Friday, September 28, 2012


Ever since I drove through North Cascade National Park in 2009 I’ve wanted to go back.  This time we would be going the recommended way; east to west.  We drove up the North Cascades Scenic Highway 20 in Washington state.

It's considered one of the U.S.’s most spectacular mountain drives. We were rewarded with dramatic views of the jagged mountains called the “North American Alps.”

 We crossed over 5,477 ft. Washington Pass and were still looking ‘way up at rugged peaks all around us.

 Washington Pass overlook is 700 feet above the highway on a natural rock platform. We could gaze back down a road that was not opened until 1972.  This part of the trip is closed each winter due to snowfall.

I think this serrated hunk of rock is called Liberty Bell.

Another mountain along the way--maybe Colonial Peak.

We passed over the bridge which crossed Gorge Creek Falls.  I made DH pull over so I could go back and braved passing trucks and RV’s to get a shot of the water cascading (good bet that’s why the mountains are called the cascades?) down the rocky hillside.  Even there the conditions were much dryer than during my last visit.

More mountains. Probably Pyramid Peak.This time I remembered to put the polarizer filter on my camera to bring out the blue-blues in the sky. 

I wish I could show how massive these hulks of snowy rock really are.  Just mind-boggling.

Another log truck.

Diablo Lake.  Gets its turquoise color from the sediments in the water melting off all those glaciers.

Through a tunnel drilled out of solid rock.

Another picket fence of peaks on the other side.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Our unusually warm winter left little snow in the mountains.  When the storm clouds came in the summer they were empty of water and full of lightning.  Soon wild fires were burning all around us in Eastern Idaho and we were downwind from the worst of them.  Smoke filled the air for weeks.  DH and I decided to take a little trip to the coast to get upwind of the hazardous conditions and go where the humidity was above crispy.

We packed up our Subaru and traveled north to Montana with the Pacific Northwest circled on our map.

There was no getting away from the noxious air in Missoula.  The low valley was filled with smoke from another big fire in the Salmon River area.

When we arrived in the Palouse Country of  Eastern Washington we were met with blowing dust and more smoke.

The nearer we came to the Columbia River and Grand Coulee Dam the thicker the smoke.  What we didn’t know was a storm front had passed through during the night and the lightning had started several wild fires in central Washington.

The hills above Grand Coulee Dam had already been torched by another big fire only a few days earlier. 

We crossed the river on our way to the Cascade Mountains and were met by this.  

A police blockade was set up to stop traffic from driving into the inferno.  We learned the fire was heading north but if we hurried we could probably get around it before roads were closed in that direction.


As we drove up the river we could see smoke and flames along the canyon walls.

The wind was so strong and fire so intense that it had jumped the river.

We were driving parallel to the smoke and were finally able to drive around it and on to the highway that took us up into the mountains.

There we discovered another fire, also lightning caused, was in our path.

Worried we would be turned back at any time we proceeded toward the place where we had reservations for the night on the east side of the Cascades.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


We survived a two-week road trip.  
Over two thousand miles in a Subaru plus five days on a boat 
and we still like each other.  Lots of adventures and no disasters.  Whew!

DH and I aboard the David B in the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound

Brace yourself for a few posts about said trip.  
I'll try to keep things interesting and I promise not to post all the photos I took.

Our first real vacation in over two years.
Nothing like days and days of all kinds of beds, bathrooms and food 
to make home look a whole lot better.