A couple of weeks ago Pepe and I were in Seattle visiting friends. Naturally we wanted to do some hikes in the area. Since we intended to drive the Cascade Loop (which we could not complete becausue of major forest fires in the area), we looked for a hike on the most scenic part of the loop that goes through the North Cascades National Park. A friend suggested the trail to Cascade Pass. This hike was also highly recommended in a book on photography in Washington State that I really like. It was a terrific suggestion. I have been an avid hiker for many years; I have hiked thousands of miles in many countries, and this trail would be very high up on my list of all-time favorites. It is nothing short of spectacular.
Even before you hit the trail you are treated with wondrous scenery as you drive the 23-mile Forest Service road to the trailhead, about an hour’s drive. The first half is paved, and the second half is gravel. The road parallels the North Fork of the Cascade River, and as it climbs you are treated to one waterfall after another.
The trail starts in the forest, and you hike up more than thirty switchbacks before the trees start to thin. In another mile or so you arrive at the pass. The view at the pass literally took my breath away. It almost looks like a painting, but this is real!
Some hikers told us that if we climbed further up the trail, we would get a beautiful view of an Alpine Lake. So upward we went. The trail up on this part of the climb is also beautiful. Here is Pepe on that part of the trail. I love the colors, almost like fall colors.
At the top of this climb we saw the view of Doubtful Lake. Yes, that is the name of the lake; we had a lot of jokes about how the lake got its name.
There was wildlife along the trail. We saw young grouse and heard their mother calling for them. We saw an adorable pika, and a marmot, but the marmot was moving too fast for a good photo. Near the viewpoint for Doubtful Lake there was a beautiful mountain goat. And on the way down, there was a deer on the trail, a young doe who didn’t move even as we got very close to her; the deer there must be very used to people, as the trail is popular.
There was one more treat in store for us as we hiked down the trail and the sun started setting. Another stunning vista with the clouds revealing the sun’s rays.
It was definitely a day to remember!!!!!