North Cascades Trip, Part 1

The Death Star has chased me inside. I've been watering all week in preparation for this heat wave, and there are still a few things I could and probably should water, but I'm an absolute wimp when it comes to heat. Anything that still needs water can wait until tomorrow morning. As I'm staying inside out of the heat, now seems like a good time to start sorting through and posting more of my photos from the trip I took with my parents to the North Cascades in July. I'm not going to say much, just let the scenery do most of the talking for me.

Our first photo op along the North Cascades Highway was this overlook at Lake Diablo.

Boulders and statuesque trees.

And blue, blue water.

Next up was Rainy Lake. I started snapping pictures before we left the parking lot. I loved this soothing green and grey mixture, of which I can really only identify the Veratrum viride in the background and the grey Anaphalis margaritacea. I really would love, and should try more to emulate, this tranquil scheme in my own garden, but it's so hard with all the more flashy foliage and flowers catching my eye at nurseries.

Mimulus lewisii

Clintonia uniflora

Rainy Lake.

I imagine that water is rather cold, with a patch of snow still at the shore. A lovely thought on this hot day.

Several waterfalls spill into the lake from the surrounding ridge.

A contorted branch hanging in the water from this fallen tree looked like a giant mutant frog to us.

If you looked for the fish in the middle of the picture in my WV post yesterday and just couldn't find the slippery thing, here's a closer view. It still isn't that easy to see, matching the color of the rocks almost perfectly.

Even sitting in an air-conditioned room, I want to dunk my head this cold mountain stream today.

We got back in the car and headed on down the highway towards our destination, but couldn't resist stopping at the Washington Pass Overlook. The peak in the photo below is the Early Winters Spires.

The highway, far, far below.

Don't worry, there's a railing. Kangaroo Ridge running, or should I say hopping, along.

 The tenacity of these mountain trees always amazes me.

This one may not be around much longer. The roots on this side have been killed by people traipsing over them repeatedly. But it will probably prove me wrong and the roots on the other side will be enough to support it.

A view back at the spires. That's the spot where I took the vertiginous photo of the highway.

One of the native mat-forming penstemons cuddles up to a bench.

This shapely little Arctostaphylos found a rock crevice to call home. I'm not sure what species it is. It doesn't look quite right to be Arctostaphylos uva-ursi. Perhaps a hybrid?

Life on a rocky mountain is hard.

And I'll end with another soothing green and grey scene. This is more the look I was hoping for when I sowed the meadow mixture I purchased this spring. I think I'm going to have to go with plugs of Carex, instead, and carefully select individual wildflower species, like pearly everlasting (the grey leaves, again). to include.

The next part of this trip will be an extensive coverage of the area around Hart's Pass. I'll probably have to split it into a few posts. My trigger finger was tripping the shutter left and right.


  1. Oh, I'm a heat wimp too; these high temperatures make me blue. Great pictures from your trip! The view point, rail or not, isn't for the faint of heart. I know folks who wouldn't got out there not matter how gorgeous the view is... I love the little Arctostaphylos you found: a natural bonsai.


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