Friday, July 17, 2015

Geotripper Finds Rocks in the Pacific Northwest! All is Well

Diablo Reservoir and Colonial Peak in North Cascades National Park
I admit to being just a little bit snarky in some of my recent posts concerning the paucity of rocks seen on my latest journey through the Pacific Northwest. Seeking out the rainforests was one of our main goals on this trip, and I thoroughly enjoyed my visits to Humboldt Redwoods, the Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park, and the forests of British Columbia. One the other hand, it is true that rocks were in short supply for the first part of our journey. That sure changed in the last few days!
Kangaroo and Vasiliki Ridges near Washington Pass, east of North Cascades National Park
I will probably write a series of blogs about our vagabonding across the Pacific Northwest, but one thing to point out is that we were attempting to explore new territory, and that included the North Cascades, a big mysterious blank area on the map of my personal geography. I've been around the mountains and seen them from a great distance, but before yesterday I had never seen them up close.
Early Winters Spires at Washington Pass east of North Cascades National Park
We pulled into the campground at Newhalem in North Cascades National Park, or more properly, Ross Lake National Recreational Area. The park itself is the remote wilderness in the peaks above the Skagit River. We then took a late afternoon driver to Washington Pass on the east side of the park. It was simply stunning! I've down a lot of traveling and seen many wonders, but my breath can still be taken away by an incredible view.
Mt. Baker and Boulder Creek (I wonder how the creek got its name?)
The next morning was a short exploration of the Baker Lake area, and one of the most interesting of the Cascades volcanoes, Mount Baker. It is one of the most active of the chain, with some minor eruptions in the 19th century. It is second only to Mt. Rainier in the volume of ice coating its summit.
The glaciers of Mt. Baker, lahars just waiting to be released.
It's been a fascinating trip (that isn't quite over yet). I'm looking forward to sharing some interesting geology in coming weeks.

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