Mount Baker, Washington

These were taken from Artist Point, the highest place they let you drive to.  The top photo is of Mount Baker (elev. 10,781 feet, the highest peak in the distance) which is quite a ways from where I was standing.  The bottom picture is looking the other direction towards, I believe, Mount Hermann (elev. 6,286 feet) which is a lot closer.

When I finished looking around and taking pictures up at the peak of the mountain I was on I drove back out to Interstate 5 (which I only took in the interest of time) and headed south to Snohomish, Washington.  From there I took Route 2, my third scenic road of the day, east through about 70 miles of several consecutive National Forests and Wilderness Areas and back home to Wenatchee.

Today concludes three weeks on the road.  10,214 miles so far this trip!

Mount Baker Scenic Highway

When I reached Sedro-Woolley to the west of North Cascades National Park I turned north to head up near the Canadian border (not a long drive…).  From the town of Deming I took Mount Baker Scenic Highway back east towards the northern part of the Park.

These photos are from the road leading up to the Visitor Center and ski areas which are located up over 5,000 feet.  I’m not sure exactly which range you are seeing in the lower picture.  With all the twists and turns the road took it was hard to keep my bearings!

The Visitor Center and ski areas are actually located in the Mount Baker National Recreation Area, not North Cascades National Park.

Back to the big mountains

I saw a different shade of green today – the dark green of pine trees.  Washington’s motto is “The Evergreen State” which I didn’t know until I noticed it on their license plates today.

The top picture is of Early Mountain Spires (elev. 7,807) as I approached North Cascades National Park.  The bottom picture is looking back from Washington Pass towards an area I had just driven through.

North Cascades is another one of the lesser-known National Parks.  Unless you are a hiker (which I am not, if I were this trip would take forever!!) there is only one main road through the center of the Park.  The Park is oriented north to south, whereas the road cuts through it east to west.

Twisp, Washington

I had to get this little town in.  What a cool name!  The only thing more fun would be if NASCAR driver Greg Biffle were from this town (which he isn’t, he’s from Vancouver, Washington).

Twisp was near the beginning of the first of today’s three scenic roads.  From Twisp I headed west towards Sedro-Woolley, Washington on Rte 20.

This is why green was a welcome sight

Not everywhere I’m driving is quite this desolate, but this should give you some idea why driving in to the nice residential street in Coulee Dam yesterday was such a welcome relief.  This was only about an hour north of Wenatchee.  Once you get out of town things turn brown pretty quick.  But it wouldn’t stay that way for long today…

Wenatchee, Washington

While in Washington I am staying in Wenatchee, which is located pretty much right in the middle of the state.  I chose it because of it’s strategic location relative to the places I wanted to visit while I’m here.

Wenatchee claims to be the Apple Capital of the World.  I’ve seen lots of apple orchards, as well as numerous cherry groves and farms where apricots are raised.  I’ve also seen lots of warehouses and packaging plants.

As I came in to the area yesterday I noticed a sign along the road indicating that many fields of crops have a sign facing the highway indicating what is being grown there.  At first I thought that was kind of hokey but I quickly embraced it as a neat idea and now I am disappointed if I see a field that doesn’t have a sign telling what is being grown.  So far I’ve seen sweet corn, alfalfa, canola seed, potatoes, and yes, even green manure (Ewww…).  Seriously, it had a sign just like the others!

And speaking of potatoes, you’re probably thinking “But John, you were just in Idaho.  Why haven’t we seen potatoes yet?”.  Patience 007, patience.  I’ll be staying in Boise in a few weeks and visiting the southern part of the state so you’ll be getting a full helping of potatoes from down there.

The picture above was taken only about 10 minutes after leaving town heading north towards today’s destinations.