Sunday, October 09, 2011

An impromptu North Cascades Highway road trip

At the beginning of the summer, Tom got pneumonia.  Even before he was back to normal, he was helping Peter and Kat move into their new homes and then he did a complete remodel of Peter’s room, bringing it from this…


(on a bad day)


(on a good day)

…to this wonderful new guest room:


Then, once Peter’s room was done, Tom started immediately in on the hell that was the kitchen remodel, doing all the prep work before the cabinets were installed.  In 6 weeks, thanks in huge part to Tom (yeah, yeah, there were cabinet and granite installers, but Tom did everything else!), the kitchen went from this…


to this…


Clearly, this man needed a day off!

So yesterday I insisted that we go on a one-day road trip.  Although there’s much work still to be done around here, we both needed a day away from the house and away from long and never-ending to-do lists.

So we did this:


Highway 20 stretches across the Cascade Mountains in northern Washington state.  IMG_1805

The most beautiful stretches of this highway, where the mountain peaks loom large and majestic and where snow falls for months on end, cannot be accessed from about early November to early May every year.  So when we woke up to sunshine we decided (OK, I decided and begged Tom) to take a Saturday drive into the mountains.

Kat and her wonderful new boyfriend Josh (who coincidentally has our same exact last name – but no, no relation!) were kind enough to puppy-sit for troublemaker Quinn, and we took Shasta along with us. She was thrilled!



Most of the time, the Cascade peaks are shrouded in clouds, but yesterday the mountains were OUT!  This is Mt. Baker as seen from South Everett.


We got off the freeway in Burlington and never saw Mt. Baker for the rest of the day!  Why?  I have no idea. I guess it was on the other side of the North Cascade peaks we were visiting.


The Skagit Valley is lush and green.  Just gorgeous!IMG_1799

One of the first towns we came to was Concrete.  Yes, they were a concrete hub in their heyday.  They’re still apparently quite proud of their concrete.


A bit further up the road we were treated to our first glimpses of the North Cascade peaks.  I wish I could tell you the name of all the specific peaks.  I can’t.


Bur aren’t they beautiful?  That’s the Skagit River in the foreground.


Yes Shasta.  You’re gorgeous too.


As are the Fall leaves.



This church was right across the road from the park where we took those last few photos. On our way back we saw a wedding party gathering there. It would be a great place to get married!


The Fall colors were just beginning to get a bit dramatic.  In two weeks or so they will be glorious!  (But it’ll probably be rainy and cold…)


The Skagit River was a beautiful shade of aquamarine.  Not sure why.  Maybe it has something to do with the glacier snow.  Or not.


In places, it reminded me of the color of the water in Hawaii!



And in other places it was quite the normal river color (whatever that is).


Tom waved at the motorcyclist and he waved back.  Because that’s what fellow motorcyclists do.  Not that Tom’s a motorcyclist, necessarily.  (If you’re his mom and reading this.)


I don’t think people expected the day to be so beautiful and so no one planned a trip like this…except us, apparently!  This was the parking lot at the Visitor’s Center.


And this is the sun shining into the windows at the Visitor Center.  At which point I headed back to the car (hint, hint… let’s go!).



As we drove out of the Visitor Center parking lot, this stunning view greeted us.  It kinda took my breath away for a second.  See the clouds beginning to clear?


This is the Skagit River dam.


But I found this mini Half Dome rock formation above the dam more interesting. 


Do you see it?


Yeah, Tom thinks I’m weird too.

There was moss everywhere – which is no surprise considering how wet this region is.  A sunny day like this, especially in October, isn’t a common occurrence!


It was almost as if the skies cleared for us.  The higher our climb, the bluer the skies became! 


When we reached the Diablo Lake lookout, the weather was nearly perfect and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky!


I used Photosynth on my iPhone to take this panoramic shot.  That is the greatest app!


The views were amazing, and yet this group of nice people were admiring Shasta!


She’s kind of a daddy’s girl…


From the Diablo Lake Lookout, we headed back home, stopping at this “local dive” (and I mean that in the best way!) in Marblemount…


…called “Gooo Fooo”


…for a quick and delicious bite to eat. 

Just look at this Reuben… IMG_2025

…and these onion rings!


As we hit the freeway again, the weather had begun to turn and the rain was heading right toward the Cascades!


Lucky us!

And now to attend to that long to-do list that we ignored yesterday.

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1 comment:

Goofball said...

wow gorgeous!

(yes glaciar water makes rivers look emerald)

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