Showing posts with label Washington Cascades ski areas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington Cascades ski areas. Show all posts

Saturday, July 6, 2013

WAWeekend: From ‘Blogosphere’ to Mt. Baker

Would you believe it took a Canadian, who lives in South Korea to get me to Mt. Baker, in northern Washington State for the first time in my life?

Washington, the place I’ve lived my entire life, I might add.

And, I have the blogosphere to thank for planting the seed some two years ago that made this trip happen.

Regular readers know that each week TravelnWrite is a part of Travel Photo Thursday hosted by Budget Travelers Sandbox, a blog created by Nancie McKinnon, an educator from Halifax who teaches at a South Korean university. 

Over the year’s Nancie and I have gotten to know each other in the usual blogosphere way; reading posts, making comments,responding to comments and writing occasional emails.

Out of the blogosphere. . .

Nancie, two weeks ago, was en route  to Halifax and made  a stop in Vancouver, B.C. to visit a friend. She suggested we meet somewhere during that stopover. Turns out her friend, Sue, has a vacation retreat at The Glen at Maple Falls, Washington. Nancie further suggested we meet there.

“Sure!” I replied, thinking, “Where in the world is Maple Falls?” Grabbing the map, I found it right at the foot of Mt. Baker.

The day we met was one of those dreary, gray days for which this Evergreen State is known. Intermittent rain, and gray clouds provided the less-than-scenic backdrop as I headed north. 

Summer2013 001

My journey took me over the new temporary bridge span on Interstate 5 (part of the permanent bridge fell into the river after an over-sized truck hit the railing last month).

Summer2013 008

Then east on Highway 20 to Highway 9 (pictured above).

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Past beautiful meadows, pastureland, and forested hillsides. Well, they would have been really beautiful had the fog and clouds not dulled their emerald sparkle. I traveled through little hamlets named Acme, Clipper and Van Zandt – each calling out for a longer look on a future trip.

Summer2013 004Highway 9 led to the Mt. Baker Highway and a couple miles  more I found myself at The Glen, a gated recreational development near the Nooksack River.

It took about 10 seconds, the length of time it took me to get out of the car, for these two blogosphere friends to fall into easy conversation; it was as if we’d known each other for years.

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In a way, we have known each other for years – thanks to our blogs which have allowed us to follow the other’s life events and travels. (I have to tell you that for two people who are usually behind the camera, posing for that photo above had us howling with laughter at our discomfort as Sue patiently took photos of us.)

The only disappointing part of the day was that the cloud cover never allowed me even a peek at Mt. Baker, that majestic 10,781 ft.(3,286 m) peak, the third-highest mountain in Washington State and the fifth-highest in the Cascade Range.

But thanks to the courtesy of the USGS for allowing use of that first photo and Nancie, who sent one she took of the mountain a few days after my visit, I can show you one place in the state that you really should visit – especially on a sunny day!


If You Go:
The Mt. Baker area is about a two – three hour drive north of Seattle (depending on your destination). It took two hours to drive from Kirkland to The Glen, just under 100 miles in distance.

It is about an hour from Surrey, British Columbia, which is just outside Vancouver.

Mt. Baker National Forest information:
The Glen at Maple Falls information:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Washington Wednesday: Mountain Madness and Magic

Winter weather can turn Washington State mountain passes into a white-knuckled-steerwheel-gripping experience, and so can a parade of summer bike enthusiasts who hit the road at the same time as those of us in cars. 
kirkland 015 But without ice-slickened roads or those lined with those two-wheel travelers, a trip over the Cascade Mountain range provides travelers with a drive-through window of some of Mother Nature’s most scenic handiwork.

We dealt with the two-wheeled hazards last week on two of Washington State's mountain passes, but still managed to catch glimpses of the beauty of these deep, dense forested peaks that rise between Puget Sound’s wetter western side and the arid Central and Eastern parts of the state. A third mountain pass took us up into the desert-like, sage- and scrub-brush country where Yakima and Kittitas Counties merge.

The trip was a reminder that the journey can be as spectacular as the destination, especially in Washington State where we have some 16 mountain passes.
We drove Interstate 90 from Seattle, a divided multi-lane highway through the mountains, where it reaches its highest point of 3,022-feet (921m) at Snoqualmie (snow-qual-me) Pass. This highway, opened in 1969, follows the route of a 1909 wagon road and is named after the American Indians who lived in the valley to the west. 

Snoqualmie Summit is a popular winter ski destination with a public rest stop, eateries, and hotel located there. And last Saturday it was a popular bike route for some skilled riders and others who were very obviously not.
Less than an hour later we headed up Manastash (mah-nash-tash) Ridge on Interstate 82, just outside the university town of Ellensburg. From the Ridge, (elevation 2,672 ft/814m) we had sweeping views out over the Kittitas Valley's agricultural lands.
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Blewett washington wednesdays 007 (blew-it) Pass, elevation 4,102-ft. (1250m) took us east from Interstate 90 to the Wenatchee Valley on a beautiful Sunday morning.  This two-lane road with occasional passing lanes and turn-outs, once called Swauk Pass, is named for Edward Blewett, a Seattle mining promoter of the 1880’s.

Its summit is marked by a large vehicle pull-out, there are no commercial outlets. But there once was a time when Blewett was a hub of activity according to some wonderful old photos I found on a blog devoted to its history. (The link takes you to that blog.)
washington wednesdays 006
The hub of activity on this past Sunday was a straggling herd of bikers -- some who were pushing our state's 'share the road' philosophy to the near 'braking' point - (yes, a play on words there).

It made for a white-knuckle car trip and I noticed most of the bikers were bent over either looking at the front wheel or monitoring their handlebar mirrors.  Can't imagine they had much more opportunity to enjoy the passing scenery than we did.

The weekend road trip was a reminder that a trip over Washington's many mountain passes should not to be missed -- even by those of us who travel the roads regularly.

If You Go:  Information about each of the state's mountain passes -- including web cam views -- can be found on the state's transportation web site below.  Weather and road conditions, road construction alerts and other travel information is at:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

'Snow" Place like Washington

Snow was again falling in Washington State's Cascade Mountains this week. Ski areas are reporting base accumulations of significant depths. I am not into any form of skiing and Joel gave up downhill years ago. I tried snowshoeing once and took a header into a snowbank when I stepped on the left shoe with the right. I've given up on those activities that require skill and coordination opting instead for those old-fashioned, bell-jingling, nose-tingling horse drawn sleigh rides. I wrote about them in an article appearing in today's Seattle Times.

And for those who do ski, the Times has the latest information on conditions at popular Northwest ski areas in Washington, Oregon and Idaho; just to the side of the article under 'snow sports information' link.


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