There’s no doubt that the far majority of my paddling takes place on salt water. Frankly I’m much more at home and comfortable with tides than river flows, but I’d say the one exception to that might be Ross Lake in the Northern Cascades. Years ago I was asked to guide a couple on their anniversary. It was a last minute deal, and I was the only guide available, so I got to experience this special place for the first time along with the clients. We all had a blast.
Ross Lake spans the US/Canadian border and runs for 23 miles with a width in place of over a mile and a half. It also has an elevation of 1600’ above sea level which is something for me. The lake was actually formed when Seattle City Light built their hydroelectric dam named, you guessed it Ross Dam although it was originally known as Ruby Dam. Built between 1937 and 1949 the dam stand 540’.
Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake. – Wallace Stevens
We approached the Ross Lake and the dam from Diablo Lake, which abuts the dam on the south side. The trick here is that the two lakes are much different in levels. To portage the dam to the Ross Lake side, we had to call the resort from a phone near the damn and wait for a flatbed truck to collect us and our boats. Then we were driven along the switchbacks until we finally arrived at the much higher lake. Once there, we had a grand time over the next few days enjoying the vistas and waterfalls. The lake is surrounded by snow covered mountains many which have a summit at the 7000’ elevation, so there were plenty of both.