North Cascades National Park, WA
Mineral Lake Campground
Cascade Pass, Mt. Sauk
From Yellowstone we started the long drive to Northern Washington and the Cascade Range, stopping at Twede’s Cafe to indulge my affection for Twin Peaks on the way through the Snoqualmie Pass.
North Cascades was by far the most remote and sprawling of the three parks, and we set up camp at Mineral Lakes just outside the park in the National Forest. There was no running water, so all potable water had to be filtered from the glacial stream behind our site, but the secluded setting was arrestingly beautiful - the trees and forest floor were all carpeted in a lush and spongy coat of lichen.
Our first stop after getting settled was to Ross and Diablo Lakes to see their shockingly bright turquoise waters. The next day we took on the hike to Cascade Pass, which gave us more breathtaking views of glacier-tipped peaks than we could have imagined.
On our last day in the park before the drive south to Seattle, we chose a half-day climb up Mt. Sauk. My VW Golf didn’t particularly appreciate being hauled up the side of a mountain to the trailhead, but the steep and narrow trail brought us through fields of Indian Paintbrush and phlox to spectacular summit views.