Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Rainy Lake

Early snowfall in the North Cascades makes everyone happy around here. After two low snow years, we are hoping (against predictions) for lots and lots of snow for fun and to replenish the depleted aquifers and streams and maybe to give us a reprieve from wildfires next year.

MA and I loaded the dogs and various layers of winter clothes and drove to Rainy Pass where we found ten inches of snow on the ground and hardly any tracks. We were the first to walk to Rainy Lake. It looked like some folks had gone to Maple Pass – nothing we wanted to try in winter conditions. The dogs and especially Luna were delighted to see snow again! It seems like so much more fun for them to run and romp hard with a soft white blanket to cushion the crashes.

At the lake I attempted to re-create a portrait of Sky that I made two years ago when she was a three month old puppy. You can see the original here. It’s similar but she is looking the wrong direction. My fault!

My uncle invited me to join him for a hike to Rainy Lake in the North Cascades earlier this week. He wanted to search for interesting mushroom species and walk his dog and oh, he asked if I wanted to bring a cooler because he and his friend were having such a good crab season! How could I turn down any of that?

The weather was unseasonably cool for early September but here in the mountains we should expect that. The forested trail was pleasant and there were numerous mushrooms. His dog, Chopper, found lots of sticks that he urged us to toss for him. Sky liked swiping his sticks and Luna was busy looking for chipmunks. Waterfalls poured into the lake from the remaining snowfields far above us. The cloudy skies reflected in the water made it look dark and ominous and the breeze and a smattering of rain drops didn’t help much so we returned to the trail. In addition to the non-edible mushrooms we found a few boletes that Bill took home for supper.

After he filled my cooler and we had a cold drink we headed off in our opposite directions. As I drove back I decided to try for another lake. It’s only a two mile trail to Cutthroat Lake and an easy one too. Last fall it was Sky’s first real hike as a tiny puppy. It’s hard to believe she’s a 62 pound dog now. Where does the time go? Along the trail I passed the sight of a huge winter avalanche that had buried the place with broken trees. Luckily the Forest Service found the resources to clear a path though the devastation. I ran into friends near the lake and we had a nice visit. Cutthroat and Rainy Lakes are similar with cliffs lining much of the shoreline. On the way back I had the good fortune to see a pine marten! I don’t know how rare these little cuties are but this is only the second one I’ve ever seen.

Once winter really settles in, the passes out of the valley to the west are closed to traffic and we find ourselves near ‘the end of the road’. So far this year, we haven’t had too much snow but it has been cold enough to freeze many of the lakes. On Sunday we took the drive up to Rainy Pass and walked through the snow to frozen Rainy Lake. Ken took his ice skates and I carried my cameras and we took the dogs too. Of course. It was mid-afternoon by the time we got up there and the sun had dropped behind the North Cascades but it was warmer up high than down here in the valley. This is a weather inversion and has caused a bit of air pollution in some places. It was a fun walk and Sky’s first real experience with snow! Nothing seems to slow her down. We did try to keep her from going to far off-trail for fear she would get stuck and we’d have to rescue her. The ice was pretty rough for skating and Ken thought it might be a little soft too but he gave it a try. The dogs loved running on it and I just tried to keep them all away from each other. Walking back to the car, the alpenglow light on the high peaks was amazing.

We are ever so grateful to live in this beautiful place.

%d bloggers like this: