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For the longest time I thought there were only 2 National Parks in Washington but last year I learned there were 3: North Cascades being the one I’d forgotten. Of course, my wife, Gwynne, and I had to visit it as soon as the weather got better. It was during the Lockdown but we checked and the park was open, though the ranger stations weren’t so we’d have to send in for a stamp & patch online. It’s about 90 minutes Northeast of Seattle, a scenic drive we’d never been on even though we’ve lived in the State for over 4 decades. The weather was accommodating, because even though it was early April, rainy season, we only got the occasional sprinkle.
We guessed we’d have to go commando since the Visitor Center restroom was closed but there were a couple portapotties set up in a parking lot by the trails. “The Skagit General Store” sign said we were in Newhalem, which was a small community set up for the damn workers. It must have been from the old days when the roads snowed in because it was less only 30 minutes to get to a real town. Even though there was that small community, the store wasn’t open, and neither was the restaurant, but there was an old steam locomotive out in front of the place as decoration.
The Diablo Lake trail was 7 kilometers round-trip, a good distance to hike, especially in the woods, and occasional sprinkles. There was no standing snow except for the remnants of an avalanche that blocked our path and require some awkward climbing to get over. The overlook at the end showed a medium-sized damn, one of several in the park, all still used to generate electricity.
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