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Monday, October 17, 2011

Ketchup ~ North Cascades

I am finally able to return to posting.  I had major computer issues and it took some time to get back the ability to post photos.  No photos , no blog as far as I am concerned.

You don't want to simply read my thoughts, do you???

I finally got the Interwebz talking to my computer and a momentary pang of figuring out why my computer would not talk to my camera.

So here are some quick catch up posts, I will let the pictures do the talking.

At the end of  August I spent a long weekend in the North Cascades.  I wanted to hike and since the distance is too far to drive for a day hike, I maximized my time by spending the weekend in Marblemount and having two hikes.  I spent Sunday night and went directly to work Monday morning, perfectly refreshed.

and filled with Cinnamon Rolls.  You cannot stay in Marblemount and not have Cinnamon Rolls at The Eatery.

I had a wide choice of hikes and selected what my guide book calls the best hike in the state.

Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm

Sahale means High up or High heavenly ground.  It certainly is that and I will say, yes this was simply a stunning and beautiful hike. 

It is hard to tear yourself away from the trail head parking lot.

During the climb up to Cascade Pass I heard at least 2 avalanches.

Don't worry we were on the opposite side of the valley.

The climb is filed with switchbacks which makes the way easy.  Lots of peek-a-boo views of the dramatic mountains across the way.

Once you get to Cascade Pass and take a little break you look up and convince yourself getting up to Sahale is so worth it.  Half way up looking back to the beautiful mountains across the valley.

and then looking down at the pass.  Look at the people.

Not the man in the red shirt, the little ants in that square of dirt by the little patch of snow.  Yes those people.
This slope was loaded with flowers.

Once you reached the top you looked UP as saw more people.  A little string of ants heading up to the summit.

and looking down from the arm, pretty little Lake Doubtful.

I spent some time watching this Golden-mantle Ground Squirrel gathering grasses and storing them in its burrow.  This will supply plenty of hay for the winter.

It was a perfect lunch spot.

A panorama of the lake down to the Stehekin Valley.  This is the way to get over to eastern Washington, several days hike.

A graphic at the trail head shows that they have found evidence of 8000 year old cooking pits at Cascade Pass.  This area was the through route for eastern Washington.  Aging is aided by knowing the chemical make-up of the different volcanic eruptions.

On Sunday I hiked what my guide book says is one of the best hikes in the world.  Have to say, the authors affection for this place stems from his early mentor and introduction to the hiking sport.  I have to say while this was a nice and quiet hike, it was certainly filled with drawbacks.  For me not THE BEST hike in the world.  I know I had taken mine the day before.

The hike to Hidden Lake started in the woods but soon I was hiking up the side of valley, filled with wildflowers and a late snowfield.  There were also bugs galore.  I was at an advantage here as it was pretty early and the sun was just breaking over the rim. 

Tiger lily and sleepy fritillary.

and dew on a closed thistle looks like some odd horror movie eye.

views away, indeed.  Mt Baker ~ Koma Kulshan is about 35 miles distant.

I encountered not one, not two but at least 12 snow fields to cross.  This is not my happy place.  The odd scalloped effect is called Snow Cups.

The very top of the trail ends at a fire lookout.  The final approach is up a long slope of snow.  I decided that I had had enough of the snow crossing and climbing and called it a day.  Lunch time with a view.

near at hand, watermelon snow.  The snow is turned red by algae.

Don't eat red snow.

The North Cascades are some of the most remote and beautiful.  Access is challenging and the reward for those who can make the long hikes is wilderness unlike anywhere in the lower 48.

1 comment:

  1. This is our all-time favorite hike in the North Cascades, Marti, though we haven't been there now for a couple of years. You must go up Sahale Arm sometime - that is equally incredible and on a clear day one truly can see forever.