Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Monday, July 16, 2012

North Cascades National Park, WA

After spending all day Sunday in Mount St Helens NM, we got up Monday morning, July 9, and headed for North Cascades National Park, via Seattle.  The drive through Seattle was slow, as expected, and we spent as little time as possible getting on up to the park, which is only about 50 miles from Canada before herding the big wheels east on WA 20 straight into Newhalem, WA. 
Now, in case you've never heard of Newhalem, (we sure didn't) it is an old "company town", created by the power company of Seattle, namely Seattle City Light Company.  Back in the early 1900s, visionaries from the big city realized that the river system that carved its way through this pristine part of the great northwest, had potential for supplying needed energy in the form of electricity.
Part of the water used to turn the turbines in the Gorge Power House came from this roaring creek.  They had a neat little trail that was lit with colored light to show the water "laddering" down the large boulders.
 It's a little difficult to get a sense of the amount of water coming down this creek with these lights, so here a couple during the daylight, which was still under a canopy of large trees, which shadowed the creek.
 It was loud here as the rushing water was very noisy.
 This was the foot bridge over to the Gorge power house area where the ladder falls were as well, to the right of the house.  There was a lot of water coming through the turbine water wheels as power is still being sent to eattle with this complex of power houses. 
 These two pics are upstream ladder creek about a half mile, where water is captured and sent through a penstock tunnel to the little power house on ladder creek below.
 These two pics are of the Gorge Dam, and where water is routed into penstocks for the water wheels in the Gorge power house about a mile or so down stream.  The lakes formed by the dams along this Skagit River system were all full from snow run-off and were releasing lots of water.
This is Gorge Lake, the water behind the last dam on the complex.  From Wiki:  Ross Lake National Recreation Area is a US National Recreation Area located in north central Washington just south of the Canadian border. It is the most accessible part of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex which also includes North Cascades National Park and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. Ross Lake NRA follows the Skagit River corridor from the Canadian border to the western foothills of the Cascades. The NRA contains a portion of scenic Washington State Route 20, the North Cascades Highway, and includes three reservoirs: 12,000-acre (4,900 ha) Ross Lake, 910-acre (370 ha) Diablo Lake, and 210-acre (85 ha) Gorge Lake. These reservoirs make up the Skagit Hydroelectic Project operated by Seattle City Light. Nestled in the "American Alps" the Ross Lake NRA bisects the north and south units of North Cascades National Park.
 The park had falls & cascades too numerous to even count.  We saw water coming down just about every we looked along our all day drive through the park.
 These three pics are of the dam holding back Diablo Lake.  We drove over the dam.
The mountains surrounding the Skagit River lakes were just breath taking.  I don't think we'll ever tire of the wonderful scenes of our great north west.
 The color you see is not artificial.  It is actually this milky green because of sediment being created from the glaciers rubbing and scraping the mountains and running into all the streams feeding the lakes.  This is Diablo Lake.
 These two pics are of Ross Lake, which eventually goes into Canada.  This lake is long.  Its so long that we saw the Border Patrol a couple of times, I guess, because of the possibility of illegals entering via this body of water.
 We just had so many "Kodak moments".
The above pic was with my 300mm fully extended, which picked up a lot of humidity.
 These next few pics were snapped from the motorhome just outside the park on HWY 20 headed towards Idaho.
 We took a little Newhalem town tour/walk with one of the company employees.  The next few pics were from the walk with Andrianna.  Above, Old Number 6 engine, and below a fully bloomed Dogwood.
 Above, a giant 9' in diameter Western Cedar and below, crossing a footbridge over to the Cedar Trail.
 Nancy & Andrianna reading an exhibit info plaque.  Below, the original dining hall getting a face lift, literally, as a new foundation is being underneath.
 And below, the end of our tour.
 The Newhalem Campground was primitive.  No hookups.  But we survived three days without them, and no satellite.  That was ok.  Here are a few pics of our campsite.
 We had fire each night.  The skeeters were out as well, so we had to fire up the citronella and lather up with some Deet.
Well, that about wraps up our blog on the North Cascades NP, and it's one we'll not soon forget, fora variety of reasons.  We fired up the big wheels Wednesday morning and headed to Glacier National Park, with a couple of intermediate stps along the way.  So, till the next time, Nancy & Joe, the RVing Beach Bums rolling on down the highways.