Before we packed our rental car full of cut-rate camping gear, we read that people referred to the North Cascades National Park as the “Alps of North America”. Oh, I had a laugh. First of all, I was skeptical, because any place/thing that has to use another to explain itself always seems to be grasping.
Then we went. And it does have those turquoise lakes that so enchanted me as a study-abroad-Euro-trip-kid. And it has those valleys filled with waterfalls. And it has those snow-capped peaks. It has amazing alpine meadows. I see the similarities. Still, I hesitate to call it the “Alps of North America” because we needn’t refer to everything in the “new world” according to their closest “old world” comparison. Let the North Cascades be their own thing. They merit that.
I squealed with glee a couple times during our first 7ish mile hike. (We hiked Heather-Maple Pass, which is actually located just outside the park).
I had an ambitious two-day hiking itinerary planned for us. We were to hike 12 miles on back to back days. An ankle roll got in the way, but we still logged about 12 on day one and another mile or so on day two. The fact that we didn’t get my top-pick hike in combined with the fact that our camera battery was not charged before we left means I’m itching to get back. Unfortunately, our fall is already filling up (I’ve now got two job schedules to balance, am heading to SoDak for some weddings, hope to make it to Wisconsin sometime, Jordan’s got his own work and school scheduling conflicts, and I am trying to weasel in a trip to Victoria when my in-laws visit). Soon there will be snow there, and frankly, our travel and weekend trip budget could probably use a bit of a recovery period after we get back from South Dakota. Alas, next late spring/summer might be our next chance to visit.
Still, we made use of our time, reading glacier-fueled riverside, visiting the Cascadian Farms organic fields for an ice cream and berry stop, shopping at the Mazama Store, and eating some less-than-healthy, but delicious barbeque in Marblemount.
This park, my friends, is free to visit and relatively un-visited compared to the likes of Yellowstone and Yosemite. Hard for me to understand when it’s this beautiful.
Until we meet again, North Cascades National Park, until we meet again.