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Tag Archives: North Cascades

Well, what do you do when your dog has her sixth birthday? Get some friends and go for a hike! If you’d ask Sky, she probably would have voted for a lake but it was Saturday and the lakes were busy.

It was a new trail for us and we were all impressed with the flowers, the views, the pollinators and the huckleberries. It’s one we will do again.

Red Molly joined us for a lovely hike in the mountains earlier this week. The weather was darned near perfect – sunny and warm but not too warm. It is a dry hike so I carried water for the dogs. There is one spring just off the trail about 1/3 of the way up and Luna knows where to find it. It’s generally more of a mud hole but this time it held a little bit of running water.

Views were outstanding and the flowers are just starting at that elevation (6500 up to 8200 feet). Ladybugs were abundant. I don’t know why they converge at high elevations. I have observed them at this mountain top several times over the years as well as at other places in the Cascades. There are many kinds of ladybugs (technically a beetle, not a bug) and many of them are convergent. I have no idea what they are eating up there and when they will leave for more friendly habitats. I do know that later in the summer, they won’t be there, based on my observations which are not science-based at all. Is anyone studying them?

Here are the birds I saw on this hike:¬†Dusky Grouse, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Clark’s Nutcracker, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Mountain Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend’s Solitaire, Cassin’s Finch, Pine Siskin, Chipping Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Savannah Sparrow, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Western Tanager.

I like this hike. Here is the trail in the fall.

My friend Cindy came to visit from Grant County and she really likes to hike the Maple Pass trail so on Monday, that’s what we did. Us and over 100 other hikers. The place has become overrun with visitors. The restrooms were strewn with trash from the weekend. It was pretty appalling. I heard that someone else estimated 500 hikers on a weekend day. Egads. While this place is over-the-top beautiful, I may take it off of my list of places to hike. Cindy agreed and said she is ready to explore new trails next time.

This hike at this time of the year is nearly irresistible. How can you NOT do this? Just the drive to the trailhead is enough to make you stop and pay attention.

But it was stunningly beautiful. Easy Pass. It’s another great hike right off of highway 20 through the North Cascades. It starts out in a green, moist forest, something we don’t get to experience very often. That is because it is west of the Cascade Crest where there is more precipitation and it’s not as hot. Much of the trail goes in and out of the forest giving some respite from the sunshine. We had a fair amount of off and on cloud cover in addition to somewhat hazy skies as a result of wildfires. At a certain point the trail really gets to work – sending you up and over seemingly never ending talus slopes. Ok, I’m not in very good shape and the steepness was pretty hard on me, both going up and going down. Even Luna and Sky were pretty tired. But the views were worth it. And there were creeks most of the way so the dogs had plenty of chances to cool themselves.

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