Monday, August 10, 2009


The North Cascade Scenic Dr. takes visitors to Ross Dam, Baker Lake and an interpretive visit to Sentinel Pillars, an old growth forest. Views of Mt. Baker, which sits in the Cascade Range about 150 miles from Mt. St. Helens, were obscured by cloud cover. It has the world record for snowfall, over 94 feet in a single season, the winter of 1998-99. All are related since Ross Dam formed Lake Baker as torrents of glacial water pour down from Mt. Baker.

The forest, left to its own devices, is a very different place than a managed woods. Its moss covered tangles and jumble of fallen logs, and pervasive decay lack postcard beauty. It retains a certain lush, hush of expectancy as you walk among the giants, close out the ordinary world and take in the secrets of micro life at every step.
Fungi, lichens, miniature trees, insects, shelter for small creatures, sprouting on fallen trees, as above, where animals have made a visable trail on top of a nursery log.
This old fir stands 15 stories high, seven feet in circumference and is about 680 years old. Wherever you look, nature astounds you.
This man made structure is astounding as well. Ross Dam is 580 feet tall, the largest of three dams on the Skagit River. People come here for exceptional hiking, rafting, fishing and the many campgrounds, some of them free camping areas.

Baker Lake is scenic and clean. Boat launches are numerous around the 25 mile lake for great recreational opportunities.

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