North Cascades National Park, WA: 7/22 – 7/24/19

Molly was able to get a few days off from work again.  This time we picked her up in Bellingham, and then we headed west, passing through North Cascades National Park.

20D34B63-1573-4DC7-B0C9-39A14DE723EFWe were able to find a really nice campsite right on the river at Early Winters Campground.  It is a first-come, first-serve campground.  This is probably our favorite campsite yet!

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9F029B42-553A-4185-8594-BA740C0BA29FHere is a few from the other side.

64B5C6C9-14A5-4618-9622-FC3EE76CF664This campground was located about five minutes from the quaint town of Mazama.  There is one local gas station/grocery store/restaurant with outdoor seating.  It was usually frequented by many customers.  Their homemade bread was to die for.

F983C697-7839-4216-B4D3-8D2E6851416EAfter we set up camp, we got on our bikes for a 17.2 mile bike ride along Methow Community Trail.

1100518D-1200-4D4D-8922-43341B29FFCB It was all flat, which was perfect for us to warm up our legs for tomorrow’s elevated bike ride.  None of us had been on a bike recently.   Shortly into the beginning of the ride, there was a suspension bridge that takes you over the Methrow River.   We stopped to rest and to watch some dogs frolicking in the water.  That’s Molly on her bike on the bridge.

66976107-C1F7-40C1-ADC8-CC0794995AFCThe next day we drove to Chicakadee Trailhead,  and did a 5.7 mile single track loop with considerable elevation, narrow paths, and a few steep drop offs.  Needless to say, I hopped off my bike on a few occasions so that I wouldn’t fall down the hill.  I did take one photo of the Northern Cascades off in the distance.

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E42F48D7-F3CB-4246-8D32-F4F5D430CDD7.jpegAfter the ride, we stopped in the town of Winthrop to have some lunch.  Winthrop is a small, old fashioned, western-like town.  Some of the buildings are quite old, yet maintained.

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83A26219-9381-4043-979E-AE1DE781B398That evening, we saw a beautiful sunset from our campsite.

1F850D70-3C8D-42D7-A53E-1E10913B0D27The next morning, we packed up camp and drove a couple of hours west.   The map below shows our location at Rainy Pass.

FD52FCEB-3E6F-4E97-B882-4C32DA00E733We hiked Maple Pass Trail, a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail with breathtaking views.  This is the third time that I have walked on part of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Maybe some day we will hike the entire length of the PCT.  Right.

Since it is a loop, you can begin either in a clockwise or a counterclockwise direction.  If you go clockwise, there is considerable elevation gain, but the descent is not as steep.  We figured our knees would prefer a gentler downhill.  Once we began, it was pretty much an uphill climb.

D224BD39-8872-4F9E-A0C2-0FB548E35723We finally got our first glimpse of Rainy Lake.

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A5622AC3-B028-41CC-89A4-43EAE002C109It was rich in color and surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

FF186360-E229-4434-BF93-4A6CCCFF0CA6Scott always finds the best spot to take his pictures.

0AFE272D-DA95-4391-8B0C-46FD00C11C87

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2F8365A1-FF00-4EE5-A038-9984F40FD5C7As we reached higher elevation, the wildflowers were everywhere!  They were absolutely stunning!

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CE34DF8F-5084-4D68-9047-987A367AA255

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3FABA124-C99C-4D6D-84E3-1669033F2F36We continued up the switchbacks, enjoying the colorful view but anxious to get to the summit of the pass.  See if you can find Molly and me.  Here’s a clue.  She is almost at the top.

FF9B3055-FEA6-4486-B50D-49AA322BB91DAm I there yet?

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11848EF9-1D21-40AE-A493-1A067A974068We finally made it to the top and pondered the trail we just climbed.

1F059D01-79C2-4418-9C5C-121A9610E8E7Scott found a perch to take our first picture of Lake Ann.

C82B1BB7-11D7-4043-9A3B-412BA4E0C341Next, he spotted a white mountain goat on the rocky hill.  Can you spot it?

C2C602F6-0C6B-417D-BE01-CB664EA64248.jpegIt was pretty chilly at the top of the pass as the wind was howling.  We had a quick snack and then began our descent.  We hope that you enjoy Scott’s photos.  The view was truly amazing.

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9BF6F8FB-2F12-4928-B3AF-E26294E76608Here is a closer view of Lake Ann.  Now, you can see the small island on the lake more clearly.

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