North Cascades Hiking Trip -- July 17-19, 2003

This hiking trip is rated 5 boots out of 5 on the Hiking Boot-o-meter.

We had planned on a 3 day hiking extravaganza in the North Cascades - a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but due to problems at work (what else isn't new?) we didn't get out of town till late Thursday morning.  We headed up I-5 and east on Highway 20 to the Rainy Pass Picnic Area, where we booted up and hit the trail.

We headed off through the trees up a steep hill toward Ann Lake, on the shores of which we spotted this marmot hanging around in the sun. 

This is looking across the lake to the ridge atop which we would stand a scant couple of hours later, after hiking around the far end of the lake. It's a bit overexposed because we're looking into the sun, but it made nice sparkles on the water. 

We headed up the grade and enjoyed the views looking down at the lake.

Sue hikes along the trail above the lake, which is in the valley down to the right.  In the distance is Cutthroat Pass, where we would be hiking 2 days later.

Looking up to the high point of the hike.  We had hoped to hike around the lake, but due to our late start and some fairly deep late-season snow up at the top of the ridge, we didn't.

Looping around the end of the lake.  The trail is visible heading up the left side of the valley. 

The day was warn and sunny, but not too hot.

Looking north over the Ann Lake valley.

This was the turn-around point - almost to the top of the ridge - where one of us said that she really had hiked quite far enough already for one day, thank you. 

Heading down Highway 20 to the Lone Fir Campground for the night.

A cheap, but nonetheless most pleasant, dinner.

The next morning we drove up to Harts Pass and to the end of the road 1/4 mile below Slate Peak - reportedly the highest maintained road in Washington.  This was part of a reconnaissance run in preparation for the Seven Pass Loop Hike that we were thinking of doing a few weeks later.

The view from Slate Peak.  A cloud of smoke from the big fire north of Winthrop is visible.

Looking back up at the fire lookout atop Slate Peak from the end of the road.

Sue enjoys the flowers as we hike north on the Pacific Crest Trail.

And more flowers.

This area sort of reminded us of hiking in Switzerland - minus the cows and chocolate.

Looking down from Windy Pass.  The fire lookout atop Slate Peak is visible at the top center of this exposure.

Some of the wildlife we encountered.

We regretfully turned around and headed back toward civilization.

The wonderful texture of this plant caught the photographer's eye.

And more flowers.

The thistles were about ready to burst.

After another night at Motel Mazda, the next day consisted of the hike up to (and a bit past) Cutthroat Pass.  We left the car at the Rainy Pass PCT trailhead and headed north.

We had lunch at the top of Cutthroat Pass, and spent the whole time dancing around trying to keep the mosquitoes away.

A ways beyond Cutthroat Pass we encountered a bit of snow on the trail - it was spookier than it looks here, due to the 500' of crumbly rock slope down which one would tumble if one lost one's footing.

This was the view looking east from the 1/2 day turn-around point.

Heading back up to Cutthroat Pass.

We hopped across couple of nice waterfalls... we approached the trail head, got back to the car, and drove home that night, tired but happy.

Ann Lake hike on the first day and Cutthroat Pass hike on the third day.

Windy Pass hike on the second day.

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