Thursday, September 19, 2019

2019-09-09 Washington State - Day 2

Washington State Trip - Day 2
North Cascades National Park
Cascade Pass Trail, Doubtful Lake, Sahale Glacier,
and hundreds of Hoary Marmots!

Doing it Hoary Marmot Style!

During last year's trip to Washington, I hiked the Cascade Pass Trail and absolutely loved it!

However, I did have a few issues.  First off, the final 3.5 miles of the road to the trail head was closed adding 7 miles to the total hike distance.   Also, it was 2 months earlier in the season and I was not prepared for the amount of snow and ice I would have to get across.  Therefore, I didn't make it as far as I had hoped.

This time I confirmed ahead of time that the road was open all the way to the trailhead and this late in the summer there should be much less snow and ice to deal with.  I was also still on east coast time, so I was able to start the 2+ hour drive to the trailhead well before the sun.   

I made a few quick stops to check out a couple of roadside waterfalls along the way. 

Roadside Waterfall along the way to the Cascade Pass Trailhead

Roadside Waterfall along the way to the Cascade Pass Trailhead

The first part of the trail is a grueling climb of approximately 1,500 feet in elevation over about 3.0 miles.  This section of trail features about 35 switchbacks (not an exaggeration) and is a masterpiece of trail design, construction, and maintenance.

It's a thick forest with not a whole lot of views for the first couple of miles.  However, once past the last switchback, the trail leaves the forest and the views begin!  Unless you are hiking in the fog and rain which is often the case in the North Cascades!

 View from the Cascade Pass Trail

 View from the Cascade Pass Trail

 View from the Cascade Pass Trail

Last time I made it to Cascade Pass and there was not a cloud in the sky.   This time, I could barely see a thing.

Cascade Pass Selfie

View from Cascade Pass


Last year I did not make it much past here.  This year I had plenty of time to continue on and would not have to deal with any snow or ice until I reach the Sahale Glacier.  

The only mishap I had was trying to find the trail down to doubtful lake.  Every map I had showed the Doubtful Lake Trail starting about a quarter mile before where it actually starts.  So I spent about an hour trying to find a safe way down with no success.  I kept getting cliffed out, but did end out with a couple of unique views that you don't get from the actual trail!

 View of Doubtful Lake

 Doubtful Lake Panorama

 view of Doubtful Lake


Shortly after I gave up on finding a safe way down to Doubtful Lake, I found the actual trail and had no problems making my way down to Doubtful Lake.  However, the views are much better from up above and it is not worth the 800 foot climb.

I continued on up the Sahale Glacier Trail which even in the fog offers up some spectacular scenery!  This section of trail contains 360-degree views along almost the entire stretch! 

View from along the Sahale Glacier Trail

 View from along the Sahale Glacier Trail

 View from along the Sahale Glacier Trail

 Along The Sahale Glacier Trail

 View from along the Sahale Glacier Trail

View of Doubtful Lake from the Sahale Glacier Trail

View from along the Sahale Glacier Trail

Another thing I really enjoyed about this hike was the Hoary Marmots!  These curious and playful little critters were out in abundance today!

Hoary Marmot 

 Hoary Marmot

 A pair of Hoary Marmots

Zoom in and Count how many Hoary Marmots you can spot

 Hoary Marmot

 Hoary Marmot by Doubtful Lake

 Hoary Marmot

 They even pose for Selfies

Hoary Marmot by Doubtful Lake

Continuing on to the Sahale Glacier is no easy task.  From Cascade Pass to the base of the Glacier is an additional 2,500 feet of elevation (on top of the initial 1,500 foot climb).  The scenery along the way was much prettier than the Glacier itself, but it still felt incredible to finally be able to get to this spot!

 The Sahale Glacier

 Sahale Glacier Climbing Camp

The Edge of the Sahale Glacier

The "trail" continues up the Glacier to the summit of Sahale Mountain, but continuing on requires some series ice climbing which I have no interest in!  So after a nice break, I decided to turn back.  The return hike was much quicker and easier since it was almost all downhill!

Here are a few photos from the hike back down.

View from the base of the Sahale Glacier

 View from the Sahale Glacier Trail

 View from the Sahale Glacer Trail

Final view of Doubtful Lake

 Intersection with the Actual Doubtful Lake Trail 

View from the Cascade Pass Trail


Despite the rain and fog, this was an incredible hike!  Overall I hiked a little over 15 miles over the course of about 8 hours with about 5,300 feet of elevation gain!



My complete set of photos are posted here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/8146392@N05/albums/72157710896289932

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

2019-09-08 Washington State - Day 1

Washington State Trip - Day 1
Deception Pass State Park, Whatcom Falls,
and an Anacortes Sunset
Sunday, September 8th, 2019

 Sunset over Anacortes, Washington from Cap Sante Park

My wife Amy had another business trip out to Anacortes, WA so I jumped at the chance for another trip out to the Pacific Northwest!

For Sunday Morning, I decided to stay close by and headed down to Deception Pass State Park!


Deception Pass State Park

I had hoped to catch a sunrise over the Deception Pass Bridge, however between the rain, fog, and heavy cloud cover, there was no sunrise to be had! 

The Deception Pass Bridge
The sunrise did not cooperate

Here are some of the photos from my morning hike around Deception Pass:


Deception Pass State Park

 Deception Pass State Park

 Seal at Deception Pass State Park

 Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass State Park

Seals at Deception Pass State Park

Giant Slug along the Trail

Giant Slug closeup

 Deception Pass State Park

 Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass State Park

After lunch, Amy, her co-worker Lisa, and I took a scenic drive to check out the town of Bellingham, WA and Whatcom Falls Park
Whatcom Falls

 Amy at Whatcom Falls

Whatcom Falls

 Amy and Me at Whatcom Falls

 Whatcom Falls

After dinner in Bellingham, we returned to Anacortes just in time for me to finish out my day with a little hike up to Cap Sante park to capture a spectacular sunset over Anacortes, Washington!


My complete set of photos from Day 1 of our Washington Trip is posted here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/8146392@N05/albums/72157710876023681