Cascades

Old Jul 9th, 2012, 12:31 PM
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Cascades

I have a fabulous trip planned for Washington state -- including Mt Ranier, Olympic Penn., San Juan Islands and Seattle. Between the islands and Seattle I had planned an overnight stay in the Cascades (that is all the time we have). This trip is for a family with 3 active teens. I had originally planned a day out hwy 2 to Leavenworth (with possible short raft trip) then return via 97 to 90 to Seattle.
I am now wondering if I am better to go Hwy 20 to the Northern Cascades, stay at Marblemount or Concrete while exploring the national park, then just head back hwy 2 to Seattle.
What are you opinions of the not to miss part of the Cascades?
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 12:36 PM
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I'm doing a very similar trip. The only thing I am doing is I am either going to stay in Burlington or Marblemount. I plan on hiking Cascade Pass/Sahale Arm. I wish I had more time too!!

The hike looks amazing. The only thing that has me worried about each area of our trip is weather.
I'm doing 3 night in Olympic, 2 nights in Rainier, 2 nights in Seattle, and 1 night @ Marblemount or Burlington. I have reservations in Burlington that I can cancel. The more I look at it the more Marblemount is making better sense. I think the earlier I can get up for the hike the better off I will be(especially for parking at the trailhead). I will be at Rainier during major meteor shower, so I'm trying to figure out if staying up or getting up super early would be worth it too.
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 12:37 PM
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I'm just planning a day trip to San Juan Island and whale watching there.
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 12:46 PM
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I just re-read your other post. Your going mid-july? I don't know what the snow issues are in the cascades, but you will probably want to check trail status on some of them. I think they usually clear up about the last part of July, which may coincide with your trip. Again, not exactly sure how much snow they have received though?

Did that fishing trip to Alaska work out for you a couple of years ago?
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 01:57 PM
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When are you coming? Mid-July? According to some trail reports I have read, snow is pretty continuous above 4500 to 5000 feet in the North. Paradise at Rainier (5400 feet) has pretty good coverage too, according to the webcams.

You can check hiking trip reports on wta.org (Washington Trails Association) for the latest updates.

Between Highway 20 and Highway 2, I prefer the hikes off of 20 (particulary the Cascade pass/Sahale Arm hike mentioned by spirobulldog, along with Hidden lakes Peak in the same area). Trapper Peak is great too, and then at the top, near Washington Pass, Maple Pass Loop is fantastic; Blue Lake for a shorter hike that might be good with kids.

There aren't many places to stay along Highway 20 until you cross over to the east side, however. Do NOT stay in Concrete. Marblemount has Skagit River Cabisn (aka Clarks or "the bunny place") and that is fine. The kids would get a kick out the rabbits (not literally!!! They do come up an nibble your shoelaces if you let them). You have a choice of the old millworkers' houses, or newer cabins, and food at the diner is good but can be slow. Make sure you stop at Cascadian Farm on the way back after your hike for the best ice cream and berries around.

Leavenworth offers lots of gread lodging opposrunities and rafting on the river is fun. There are some very nice hikes up the Icicle River Road (Ladies' pass, Colchuck lake) but they are more suited to an overnight backpack. Spider Meadow, north of town is fantastic and you can hike above to the Lyman Glacier, but agains that would be long for a dayhike.

I guess I'm not much help in your decision---but either way you won't go wrong. . . as long as the snow has melted back. If not, be very careful of creek crossings and steep slopes, and turn back if it appears unsafe. (Not to be a downer but a guy died up at Mt. Rainier on July 4; he slid down a slope and broke through snow over Edith Creek. They couldn't get him out in time.)
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 03:29 PM
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Enzian,

Is Hidden Lake Peaks better? I'm planning on my one day in the Cascades for Sat. August 11. I plan on starting at like 5 or 6 in the morning. I won't have a problem with parking at the trailhead then would I? I'm gonna be at Rainier on Aug 12 an 13. Surely, snow on trails will be gone by then. I am debating between Skyline Loop and Coment Falls. Possibly both. If I do Comet, should I do the entire Van Trump Park, or just stop at Comet?

kbouvette, Not trying to hijack your post, but I figure since we are both going to the same place, maybe won't matter to much. thnx
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 03:49 PM
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I am so glad I posted. We are going mid July. I was seeing all of the 70 degree weather in Washington and thought I would be OK. We were excited to get out of the midwest three digit weather, but I hadn't planned for snow! I think we will adjust our packing for the mountains Sahal arm is suggesting an ice ax right now -- yikes. We will visit Rainier and Hurricane ridge -- so we will have mountain exposure.

Maybe I should keep both the Hwy 2 and Hwy 20 reservations and see what the crew thinks of the coolness at elevation in Washington the first week to decide the end of the trip.

Spirobulldog -- you were very helpful with the fishing trip plans for Alaska. My fishing plan was vetoed by my crew -- however after seeing the fish and beautiful rivers they all regretted the decision. They then trout fished non-stop the next summer in Colorado (not near as impressive as those beautiful Alaskan Salmon)!
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 04:03 PM
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If anyone is going into Mt. Rainier from the south-east. the Chinook and Cayuse Passes are open. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Passes/Chinook/
I camped in La Wis Wis campground in late April before it was officially open. The FS has a nice campground along the Cowlitz River just outside Mt. Rainier and a few miles east of Packwood.
Packwood has 1 gas station and 1 IGA grocery store and several lodging places and restaurants.
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 04:32 PM
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kbouvette,
I am from Oklahoma and work in this heat. Although, so far not as bad as the heat was last year. Where are you from?
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 07:53 AM
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Hidden Lake Peaks is not better than Cascade Pass, just different. Both are rated as "premmier" hikes in my favorite guidebook ("Don't Waste Your time in the North Cascades"). Hidden Lake Peaks trail has a notorious gully that is dangerous to cross when filled with snow (I have been up there on skis in July but we went a different way to avoid that spot). The views of Johannisberg Mt. with hanging glaciers from the Cascade Pass trail is not to be missed. I'm not sure what the ice axe comments are all about but that may refer to going up on the Sahale Glacier, or maybe the steeper sections of Sahale Arm. Cascade Pass is a great hike with amazing views even if you don't go past Doubtful Lake (we didn't as we ran out of time).

I don't have current experience with this year's snow conditions as we haven't been out hiking yet. Our hiking buddy (Labrador retriever) is in rehab after knee surgery and not ready for hikes.

What you might do is stop by the forest service information desk at REI (downtown flagship store) to ask about current snow conditions and suggestions on where to go. Some trails are fine even with snow (if you don't mind sinking in a bit).

And don't let my comments about the incident on Mt. Rainier put you off hiking up on the snow at Paradise. It is perfectly safe and a lot of fun as long as you stay in the right area (away from steep slopes and the creek in Edith Crreek Basin). Go to the left side of Alta Vista (as you face Mt. Rainier) and up toward Panorama Point. Where there is good snow cover you can walk wherever you want, but where the snow has melted off it is important to stay on the trail and not walk on the fragile meadow. Early in the season the main path is marked with wands so you can safely find your way even in a whiteout---but no point going up on a day like that as you won't see anything. On a bluebird day it is gorgeous. Wear lots of sunscreen!
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 09:15 AM
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Thnx for all the info. Hope we have decent weather.
My wife and I are doing the Olympics/Seattle the last week of July. My wife teaches school and we actually start school here on Aug 5.

Our daughter is taking summer classes in college. She has a week off Mid-August. So during that time, she and I are going to do Seattle/San Juan Island, North Cascade, and Mt. Rainier.
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 09:26 AM
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The North Cascades NP loop (SR 20 - US 97 - US 2) is considerably longer than the US 2 - US 97 - I-90 loop (which can easily be done as a day trip from Seattle, while the other would be a really long day trip.

While the pass through NCNP (SR 20) is beautiful, I personally don't find it that much more interesting than US 2, but it's all a matter of personal preference.

As for trails at altitude, if they're not snow covered they'll probably all still be pretty muddy, so not the best conditions.

Let me go totally off-program for a minute and ask if you've been to the Columbia Gorge. For a one-overnight outing with a lot of potential interest to teens, you might consider looping on I-90 over the Cascades, taking US 97 down to the Columbia River and staying at Hood River (wind surfing capital of the world, so they say.) Then visit the Columbia Gorge (waterfalls very full at this time of year) or even rafting on the White Salmon River (on the Washington side opposite Hood River.) You could even stop at Mt. St. Helens on the return to Seattle. The high desert scenery heading into Yakima, and the cowboy country between Yakima and the Columbia, would be in stark contrast to the wet-side/islands scenery you'll have had up to then, and the Gorge is a national treasure (ought to be a National Park IMO but too many residents.) Just throwing that out as a curve ball.
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 09:34 AM
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I assume you are posting to kbouvette, since this is their post. LOL. I think the Gorge is awesome. I hiked Eagle Creek there. Awesome!

Also went canyoneering withhttp://www.cascade-canyoning.com/
Absolutely the best thing we have evern done on a trip. I've been with them twice. Most of the photos on their website under the Cascade Canyon trip is of myself and daughter.
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 11:01 AM
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There are many possibilities.

At Mt. Rainier, the drive from Longmire to Box Canyon affords spectacular Cascade views, and it is often given short shrift because of the overpowering drama of Mt. Rainier. When you leave the Paradise Inn area, take the one-way road out of the parking lot to the left and drive at least to Box Canyon. It is beautiful.

The drive to Sunrise also gives great views, including of Mt Adams to the south.

From Sunrise (or Paradise) your could drive over Chinook Pass and spend the night in Yakima. In the morning, you might drive to Leavenworth via I-82, I-90, and Highway 97 (Blewett Pass). Return to Seattle over Stevens Pass (Highway 2).

HTTY
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 11:20 AM
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tomfuller -- thanks for the information about the SE passes to Ranier; will head into Ranier that route

spirobulldog -- we too are Okies!! Again I started this trip planning last July as we were sweltering

gardyloo -- I was not planning the full 20-97-2 loop; either -- 1. Out hwy 20 to the North Cascades for a night (stay at Marblemount) then return the same way we came or 2. 2-97-90 loop (with a stay at Leavenworth)
I am not sure if I do #2 will I miss unique North Cascades views.

I will save the gorge, cascade canyoning and Mt St Helene's for a trip to Portland. It is always fun to head northward in July and August. It sounds and looks unforgetable.

Enzian -- I always appreciate advise for the safty of my family. Trust me my teenagers like to have fun and seeing the snow may give them ideas, so I will tell them your story about Edith Basin. I have made the notes for the left side of alta vista.

Sounds like you see both routes (north cascades or Leavenworth) as good options?

Happytrails -- Thanks will add the box canyon option.

Isn't trip planning fun?? Vacation is even better -- so many spectacular options
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 02:35 PM
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1. Out hwy 20 to the North Cascades for a night (stay at Marblemount) then return the same way we came or 2. 2-97-90 loop (with a stay at Leavenworth) I am not sure if I do #2 will I miss unique North Cascades views.

Sorry, with so many other options, I can't see the point of going to Marblemount and returning the same way if the objective is to see the Cascades. If I went to Marblemount, I would definitely continue on to Winthrop (in the beautiful Methow Valley) and return to Seattle via Alt 97 (down the Columbia River and Chelan), Leavenworth, and Stevens Pass (Highway 2).

If you do 2-97-90 loop, you will miss some unique Cascade views and you will see others that you would miss if you don't do the loop.

HTTY
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 06:00 PM
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Hmmmmmmmmmmmm...

If I were coming from Oklahoma to Washington State on a trip, of the places mentioned by the OP, Mount Rainier would be #1, The Olympic Peninsula would be #2, and the North Cascades Highway would be #3 in terms of priority.

"Seattle" is something of a given, at least for arrival and departure, so I'm guessing some amount of sightseeing (here) would happen naturally.

I guess I get the novelty of stopping/staying on an island, when one is from the central USA, but that just places more demands on precious time.

As for Concrete, I think everyone knows that it is the center of the known universe


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_l40dpZjZDE...600/WA_313.jpg
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 06:24 PM
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That's what I keep thinking about my trip too. We don't have to many orca sightings here though.

The only thing I'm really doing in Seattle is seeing Pike Market, Cafe Vivace, Top Pot Doughnuts, and Salumi.

I'm not sure how long to allow at Pike Market. I'm also not sure if it matters if I do PM on a Fri, Sat, or Mon. and what time. Like 8-10 or 10-noon or ????
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Old Jul 10th, 2012, 06:27 PM
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I have no clue about Concrete. I had to google it and still don't know what the heck.
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 05:23 AM
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Spiro...

With regard to Pike Place Market

There is something to being there when the crowds are around, as unlike at many other venues, you don't get stuck in long LINES for anything. It is just, a trillion independent businesses each being patronized simultaneously and near to one another.

For that reason, I'd suggest the middle of a Saturday or the middle of a summer Friday for exploring the market. Granted when locals want to get anywhere through the market quickly (and on foot), we just walk in the street ("Pike Place"). Unless you are facing a deadline, it isn't inconvenient to take-in the market at the market's pace.

I guessssssssssss that if you allow 3-ish hours... and "one meal"... you can do fairly well for yourself both with allowing enough time, AND the chance that you might get done early and open-up a few extra minutes for your next destination. (Don't leap to have the meal too soon, for you never know what sits around the next corner!)

Note that there are many levels to the market, and there aren't any ideal paths to make sure you've seen it all. The more remote (& lower) areas/shops are the least impacted by foot traffic. Hope that helps some.
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