Brave New World in the North Cascades

We needed to get away for a little 'mental health' so we set our gaze on the North Cascades for something refreshing to take our minds off the world's woes.

Heading North to Oso

Recently we decided we just needed to get away from the craziness of 2020 even if we couldn’t travel far. The trick was Theresa and I were craving something new but how to accomplish that when COVID-19 made it somewhat risky and irresponsible to travel long distances? We finally settled on turning our gaze towards the North Cascades.

Washington has such a massive and diverse selection of activities that we just haven’t turned our attention to the northern range of the cascades. I also admit to a small part of me being reluctant to travel through the greater Seattle corridor with the trailer. It’s really not that bad, just very low on my list of ‘fun’ things to do….somewhere right there with going to the dentist!

It didn’t take long to find a good basecamp from which to start our week of exploration. Turns out it was just outside of Oso. Depending on where you are in the country the name may be instantly recognizable or it might just seem like you should know it, but can’t remember why.

Oso unfortunately gained national recognition when, in the spring of 2017, a huge landslide engulfed 49 homes and claimed 43 lives, It’s a tragic event which should have been avoided but it’s also a tale of resilience, sacrifice, and highlights the best of humanity. There’s a memorial along the highway which gives a great vantage of the cut in the hillside. I can tell you it’s very eerie to stand that and imagine the events of that day. Here’s a good article with much more detail on the events of that day.

Support

Our mission is a labor of love, but it does come with overhead. If you’d like to support our efforts we’d certainly appreciate it. Currently, we’re actively participating in the following field research:

  • COASST Beached Bird Surveys
  • Wild and Scenic River Project

Thank you.

Boulder River Trail

After getting settled into our basecamp we started doing a little research on what our first trip might entail. We quickly settled on driving out to the Boulder River Trail and seeing if the double waterfalls that are mentioned are worth the hike.

The trailhead is just off the Arlington-Darrington Highway on NF-2010. The path is well marked and the trail takes you through some wonderful old-growth. Towards the start of the trail, we heard a waterfall in the valley to our right, but the undergrowth was too thick to get a good look at it.

twitter feed

Follow the team’s latest news and social feeds here. You’ll also find links to articles on the latest developments regarding citizen-science and the conservation of our oceans. 

We also use this feed for updates from the field as we pursue our own science and the occasional short video clip.

And please, feel free to join in the conversation. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well. 

[custom-twitter-feeds]

We needed to get away for a little ‘mental health’ so we set our gaze on the North Cascades for something refreshing to take our minds off the world’s woes.

Member of the following

We are the learned society for geography and geographers.
as-seal-gr
Working to provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference as they play in the outdoors.
coasst-logo
Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
Sea Grant Washington
Provide integrated research, communication, and education to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s oceans.

However, it doesn’t take long before you come upon the second waterfall which is the highlight of the trail. It’s a high double fall which apparently has no name. It is one of the most stunning waterfalls I’ve seen in Washington. This is a popular trail but as it was a Monday morning we had the place to ourselves and we took advantage of it with a nice picnic at its base.

Latest Instagram

Looking out over Crescent Bay from Tongue Point. We recently experienced the lowest tides in a decade here in Washington. ...

Did our #COASST bird survey this weekend during some of the lowest tides in a decade. We could have walked out to the sea stacks off shore which I’ve never seen exposed like this. Of course, what goes out must come in…so we didn’t. ...

Red Sky in the Morning... it's supposed to be a warning, but I'll take it. ...

Wild and Scenic Rivers Project - Getting the collection gear and probes ready for tomorrows survey. Looks like we’ll get a break in the weather during the morning hours so that’s when we’ll be heading out. Looking forward to seeing what changes Mother Winter has wrought on the Suiattle River. ...

Headed back to the North Cascades to resume our Wild and Scenic River Surveys. ...

We’ll be shortly resuming our data collection for the #getwildandscenic project on the Suiattle River. Sensors have been calibrated and sent to us along with all our water sample collection bottles and chemicals. Looking forward to getting back out into the North Cascades. ...

We just received our collection kit from #adventurescientist. We’ll shortly being heading back out to the Suiattle River to start another season of data collection. ...

⁠ View of the south rim of the Dusty Lake region just to the east of the Columbia River near Vantage, WA. Here a small waterfall drains into the lake. ...

You never know what a simple hike through the woods will yield. Found this small dam in the hills behind our camp on Hood Canal. I'm guessing that at one time it was used by a hometead to hold water during the summer months.⁠ ...

Some of the lush green and waterfalls to be found on the Olympic Peninsula. ...

South shore of Dusty Lake just north of Vantage, Washington. We recently spent a night hoping for a shot of the Milky Way. That didn't happen as hoped, but we had quite the adventure nonetheless. ...

Just published our latest adventure - "A Visit to North Cove" - You can find the link in my bio up top. https://buff.ly/3KFAQB8 ...

Tongue Point on the Strait of Juan de Fuco. This was a negative tide and I’ve never seen so much of the reef exposed. ...

Never seen the tide so low here at Crescent Bay. Getting ready for this weekends #COASST bird survey. ...

⁠ Theresa doing her best to imidate the North head Lighthouse.⁠ ...

North Mountain Fire Lookout

Our second venture out was a tip from old exploring partner Jason. He had mentioned that he had heard of an old fire lookout somewhere in our area. A quick bit of research online and we found it; the historic North Mountain Fire Lookout.

Obviously the lookout sits atop of its namesake and is located 12 miles outside Darrington. The hardest part of reaching the lookout is the 12-mile drive up some of the worst dirt track that I’ve ever taken the FJ up. I was sure I had a couple of fillings loose by the time we finished.

At one time Washington had 600 fire lookouts in the state. Now there are less than 100. There is an organization that is refurbishing the structure and ‘Friends of North Mountain’ has done a good job. The tower is in excellent shape despite having been built in 1965 and sitting vacant since the 1990s,

The evaluation at the tower’s location is a little over 3800’ and the views of the surrounding valley went a long way in making up for the drive. The building itself was locked but the stairway still provides a great view. Quick sidebar for those who enjoy mountain biking. Apparently, this is a sort of mecca for that activity with many single tracks spider webbing the mountain.

Please share this:

More to explore

Jefferson Lake
Journal

Round 2 with Rocky

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled on Rocky Brook Falls while out with friends. We spent a fair amount of time photographing the Rocky Brook Falls but I wasn’t feeling satisfied.

Read More »
Glines Canyon Dam
Journal

Glines Canyon Dam

We used Rad Power bikes to carry us past the road washout and reach the site of the Glines Canyon Dam, which was removed in 2014 as part of the salmon restoration project.

Read More »

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.