Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Washington Part 3 of 3

Years ago when Justin and I first met we decided to save our money and go on a week long camping trip. We have always shared a great lover for the outdoors. After months of saving we looked on line to see where we could afford to go. We were living in Winston Salem, NC at the time and found some good flights to Seattle. We had heard the camping was great and ten years ago we took our first trip in the Washington wilderness. As luck or fate would have it we ended up in this amazing state and have continued to take a camping trip each summer.

Last summer it was hard to stay put but 7 months pregnant with twins did not allow for travels out of the bed never-mind the trails. This year offered a different challenge. Our girls love to crawl around but cannot yet walk, so camping seemed like more of challenge than a vacation. So we decided to shorten our trip from the usual week to two days and splurge on a nice hotel room almost as remote.

Washington is an amazing state. It has more ecosystems than any other state and we live within a few hours of three national parks each of which has more glaciers than any other state beside Alaska. Tonight we returned from our first trip to the North Cascades National Park. The Park is the least visited in the United States and also the most remote. There is only one road that passes through the park and it is closed from October to June because of snow. The number of grizzle bears and mountain lions makes it an unsafe place for dogs, so Vern and Scout stayed with a friend and we took Addy and Morgan to their first national park.

The edge of the park is only about an hour from Bellingham but we planned to drive Rt 20 from west to east and stay in a small town called Mamazo on the eastern and warmer side of the state. Traveling with 10 month olds has its restrictions. You drive when they are sleeping and hike when they are awake. So we got an early start and stopped at the park visitor center. There we washed bottled, changed diapers and confirmed some of the shorter and handicap (read stroller) accessible trials locations.
 Hanging at the park visitor center
Addy practicing for her leg of the trip 

Our first hike took us across a foot bridge overlooking the Skagit River. All of the river and lakes we saw on this trip were glacially feed making then a very cool color aqua green and very cold.  Here in the trails twisted around old growth cedar trees over 1000 years old. The trail of cedars was great and we picnicked in the park till the girls seemed tuckered out.

The trail of the cedars
 Big Cedar that fell in the path and was cut in half

Addy having lunch in the park 
 Miss Morgan with a fist full of cheerios
From there rt 20 twisted our into remote wilderness passed over many glacial lakes prettier then you have seen. My pictures cannot even do this place justice; you must come see it with your own eyes. We passed trail head after trail head and I was salivating to hit the path. But I tried to steer my eagerness towards thoughts of our family hiking these trails together a few years down the line. 
 The glacial fed Lake Diablo
 Addy slept through Lake Ross but Morgan seemed to like it

No sooner did the park end then we arrived at the awesome Freestone Inn. It is in the middle on nowhere, no cell service, tons of hiking, a lake, pool, and a great deck we can hang out on when the kids go to bed, you can be sure we will return.  
The next day we drove 13 miles on a dirt road to Harts pass. It is the highest point you can drive to in Washington at over 7000 feet. From there you can see dozens of glaciers and peaks both in the US and Canada. It just might be the prettiest place I have ever been. From the top we got onto the Pacific Crest trail (the national trail that goes from Mexico to Canada- we were 31 miles from the Canadian border) and hiked. I wanted to walk for days losing touch with everything but nature. Morgan and Addy were less eager to be through hikers, so I will save that dream for another time. But it was amazing to show them such sights. I hope we can return to hike a larger portion or the Pacific Crest Trail in the future but for now, I think we did pretty good with 10month old twins.

Morgan and Daddy at the top of the world

Addy is a  great hiking partner- although she suggested I sing to her the whole way, and I did
Morgan would not stop looking around, she loved it - or so I think 

 Mom and girls 

Our final stop was Rainey Lake. It has an amazing water fall and glacial aqua water. Words and pictures cannot do justice to the many sights we saw. It was a great trip and really cool that we did not have to travel over three hours away. Yes, you should come visit, we will be happy to show you around the great state of Washington.  
The girls chatting over lunch at the lake  
Rainey Lake