Sunday, August 15, 2021

North Cascade NP

Kind of special to share your birthday with your only grandson!

Josh and Alexa share their birthdays the day before.  Cyrus had fun decorating his and Grandpa's lemon cake with a rocket.  I guess we had to choose whose party we attended.  Cyrus said no ice cream at his, but Pat said his would include ice cream!

There are 2 forest fires on the other side of the National Park.  As we approached Glacier Peak Resort and Winery in Rockport, WA on Thurs. you could see and smell the smoke. Also, we are back to very unseasonable triple digit temperatures.  

North Cascades has over 300 glaciers and became a National Park in 1968.  It is one of the ten least visited National Parks.

Across from our campground on the river trail was a child-sized chapel.

Samira had a word or two to share!

Zia thought this was Nettle.  Nettle stings she said.  Let's touch it and see if that's what it is she said.  Zia was right and her hand stung for the rest of our walk!

Muddy but fun on the Skagit River.

Doesn't everyone dye eggs on Aug. 11?

When the troops get restless what's a good Grandpa do?

We went into North Cascades NP Friday morning.  As we approached the Visitor Center the smoke thickened and the smell got worse.  The sign at the center said air quality today was "very unhealthy."  Not even the Rangers were working.  Grabbed a brochure and headed back to the campground where the smoke was still too strong to be out.  The wind was supposed to change and clear up some by Sunday night, after we leave.

A one lane bridge with stoplights going into the park.

There was a small playground at our campground.  Tetherball was a new game and a hit.  The smoke had greatly diminished late Friday.

Pat and I decided to go back to North Cascades Sat. and at least hike a short trail.  It definitely wasn't as smokey today and with our masks I couldn't even smell it.  No Rangers on duty again though, and the air quality was now listed simply as "unhealthy."  We did 2 hikes from the Visitor's Center.  One was a short .3 mile boardwalk and the other a 1.8 mile river loop that, after a descent near the top,  was flat.  Then we went up the road just a few miles to the Gorge Creek Falls and overlook.
The Pickett Range lies between the mountains you see on either side and is hidden by smoke

Skagit River

A very fast moving river.

A nurse log (stump in this case) that has provided nutrients to new trees.

The glacial water was cold.  The last time I checked water temperature, at Lassen NP, I turned around, tripped on a rock, fell, and broke my arm.🙀

Wood benches along the trail.

Near the river were some old-growth cedar trees.  Some alive, some not-so-much.  How many rings do you count?

As we headed back to the Visitor Center on the loop trail we came across an area that had burned, and more than once.  Flowers were growing where the burned trees now allowed sunlight in.


White Sweetclover


Dead ferns were where forest cover was lost from a more recent fire.

There were cut trees near the edge of the burnt trees.  We wondered if this had been done to contain a fire?

An old cable was evidence of past logging.


A small falls on the Gorge Creek that empties into Gorge Lake.

Gorge Lake
The lake color was interesting.

Power is provided to Seattle.

Gorge Lake Dam on the Skagit River.

Gorge Falls has a total drop of 224' depositing glacial waters in Gorge Creek.

Sat.  afternoon we played Cyrus' new card game, Charades.  We had a lot of fun, until we didn't (Mom had a tough one, "iron" and didn't give enough verbal cues as to whether the guesses were right).🙂

We did carry-out tonight since we were packing up.  Marblemount was only 10 minutes away.  Food was good but a little pricey.  Best news though was it was ready 10 mins. after we called.

As we were packing up for an early departure tomorrow and a long day we heard a horse.  Sure enough a horse was running through the campground.  I assume it was an escapee not a wild horse.  Either way he looked quite scared.

Where are the Piepers now?  Rockport, WA

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