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October 2, 2011 / mws

2011 North Cascades, September

September 30, 2011  We were sad to leave Joseph, Oregon but managed to convince ourselves that we would be back!  This was a long driving day.  We make a stop in downtown Yakima to have lunch and one more stop just north of  Wenatchee at a fruit stand. We were now in the foothills of the Eastern Cascade Mountains in Central Washington.  This area is filled with orchards including pears, cherries, peaches, and especially, apples.

October 1, 2011

 25 Mile Creek State Park

Lake Chelan and the surrounding region was our touring area for the day. Glacier-carved Lake Chelan is a narrow, 55-mile-long lake.  It is the largest natural lake in Washington state. The name “Chelan” is a Salish Indian word meaning deep water.  We made a quick stop along the southern shore to check out Lake Chelan State Park.   Our next stop was Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park.  This park separates the mountains from the lake and is known for it’s spectacular scenery.  There is a modern marina and from here, there are boating opportunities to explore the otherwise inaccessible upper regions of Lake Chelan. Fortunately, in the planning stages for this trip, we purchased a Washington State Discovery Pass.  This pass provides entrance to all state parks in Washington.  Otherwise, you pay $10 per park even if you just want to stop to take a few pictures.

In the Cascade MountainsAlong the way today we drove part of the scenic route 2 that goes through the Cascade Mountains.  The Tumwater Canyon provides rocky gorges and the Wenatchee River flows at the base of the canyon.  Early fall colors were on display in the low growth forest areas.   A turnoff from Route 2 took us north into camping and ranching areas.  We went by Lake Wenatchee and tried to find Fish Lake, but somehow it eluded us. Leavenworth, Washington On the way back to Wenatchee, we went through Leavenworth, Washington.  This town is well-known as a  for it’s Swiss architecture and Bavarian themed festivals. The hand painted murals and hanging flower baskets compliment the Swiss architecture.  As fate would have it, today was the first day of the festive Octoberfest.  At 1PM which was just about the time we passed through, the infamous keg-tapping ceremony was taking place. Leavenworth was packed with tourists, buses, limos, and people.  We took a few pictures, and headed back to Wenatchee.

October 2, 2011  Our day trip through North Cascades National Park

North Cascades overview map

North Cascades National Park contains some of America’s most beautiful scenery with majestic peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls and over 300 glaciers all within its 505,000 acres. Our plan was to drive east to west from Winthrop to Whidbey Island. Cascade Mountains

Winthrop is the eastern gateway town to North Cascades National Park.  This town is known for the Old West design of all the buildings in town, making it a popular tourist destination. One of the most interesting places in Winthop is Three Fingered Jack’s Saloon.  Seems Jack was a meat cutter and had a little accident!  With it’s log features and swinging doors, Jack’s has that true western flavor and claims to be the oldest legal saloon in Washington State.

After passing through Winthrop, we continued through the Cascade Mountains.View from Washiington Pass OverlookCanyon Creek Trail  There are so many places to stop along this scenic road.  We stopped at Washington Pass Overlook and walked up the trail to the overlook.  This is the highest point on the North Cascades Highway.

Our next stop was at Canyon Creek where we took a short trail along the creek acoss a couple of bridges and to an old cabin.  Our last stop along the way was the Gorge Dam and Falls.

As we came closer to the western side of the Cascades, we stopped at the Gorge Dam and Falls and Diablo Lake.  It was a lovely drive and a glorious day.

Diablo Lake

We drove west to Oak Harbor where we stayed the next two nights.

For more photos of North Cascades National Park, click here

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