Friday, November 25, 2011

North Cascades National Park

After visiting Winthrop and Rainy Creek Falls, Oscar and I came into North Cascades National Park from the east side. We were in for a treat!

The first beautiful site that beheld our eyes was Ruby's Arm on Ross Lake. Ross lake is 23 miles long and even extends a little bit into Canada. Ruby's Arm is a small, thin portion at the southern end. It was really beautiful! I liked the deep, midnight blue color. This was late August, so the mountains were mostly free of snow, but we could still see a glacier off in the distance.

But the real highlight of the trip was Lake Diablo. It was stunning! The turquoise color was absolutely mesmerizing.

I would have stared at it all day if it hadn't been so windy.

There are several roadside waterfalls as you travel along Highway 20. I'll have to come back in the spring to see Ketchum Creek Falls (top left) and Gorge Creek Falls (bottom left and right) when the water flow is stronger. Highway 20 crosses an enormous gorge as you pass Gorge Creek Falls, and looking down the bridge into the gorge even gave me a little vertigo, though I have zero fear of heights.

Oscar and I stopped off at this power plant to take a short hike up to Ladder Creek Falls.

For some reason, they'd taken the area information out of their windows, but they left the frames behind. We shot this picture of Oscar standing behind the frame, and it totally looks like a framed picture.


Ladder Creek Falls was pretty, but the upper drops were a bit obscured.

I love the unique way the water has shaped the gorge it falls into! Fortunately this waterfall has a medium watershed, which means it doesn't dry up later in the year unless there's a drought. It's one of the few we saw this trip that wouldn't be significantly bigger in the spring.

Big Devil Falls can be seen from the highway, though it's fairly distant and wasn't very big in late August. But if you came in the spring and were somehow able to get closer to it, it would be a pretty impressive waterfall.

We drove a little bit out of our way to see Teepee Falls. It was a nifty waterfall, but you view it from a road that crosses it from very high up and smack in the middle of the falls. The result is that you can't see the entire falls, and that your pictures make it look more like a river than a waterfall.

And the best waterfall of all was the last one we saw - North Fork Falls. It's hard to believe that we took this picture during the driest time of year for waterfalls. It was roaring! We're glad we found it too, since it ended up being harder to get to than we were expecting. It was significantly out of our way (30 miles round trip), and then we found out that the road leading to it was closed for construction. It was after 7:00pm, so there wasn't anybody working on it, but they'd left monstrously heavy rocks to prevent cars from taking the road. I really didn't want to turn around, though, after coming so far on terrible roads that made me feel a bit carsick. The GPS said it was only about a mile away so we knew we could hike it, but for all we knew it was 1 mile straight uphill. Fortunately it didn't end up being too bad, though it was somewhat steep and we did get a little winded. But the beautiful waterfall made it well worth it. After seeing mostly dry waterfalls all day, it was good to see a powerful, large watershed falls.

And we caught a nice sunset over the valley on our way back home.

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