spanning over 2600 miles, it runs the length of the west coast, from the Mexican border in California all to way to the Canadian border in Washington. Someday, I want to hike the whole thing. But today, I'll settle for simply stepping out on the trail itself. We're about to cross paths with it, right over Washington Pass.

But as we gain altitude, we begin to notice an unexpected addition to the scenery.

Snow. Lots and lots of snow. The higher we climb into the Cascades, the more we find. Caleb's thrilled. But we're not so sure. The roads are clear, but turn-offs are becoming hard to see. We watch carefully for Washington Pass, the first stop on the map.


Yeah. This is the parking lot at Washington Pass. Except its under four feet of white stuff.

Parking this way? I'm afraid not. Unless you own a snowmobile. Then feel free to park it anywhere.

The Liberty Bell Mountains, perfectly framed from our vantage point in the pass.

Rest stop? Hope you brought snowshoes! The restrooms might be a bit, um, under the weather.

Oh common. I know you're snickering, just a little. :)

Caleb runs here and there like a kid on Christmas morning. We're bundled up in jackets for the first time this trip.

Snow, huh? Who'da thunk it? Not us! It's June, after all! But then, we're just lowly Island-dwellers. What do we know of snow and mountains and spring thaw? (Apparently, not much).

We have to revise our plans. All those cool hikes we wanted to investigate? Nowhere to be found. Trail markers and sign posts are buried, as are the trails themselves. We were lucky to find the turn-off for Washington Pass at all. So we laugh, snap our pictures, throw a snowball or two, and then head back for the car.

Oh, and the Pacific Crest Trail? We did actually find it. Sort of.

It's buried, too.

Oh well. Now we know to come back in August after the snow's gone. And I'm sure we will. In fact, as we drive home, we begin to plan a return trip. Who knows? Maybe in a few years, we'll be back.

In the meantime, we're looking forward to our own beds tonight and a bathroom with a real shower.

Vacation is good, but home is always best. :)

No comments: