Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cascade Loop Spring Ride

The lack of good low tides and warm weather made the choice of a Cascade Loop ride perfect.
The Cascade Loop crosses the North Cascade Highway which opened only 2 weeks ago after removal of winter snow.  The route follows the Columbia River in part and returns to Seattle via the Central Cascades.
A slight detour from the normal route takes you past Omak Lake...a saline lake 10 miles long and 325 feet deep which is home to large Lahotan Cutthroat Trout.  Roads on weekdays are empty, weekend fair weather increases the traffic.  Along the route one passes through Winthrop WA, Electric City WA home of the Grand Coulee Dam, and along the route of the Columbia River during the last ice age where one can view what is believed to have been the largest waterfall on earth (Dry Falls).....3.5 miles wide and 400 feet high.
During the maximum flow the amount of water flowing over the fall was greater than the flow of all the rivers on earth today.
The Bretz Floods created the landscape known as the Channeled Scablands in Eastern WA.  These floods, perhaps as many as 40 during the last ice age were the result of ice dams collapsing and releasing vast amounts of water from glacial Lake Missoula.  These floods which ended some 13,000 YBP are the largest known floods in the Solar System.  There are considerable references to these floods on the Internet...just search Bretz Floods or Lake Missoula.
For anyone visiting Seattle during the time when the North Cascade Highway is open....usually mid-Spring, through October...I highly recommend this road trip which can easily be accomplished in 3 days at a moderate pace.....520 miles total.

Large Basalt boulders dropped by the Bretz Flood waters near the Columbia River .  The largest one is house size.

Along Banks Lake in the Grand Coulee

Columbia River from the Columbia River Road near Omak WA.

Omak Lake - saline lake from the Columbia River Road

Electric City - Banks Lake - Sky Deck Motel back yard

Steamboat Rock and Banks Lake

Whitehorse Mt. Darrington, WA

Along the Columbia River Road

Methow River Winthrop WA

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