North Cascades National Park

June 26th through 29th, 2022

Driving Through

North Cascades National Park is a weird one compared to the most recently visited locations.  Its origins can be found in the three major dams built along the valley that powers most of Seattle.  My first day in and out of the park was mostly searching for places I can park the van and exist without needing to spend money.

I didn’t know it at the time, but my first hike was outside the park in the greater Ross Lake Recreation Area.  It involved hiking along the edge of a mountain with a convenient turnaround point at a cascading river.

Survival is Key

My time at this park devolved into survival.  I knew before arriving that the Pacific Northwest was going to get a heat wave but I didn’t expect it to hit the Cascades as well.  My simple midwestern mind thinks “there are mountains so that means elevation where its cool”.  Except that most of the areas you can sit around are only 3000 feet which is not enough to escape the heat.

So in reality I just sat in the heat next to cool water and jumped in a few times.  It wasn’t my traditional national park exploration but still enjoyable in its own way.

Dam, the Power

Before leaving I had to at least do something on the touristy side.  I hiked a nature trail surrounding the Gorge dam and read all the plaques telling the history of the town and the first dam in the region.  I’ll admit my favorite part was stepping inside the museum due to the air conditioning but all in all another great stop in the North Cascades.