Rainy Days in the Cascades

Our third day in the Northern Cascades was not only rainy but completely fogged in and so we decided to cut our losses and head down the mountain early and to do touristy things instead, mainly drive out to some of the San Juan Islands. We made the obligatory stop at the not-to-be-missed Diablo Lake coming down the western side of the Cascades, but then pressed on until we were over the first bridge and onto the islands. We were wandering aimlessly, without plan or purpose, and so saw what is most likely a most random sample of Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands. Stops included the harbor overlook from Cap Sante Park, the Anacortes Harbor, and the small town of Coupeville which had a beautifully carved Whale Wheel, views of the picturesque fish houses from the pier, and excellent ice cream according to Tom.

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Even though rain and poor visibility continued to be in the forecast we decided to carry on with our plans, crossing the Cascades again, this time on a southerly route heading east on Route 2. Surprise, surprise, once we got into the mountains of Mt. Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest the visibility was even worse than near sea level so we decided to drive around and scout places to camp and hike. We eventually went as far as Stevens Pass but along the way we saw a sign for Deception Falls and decided to explore. Which led us to walking the short trail in cotton flannels and flip flops in the rain. Of course we couldn’t help ourselves and also proceeded to climb around the boulders down by the Tye River which was not the brightest of ideas. You know it’s time to go when the dog stops and gives you the β€œWhat are we doing here?” look.

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The following day, despite the continued fog, I was determined to hike Lake Serene. My thinking was that usually when it’s cloudy or poor visibility you can still enjoy close-up views but this turned out to be not so true of this hike. The last 2 miles of the trail is a steep, relentless 23-switchback endeavor that leads up nearly 2,000 feet, lifting us from the gray valley floor to the fogged in mountain top. We were able to see the mossy temperate rainforest during the hike, but the lake was all but invisible. I included a photo that shows the 10 feet of water were were able to see. After the punishing ascent we were more than ready for our reward – and some sunshine. We drove up and over Stevens Pass and down to the little Bavarian tourist town of Leavenworth, which provided us with a very nice shower and some really excellent beer via the Icicle Brewing Company. I swooned over their Bootjack IPA and Tom readily gulped a Dirtyface Amber while Abby pined for the smoked sausage Tom also ordered. Excellent beer, a wonderful atmosphere, and just the thing we needed.

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