Our rainy day drive to the North Cascades National Park brought us to the visitors center at Newhalem.
Repeating myself, I'm in awe of the wonderful parks in the State of Washington, probably because I'm from California where our underfunded STATE parks are beginning to look bruised and abused with volunteer docents and no money for materials. Of course, this is a National Park and the interpretive displays are stellar. We decided not to take the river loop hike given the unpredictable weather and no rain gear. I cheated and took pictures of some of the displays instead. I'd heard of pink snow while visiting Alaska, but never watermelon snow. It is a phenomena of snow algae that attracts a worm. The above photo shows a bird feeding on the worms. Some worms and bugs are blown up hill out of their own element and supply food for birds. Isn't science wonderful?
This is a copy of a photo of a deer drinking in the river. I wish I could credit the original photographer, but, in any case, it comes from the displays.
This is a mock up of perpendicular glaciers on the steeps of the Cascades showing the hoof prints of a mountain goat.
Closeup of a gnarled tree, stunted by the wind and thin soil of high elevations. The photo exhibits were wonderful, but the highlight of the center was a 25 minute film about the Cascades and its inhabitants. It emphasized the closeness of the native peoples to the land; their life in harmony with nature; the beauty and grandeur of the mountains and the animals, birds and plants that call it home.
The Cascades are so steep and remote it is one place with less footprint by modern man than others. In fact, the grizzly and wolves are being re-introduced to the Cascades with some notable success. Salmon were naturally blocked on the upper Skagit and the dams here did not affect them as much as in other rivers.
During Chief Seattle's time, life revolved around the Eagle, Grizzly, Wolves, Owls and Salmon. The native people respected their animals, the storms, the seasons, the plants, in such a way they are indelibly stamped with the spirt of them for all time.