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Three colorful fall walks in the North Cascades

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Colonial Creek is at top and red lines show three hikes

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.

img_8240These 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.

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View at Cutthroat Pass

The first walk was northeast from Highway 20 up Porcupine Creek to Cutthroat Pass with a 2000′ elevation gain.

rainylakehikesThe 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.

cascadepasshikeThe 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:

8 Responses to “Three colorful fall walks in the North Cascades”

  1. Eric Adelberger says:

    HI Val

    As always your photos were beautiful. I’m downloading my pictures now and will try to get them to you by tomorrow

    I’m sorry for the delay

  2. susan nevin says:

    Very beautiful! Love the red blueberries, the steep cliffs (yikes), the dreamy-looking water, and the commentary. Looks like a challenging three days!

    S and K

  3. Norris & Karen says:

    Thanks again for sharing! Get out is right!

  4. Stormy Burns says:

    Val, your photo portfolio has a gorgeous addition with this post. I love the close-ups as well as the vistas of color – and the sharing of adventure! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Dave Kampert says:

    Good on ya, Val. My knees hurt just from reading your description.

  6. Scott Veirs says:

    Those are stunning photos all around, especially the super-steep view down to Lake Ann. I’m also pleased you two made it up to Cascade Pass. You know that’s the first step on the Ptarmigan Traverse, right? Maybe next summer? Or with tween/teenagers in 2018?!

    http://www.summitpost.org/ptarmigan-traverse/154644

  7. Shirley Paterson says:

    Great scenes!

    (Aside, to Leslie — Guess what’s shown up in Manitou Springs? — a Pelindaba Lavender store!)

  8. Jane Smith says:

    Beautiful photos as always, Val. Our trees are finally turning here in NorCal, but not as bright and sharp as the Cascades. Reminds me of New England.

    You and your friend look pretty damn trek-worthy for septuagenarians!!! Have a great fall….hugs to Leslie,too!


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