geologically hazardous territories influenced by the Cascadia Subduction Zone was mostly an unrushed affair as we meandered up the Pacific Coast through Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Towards the end, though, were realized we had spent most of our summer on the road and certain duties needed attention before the start of the school year (you know, that whole "writing syllabi, ordering textbooks, and cleaning the lab" kind of thing). So our last few days were very short explorations of some very beautiful places that I must return to as soon as possible. One of those places was the North Cascades National Park Complex (the park itself and two adjacent National Recreation Areas).
a look at the "gorgeous" Skagit River Gorge and the large hydroelectric dams that utilize the high gradient river to produce a fifth of Seattle's electricity. We took advantage of the extended late-afternoon light to explore a little farther up Highway 20, which took us east of the national park. We had trouble telling the difference...it was just spectacular. We drove to the first summit at Rainy Pass, and saw there was another pass just a few miles way, so we went there too.
A short trail led to an overlook of the Liberty Bell and Early Winter Spires, a group of highly jointed granitic towers. There are popular climbing routes among the cliffs. The rocks are part of the Golden Horn batholith, an intrusion of granite dating to 48 million years ago.