We met up with our good friend Carolyn to go explore the Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest of the Cascades, which apparently is one of the most visited forests in the country (although I certainly did not get that feeling). More specifically we were adventuring along the beautiful Mountain Loop Highway, which is practically an outdoorsman’s playground, jam-packed with outdoor adventures.
I was very impressed with how nicely maintained the roads, trails, and facilities are in this National Forest, and I completely understand what my Northwest Forest Pass fee goes to: Take my money and keep up the good work!
The Mountain Loop Highway is located along the route of an old railroad which was built around the (relatively unsuccessful) gold rush of 1889, which was partially backed by John D. Rockefeller. I would like to thank Rockefeller, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt for their hand in making this awesome part of America accessible for an easy weekend adventure.
|Carolyn taking in the view during lunch.|
We ended up hiking the Independence and North Lakes Trail. It was full of beautiful lakes, snow fields, and amazing views. We failed to reach the actual North Lake, (we couldn't find the trail down to it), but we saw it from a beautiful vantage point where we ate lunch, as well as seeing many other snowmelt-fed lakes. Some of the trails in this back-country aren't all that clear sometimes, especially when you meet up with a snowfield, and are thinking…”I don’t see any footprints…?”
We camped at one of the many random campsites off of Mountain Loop. The next day we did the quick hike to the Big Four Ice Caves, which weren't really that impressive at this time, (maybe we are too late in the year…?). Speaking of cool, the coolest thing was walking in front of the ice caves on a hot day and feeling the air rushing out of them. It was like being in a walk in freezer.
|I assume these trees are like this due to avalanches.|
|The Ice Caves are only about 4 feet high in this picture, however, they are much larger at other times.|
|This is a random sign that was in the parking lot. I like it b/c it makes no sense in ANY context!|