This was our final massive day trip from our base on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. This time our destination was not on the Olympic Peninsula. We took our car on the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island and then on to the “mainland”.
North Cascades is one of the newer National Parks having that designation conferred in 1968. The Park is sometimes referred to as North America’s Alps for its rugged and jagged mountains. In the 1920’s the electric utility of the City of Seattle constructed three dams on the Skagit River which drains this mountainous region. The dams back up lakes which are turquoise/green in color because of suspended particles of “rock flour” – bits of rock which have been ground by glaciers and deposited into the lakes.
A lot of the peaks of the Cascade Range of mountains are volcanic. Although there are two volcanoes within the park, most of the mountains there were created by earth’s plates crashing into each other and uplifting ruptures.
Highway 20 which traverses the park was one of the easiest mountain drives we have taken in any of the many national parks we have visited – a good wide road with shoulders. We didn’t have a whole lot of time to do much beyond the drive through the park and back but we did enjoy a nice picnic lunch and a number of spectacular vistas. Highway 20 is about the only road in the entire Park. It is one of the toughest of all the National Parks to explore because of its ruggedness and its inaccessibility.
We took a few days off from our huge day trips and then moved our camp down to the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup from which we will explore a few other things in the Seattle area.