For three days this late September, Eric and Val car-camped for three nights at Colonial Creek Campground just on the north side of North Cascades National Park. With this as a base we took three long hikes that ascended to elevations above treeline. Well maybe they were not all that long — about 6 miles or so each. But, what with a lot of elevation gain and lots of rocks to watch out for and stumble over, they were pretty good workouts for us septuagenarians.
These were fall hikes with extraordinary color in the landscape. Fields of bright red blueberry leaves fringed at the higher elevations with the yellow of showy larches with gray rocks and lowering clouds above.
The first walk was northeast from Highway 20 up Porcupine Creek to Cutthroat Pass with a 2000′ elevation gain.
The next was a loop southwest from the same start up to Maple Pass and back down and around Lake Ann. This trail can be done counter-clockwise which is said to give the best views and gives the hiker the steepest part of the trail on the downhill end. We decided to go the opposite way and get through the steep part before we were too tired. And, if the uphill view was all that much better on our downhill part of the trail, we could take plenty of rest breaks and turn around and see that view. Who would think we might want rest breaks. Well? Val likely would and Eric, not so much.
The third walk was from the end of the road in the southwest side of North Cascades National Park up to Cascade Pass. This hike is mostly in the woods for some 40 switchbacks and then you break out into expansive views of Johannesburg Mountain and many other high peaks.
The picture below is from a point near Cascade Pass looking back toward Johannasburg Mountain on the left. Note at the lower left middle of the photo, the loop road at the parking lot. The inset shows a zoomed view of the cars there. Our car — all the way down there — 40 switchbacks down!
Eric and Val wish you all the best in this fall season! Get outside! Feel nature’s forces!
Here are some photographs taken by Eric: