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.

Wild and scenic rivers

We’re proud to announce we’ve been selected to participate in collecting data for this new science project. Watch for more information to follow soon.

Framed by the five­-year window between the 50th anniversary of the WSR Act and the federal Clean Water Act, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service­ have partnered with Adventure Scientists to survey water quality on protected rivers across the country, providing needed data at an unprecedented scale.

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. 

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

We had spent the day in the field collecting data enduring heavy rains. Towards sunset, the sky turned dark and ominous but then, the mountain behind camp lit up with sunshine. Great ending to a great day.⠀ ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnw #washington #washingtonstate #pacificnorthwest #pnwonderland #nature #optoutside #washingtonexplored #science #upperleftusa #olympicpeninsula #beach #cascadiaexplored #wildlife #explorewashington #conservation #pnwlife #washingtonweed #wacoast #washingtonstatefair #naturephotography #washingtonnationals #washingtontrails #wander #hiking #olympicnationalpark @washingtondiscovered #WildOlympics @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #getwildandscenic @adventurescientists ...

Wild and Scenic Rivers Project - I just published an article over on the website outlining our latest citizen-science project. You can find the link in my bio. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnw #washington #washingtonstate #pacificnorthwest #pnwonderland #nature #optoutside #washingtonexplored #science #upperleftusa #olympicpeninsula #beach #cascadiaexplored #wildlife #explorewashington #conservation #pnwlife #washingtonweed #wacoast #washingtonstatefair #naturephotography #washingtonnationals #washingtontrails #wander #hiking #olympicnationalpark @washingtondiscovered #WildOlympics @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

I just published an article detailing our latest adventure which describes our explorations through Ancient Lakes. You can find the link in my bio up top. ...

Super moon over Point of Arches on Washington’s Outer Coast.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics ...

Looking down at Dusty Lake from the north rim of the coulee. Our recent trip to central Washington was a fun break from our usual. Already planning our next trip back.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ ⠀ #desert #desertvibes #desertphotography #desertlife🌵 #deserthotsprings #highdesert #desertplants #desertlandscape #desertflower #thedesertisbeautifultoo ...

Looking south into the heart of the Giants Graveyard from Toleak Beach. There's a beauty here that excites the soul every time I visit.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics ...

Hamma Hamma Since the Record Fires - I just published an article over on the website including photographs from our latest field outing. https://buff.ly/2RUMeDG ...

The high desert of Central Washington near the Columbia River Gorge. This environment is 180 degrees from what you would find west of the Cascades. ⁣⠀ .⁣⠀ .⁣⠀ .⁣⠀ .⁣⠀ .⁣⠀ #desertvibes #deserttrip #naturephotography #meditation #breathe #travel #photography #yoga #ig #desertsunset #cactus #desert #desertlove #earth #sky #yogi #desertlandscape #beauty #arizona #travelphotography #desertscape #nature #deserts #desertliving #landscapephotography #landscape #desertlife #desertphotography #healing #selfcare ...

Made it out to Ancient Lakes today. This is a view of the lake from a top of the coulee on the south side. We then dropped down to Dusty Lake. Great hike!⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Sunset over the cool waters of the Gulf of Mexico and sugar white sands of Panama City Beach. It was nice visiting Florida for a change of pace.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #sky #clouds #skyporn #skylovers #watercolorpainting #cloudporn #water #cloud #florida #sunset ...

A change of pace from the Pacific Northwest; down in the panhandle of Florida visiting family and went out to photograph some American Alligators. ⁣⠀ .⁣⠀ .⁣⠀ .⁣⠀ .⁣⠀ .⁣⠀ #photography #floridawildlife #alligators #aquascapeindonesia #alligatorsofinstagram #handmade #reptile #crocodiles #gatorboys #everglades #bhfyp #croc #animals #reptilesofinstagram #caiman #crocodile #rescue #naturephotography #florida #nature #reptiles #wildlife #gator #love #reptileawarenessday #wildlifephotography #swamp #southflorida #ikanlouhan #gators ...

Somewhere in the Hamma Hamma region of the Olympic National Forest. This might just be one of the most scenic areas of Washington. A photographers paradise for sure!⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics #wastateparks ...

Man's, and woman's, best friend on the beach of Crescent Bay.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics ...

Last nights sunset over Crescent Bay were my camp was located. I just pulled this off my phone. I’ll have the shots from the Sony on the website soon. I love volunteering for the #COASST program. ...

Sunrise over Crescent Bay. Great way to start the day. Weather should hold for tomorrow's #COASST bird survey as well. The hike always seems a bit easier when the weather's nice. ...

Jefferson Lake is located within the Olympic National Forest. This area was subject to record wildfires last year but has managed to retain its beauty. It's yet to be seen how long the area will take to recover. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics ...

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

Jayhawk 60
Journal

Surviving Winter in Grayland

The weekend had been nothing if not chaotic; both in wind and rain. Still the last thing I expected was to see a surfer getting rescued by a USCG swimmer.

Read More »
Journal

Big Fish in a Little Stream

Anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest is familiar with the migration of the different species of Salmon. What did surprise me recently was the the size of the water these amazing fish are willing to attempt swimming up to breed. My childhood handmade sailboat wouldn’t float in the amount of water we’re talking here?

Read More »
Palouse Falls
Journal

A Run At Palouse Falls

Although only separated by a short drive, eastern and western Washington couldn’t be on more opposite sides of the spectrum; cool wet temperate rain forests vs. dry, hot desert. However, a visit to this desert has been on my to-do list for some time and I was anxious to explore and camp  over on this side of the mountains, plus there was the added bonus of a visit to the famous Palouse Falls.

Read More »

Leave a Reply

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