Here we are again, dumping a load of blog posts that are seriously past due (and we have a bunch more to type up that are also seriously past due). It seems we prefer to be volunteering, playing, exploring and even doing household chores to blogging but we eventually get there. The latest batch is from last summer. We’ve included links so you can jump to them easily.
Holly got hit with one of her evil headaches so John finally got to hike solo and loved it. Hiking together is fine and we get along well with few issues. John is the stronger hiker and often has to wait for Holly. He is patient and helps when needed with nary a complaint. Holly has suggested he hike on his own and offered to help him find a different hiking buddy for some of the tougher hikes but he repeatedly refused. Holly’s evil headache can be considered a bit fortuitous. We were shifting our home camp down river in a day so John either hiked alone or missed out on getting up close and personal to a glacier. He REALLY wanted to hike to that glacier so he finally agreed and took off on his own. It was a well-traveled out and back trail so his dismal sense of direction wasn’t an issue. It was a beautiful day. He wound his way up the mountain and hit the trail early to beat the crowds. He came home seriously happy. Continue reading →
This is one of the premier hikes in the North Cascades due to beautiful scenery all along the trail and the astounding views at the top. A bonus is that you cross into North Cascades National Park. Few people do this as you have to hike miles to reach the park boundary or take Cascade River Road into the park. The National Park is 99.9% wilderness so Cascade River Road is the ONLY road that goes into the park itself. Most visitors stay on Highway 20 which is in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area and thus never enter the National Park.
Lake Ann in Glacial Valley
This was definitely one of Holly’s favorite hikes this season. This trail was incredibly crowded and Holly hikes uphill very slowly so John found it a bit frustrating. We were constantly stepping off trail and putting on our masks to let people pass (Covid). Continue reading →
Sauk Mountain is in the Mount Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest which is on the western flank of North Cascades National Park. We heard this was an awesome trail and added it to our hike list. This trail is still on our list. We hiked it, but we couldn’t see it.
We knew the cloud cover was going to be heavy in the morning so we skipped our normal early hike start time and headed into the town of Concrete for a nice breakfast first. Then we headed up Sauk Mountain Road. This is a mostly decent gravel road that switchbacks up the mountain so that your car does most of the climbing for you. The only bad spot for us was the last curve before the parking lot. With the overnight rain and mist, the road was wet and our all-wheel drive Subaru had problems with a couple of monster pot holes. We should have turned off the traction control system. If you have that on your car, make sure you know where the button is to turn it off for situations like this. It is better to have a few tires gripping the road instead of all four locking up as you slide back down the mountain. We did finally make it all the way up. A friend went up later in a van and parked on the gravel pull-off just before the bad spot and hiked up the last bit so you don’t need a four-wheel drive vehicle to do this hike.
Awesome hike! This is one of the premier hikes in the North Cascades and the ENTIRE hike is in the National Park. This was John’s favorite hike right up until we went Mt. Baker Highway and he fell in love with other hikes.
The road didn’t melt out until July so we hit the trail just three days after they opened the gate to let us drive up the rest of the way to the parking lot. And what a parking lot it is! We frequently sent visitors to the parking lot even if they weren’t planning to hike. You have a huge glacial valley sweeping out away from you, snow covered peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, wildflowers and thick trees.
The call we waited for finally came. We were going to the North Cascades National Park!
We left our temporary home on Whidbey Island on the morning of May 22nd. When we got to Newhalem, we met our supervisor, Katie Wood, at the volunteer campground. There were five sites to choose from and the one we selected was next to the building housing the laundry and bathroom. We have a really nice picnic table. Our first thought was to move it closer to our rig so the awning could shield it from the elements. Can you say H-E-A-V-Y!!! Our second thought was to leave the picnic table where it was.
We were lucky to get into North Whidbey RV Park after our long trek north. With the Covid-19 lockdown still in effect only long-term rentals were allowed. We booked online and there were no restrictions mentioned so we were surprised when we arrived and they told us it was closed to new campers. We explained we were supposed to be volunteering in the North Cascades but had no idea when the call would come for us to move up into the park. They had some State Park volunteers in the same situation so they let us stay. We just kept renewing online as our volunteer start date kept shifting back on the calendar. The campground was very well maintained, good Wi-Fi, nice laundry room, friendly staff and all around a great place to stay.
Our stint in Texas was over. The wonderful management at Santa Ana allowed the volunteers to stay hunkered down when COVID hit even though we were very limited in the amount of telework/remote work we could do. Many volunteers across the country got tossed out immediately and discovered many campgrounds were shuttered and there was no safe place to stay. Thank you Santa Ana!
On a trip to Florida long ago we met people involved in Manatee rescue. They were selling adoption packets for $25. We “planted a seed” and adopted a manatee named “Ginger” for our granddaughter (she had a dog named Ginger). She was thrilled and learned all about the manatees. When her parents took her to Florida, they paddled out to see the manatees. Her eyes still light up when she talks about it many years later. That seed grew into an awareness and love for an animal she had never heard of before. (A quick check of their website and I discovered that it is still $25 to adopt and Ginger is still swimming around out there. https://www.savethemanatee.org/ )