Yes, I dipped the wheels of my Element into some of the white stuff.
I headed east on Thursday, following the Skagit River along WA 20. The sun was out and I drove with a smile on my lips.
Before long, the Northern Cascades were in sight. These mountains are also known as the American Alps.
Be aware that when you are heading east from the Mt. Vernon/Burlington area, the last stop for gas is in Marblemount. The next station is over 70 miles east through the mountains.
As I climbed into the mountains, the river lost it's placid look. The water was flowing swift and high. Check out this tree trying to dig in his roots to avoid being swept downstream.
There are three dams in this area along the Skagit River run by Seattle City Light, Gorge, Diablo, and Ross. This is the Gorge Dam.
Diablo and Ross, coincidently, hold up the rear of Diablo Lake and Ross Lake. I am headed to Colonial Creek campground on Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park.
I stop first to visit Goodell Creek Campground, the smallest of the three developed campgrounds along WA 20.
While this campground has only 21 sites, #21 is one of the nicest I have seen in a while. Right alongside the creek.
This area is popular for rafting and the campground has it's own launch point.
Next stop was at Newhalem Creek Campground. There are more than 100 campsites that are well suited for RV's and you will find plenty of hiking trails in the area.
Those two campgrounds are only one mile apart. Just 10 more miles east up the road and you reach Colonial Creek. The campground seems relatively indecisive about which way it wants you to turn.
I wanted to find a campsite with at least a bit of sun and I think I found it.
I would now like to introduce the newest member of my camping team. My new stove.
I picked it up the day before I headed east. I used my birthday money. Thanks! I broke it in with a batch of tacos. Notice my Polar Bear coolers? Best soft sided cooler you can buy. Give them a call and mention campsitephotos.com and they will set you up right. I have already branded my tank.
My previous stove was a Coleman single burner that I used for over 10 years.
It probably just needs good cleaning so I will keep it for a backup. As Hank Hill says, however, I am now using clean burning propane gas.
I have been eyeballing Camp Chef stoves for a while now. I didn't want the big ones with legs that run on the bulk tanks and I didn't like the fold open ones that ran on the disposable tanks.
I wanted a smaller table top stove that had the cast aluminum burners and a cast iron top that ran on a bulk tank. They have finally made some called the Ranger Series. It's available in 2 and 3 burner models. I will let you know how it works over the next few months. It seems to do fine so far. It is much easier to cook with two burners.
Although it was sunny all day, the forecast for the western cascades was increasing rain on Friday and a thorough drenching on Saturday. I decide a fire was in order after having a belly full of tacos.
I got a little carried away. It was the first fire of this trip.
I woke up early on Friday, walked the campground, and continued east.
Colonial Creek is not as RV friendly as Newhalem and has quite a few walk-in sites on the lake. Don't get me wrong, over half of the 164 sites fit an RV just fine.
My campsite was #9, situated on the lake and next to a creek. Perfect for an RV or trailer.
The creek ran across the left side.
A 20 foot walk brought me to this view. Might as well take advantage of the sun.
There is also a boat ramp and popular hiking trails.
Here is a last look of the lake from the dock just before I left on Friday. Notice how the clouds had come in.
Heading east I first passed the Diablo Lake Overlook. So I stopped and looked over the lake. This is looking north.
The clouds were just hanging on to the mountains. The little strip of sand in the middle of the photo below is a few miles west where my campsite was located.
I had turn turn on my wipers as I headed higher into the clouds.
Shortly after cresting Washington Pass, I found a little patch of snow to park on. You can also see that the sky is clearing up as I drop down the eastern side of the mountains.
I decided to head for Pearygin Lake State Park just outside of Winthrop, WA. The area is arid but the lake is spring fed and very popular. So much, in fact, that there was only a couple of walk-up sites left.
The campsites here have no privacy. The area is basically a huge lawn with markers and a small shrub or two separating them. The lakefront sites looked like fun, as you could tie you boat out in front. Below is a lakefront spot just before somebody pulled in and my campsite.
I made some more tacos, set my chair out in the sun, and watched all the boats pass by on the lake. A nice relaxing warm day.
Still chasing the sun, I headed about 90 miles south to the town of Leavenworth, passing through Winthrop again.
This town is worthy of a few photos. It is set up Old West style and I would have taken some on Friday but the gang from American Pickers was there. Yeah, that white sprinter van with Antique Archeology written on the side. I saw the show a few times and the tall skinny guy annoys me. So no pictures of them on my blog. Here is the town early Saturday morning.
Definitely a neat part of the state and well worth the visit.
About 12 miles south of Leavenworth on Icicle Road I camped at Johnny Creek. Lower Johnny Creek to be precise. The road splits the campground in two, with 15 sites along Icicle Creek and 50 more on the other side. This is a very popular campground, the biggest in the area.
The creek is popular for rafting and the town on Leavenworth is something else. Where Winthrop went western, Leavenworth goes Bavarian in a big way.
I enjoyed two sunny days there and then headed out on Monday morning to the Lake Wenatchee area about 18 miles west where I have camping reservations for 4 nights.
It started raining Tuesday morning so I grabbed my umbrella and went and visited two campgrounds that are right next to each other.
Nason Creek is broken up into 3 parts along the Wenatchee River with 73 sites all together. Several are situated right on the river.
Next up was Lake Wenatchee State Park.
Lake Wenatchee State Park is a 489-acre camping park with 12,623 feet of waterfront on glacier-fed Lake Wenatchee and the Wenatchee River. The park is bisected by the Wenatchee River, creating two distinct areas – south park, (100 sites) which features areas for camping, swimming and horseback riding, and north park (97 sites), which is in a less developed, forested section of the park and a quarter-mile walk from the lake. The park is a natural wildlife area, and visitors should be aware of the presence of bears and other natural dangers.
North Park also offers hookups in about 50 campsites.
I headed back to my campground for tacos. Here is my full cooking setup.
I am writing this on July 4 and the sun is shining outside so I will stop now. Some people (Rob Gregory) said I live a life of leisure. It's more work than you would think. I started doing the blog last year and on this trip I am processing the campground photos as I go as well. That's a lot of time on the computer, probably 20 hours per week not counting the actual picture taking.
But I would not change my office for any other one in the world.
Regards, Park Ranger