Wednesday, September 19, 2012

North Cascades

Today's post is off the marine life topic......but adding it because it's been a great hiking past few days in the North Cascades and so I'm having to rave about it somewhere.....

Currently Washington State is dry....very dry since July 22nd.  But there have been some lightning storms on the east side of the Cascades so over 200 fires are currently burning east of the Cascades.
Smoke is heavy over the mountains and Mt. Rainier is not visible from Seattle, nor are any of the other Cascade mountains.  Warm dry weather is forecast for the next 10 least.
So what's so great about hiking in the smoke with no visibility????  Good question.  Our hikes were to the north of where most of the smoke was so we had mostly clear well as excellent hiking temperatures.
Two hikes are covered here...both begin at Rainy Pass on the North Cascade highway about 175 driving miles from Seattle.  The first images are from Maple Pass, a 7 miles RT hike to the south of Rainy Pass and the second is Cutthroat Pass a 10 mile RT hike to the north of Rainy Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail. Maple Pass about 2 hours up from trail-head, 1500 ft. elevation gain.  Cutthroat Pass about 2.5 hours up from trail-head with 2000 ft. elevation gain (very gradual elevation gain).

Note:  The California Sea Lions are back in Puget Sound for the Fall-Winter season....

                                                                   MAPLE PASS
Lake Ann



Gretchen (Seaweed Queen)
                                                         CUTTHROAT PASS


Larch starting to turn color

Ah...where better to be?

Cutthroat Pass PCT

Gretchen's mid hike pedicure

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