The North Cascades

We got a bit of a “bonus” holiday what with Independence Day falling on a Saturday this year.

Brian and I decided we would finally go out of our way to visit the last of the National Parks in Washington state: North Cascades NP.

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Katie’s hiking outfit

Of course, technically we did not go into the park. There are no roads that go into the park, only trails. And you have to hike a good ten miles before you reach the park boundaries.

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Moss-covered hillside
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Suspension bridge, part of the Ladder Creek trail

But we did look into the park.  I’ve never seen lakes as blue as these.

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I’m the only one who can smile for the camera.

One more without the people. It looks like a child’s drawing of an ideal landscape.

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The hills are aliiiiiiiiive . . .

We also took time to talk to the rangers at the visitor’s center so we could get our Junior Ranger patches. NCNP has four different patches, each one for a different age group. The way our children are spaced, each one got to earn a different patch! I really like the Junior Ranger activities; they usually get our kids to engage with the parks (for example, spending time in the forest alone, quietly listening and logging nature sounds), instead of passively wandering through.

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The visitor’s center had this big stuffed banana slug for kids to climb on.
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Being sworn in as Junior Rangers. The hats were strictly on loan.

The only real snafu to the day was when we picnicked next to Diablo Lake.

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The beach was muddy (it’s been such a dry year that the waterline had receded back, revealing layers of goo),  and Katie promptly fell down into it, soaking her pants and shoes. So much for taking a hike! In fact, the only reason we were able to go anywhere else that day is because Eleanor had left a second pair of shoes in the car, and we were able to cram them onto Katie’s feet. (Take a closer look at that Junior Ranger photo. You’ll notice how Katie has giant feet.)

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Eleanor and the waterfall at the top of Ladder Creek

The ride home demanded that we stop for ice cream . . . at the exact same place we had stopped for ice cream two days before, on kangaroo & berry-picking day. We must be a remarkable family, because the proprietors recognized us right away . . . and even remembered the flavors we chose before!

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