It’s beautiful driving down State Route 20 at 8 o’clock in the evening in my old, beat-up 1989 Toyota Corolla that I never, ever clean. My radio is dead and so I sing “Baby, I miss you” through the four arched scratches on my windshield towards mountains of trees.
I’m getting the hell out. Away from all the stress and shaking off the day. Onward to North Cascades National Park.
It’s getting dark by the time my best friend Alia and I turn our wheels into Goodell Creek Campground. We pick a spot in the trees with the sound of the Skagit River pinging like windchimes in a winter storm. Perfect. We make a fire, s’mores and stare up at the stars in dumb awe as we rehash all the stupid shit we used to traveling around Latin America.
North Cascades National Park
We start our morning off right by making a stop at the North Cascades National Park Visitor Center to get the low down on hikes and trail conditions. And in general, to be nature nerds. After our park ranger finishes dishing out helpful hiking advice, Alia lets her know the real reason we’ve come here, “Oh and yes, we’re interested in your Junior Ranger program.”
Sidenote: This is actually a very legit education program for
youth individuals ages 12 and up. It’s well-designed and encourages creative thinking. And after carefully filling out your booklet for the ranger to review, you write down your pledge and raise your right hand before officially becoming a Junior Ranger. They even give you a sweet badge to prove it.
But I digress. We do two amazing hikes that I would highly recommend:
- Thunder Creek Trail/4th of July Pass Trail: Moderate, good climb to 4th of July Pass where you can chill and enjoy the view.
- Thunder Knob: An easy 3.6 miles with amazing views, perfect for the day after a challenging hike.
It’s only a week into the season and the mountains have beautifully smooth, sloping snow packs. The weather is ridiculous. It really is all ridiculous.
Oh and I can’t forget to mention the waterfalls. Everywhere. They rudely interrupt my zoning out with their bursts of hydropower and we spy them with binoculars etching lines into glaciers.
It’s inspiring. So much that I had to do yoga and write a blog post about it. I will be back.