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July 07, 2015

North Cascades National Park

Given an option the North Cascades National Park is better viewed east-to-west along WA 20, to enjoy more turnouts and viewpoints.  However, our journey will be west-to-east.
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The campsite I chose was in Newhalem Creek Campground.  It had the advantage of being adjacent to the North Cascades Visitor’s Center and the town of Newhalem.  Both good sources of information.  However it does not have good water access, which was a bit of a surprise, a short hike did provide access to Newhalem Creek.
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Seattle City Light has interests throughout the National Park, which is divided into various ‘use’ sections to accommodate the needs of the city, conservation and recreation.   We took the Diablo Lake Boat Tour aboard the 42’ Cascadian to view first hand the size of the water contained within the Skagit drainage. 
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The town of Newhalem itself is very much a ‘company’ town.  Any need supplies should be picked up in Marlblemount if not before.

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What the town does offer is the trailhead for the Trail of the Cedars
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… and Ladder Falls.  The Ladder Creek Falls and Rock Garden trail begins just east of town at the Gorge Power Plant.  The falls are a series of falls dropping down steps to form the ‘ladder’ of Ladder Creek.
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There is almost no end to the waterfalls and trails as the road winds up and over Rainy Pass and Washington Pass.  Rainy Pass was a good place to stop for a picnic and make the short hike to Rainy Lake; and more waterfalls.
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The ‘snow slip’ shown in the tree photo below is created as gravity pulls the snow downhill and the snow pulls the sapling downslope as it tries to grow straight.  Liberty Bell Mountain is an obious landmark from many areas along the route.
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Tomorrow we will continue on to Chelan …
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