North America,  Travel

Upon the Snow-Laden Slopes of the North Cascades

The loveliness of the Pacific Northwest enveloped us from the moment we passed through deep forests of evergreens, beneath rows and rows of firs, cedars and hemlock. Through their thick outgrowths of needles, sunlight filtered in to rest awhile upon branches coated with moss which bathed in the glorious sunshine, seemed to have a life of its own. The forests looked like they have been around for a long, long time. Scattered log cabins showed up, framed poetically by all those evergreens and the snow-covered peaks of the Cascades.Β The Nooksack River popped up in places and it flowed gently gathering creeks along the way. Who knows if the Nooksack tribes still live around it, hunting and fishing, and generally, living off the land.

There is irony in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, for the tectonic forces that have given birth to it, can reduce it to rubble. The region is edged by the Ring of Fire, a belt of volcanically and seismically active sites. All those mountains that rear their heads majestically — Rainier, Adams, Baker, St. Helens and Glacier Peak — they are actually active volcanoes. It never ceases to amaze me that nature holds such great power over our miniscule lives. That a thing of beauty is not a joy for forever. One day it shall pass into nothingness.

Farms and ranches, horses and vast tracts of land rolled by, with hardly a human being in our field of vision for miles, till we stopped at a local brewery for lunch and pints of chilled beer. There the fortune cookie revealed that in my stars was a road trip. What are the chances?

When we got back on the road, the scene started changing slowly at first, patches of snow peppering the woods. Then we were passing through walls of snow, out of which road signs stood out as if to declare proudly that they had held on despite the barrage of snow. Here there were only dark evergreens standing stark against the thick cover of snow on the mountains. Mount Shuksan stood dramatically in front of us, dots of skiers to be seen along its slopes. And there was this world of beautiful silence to be inhaled at that moment, the roads ribboning below us into swathes of evergreens.

The plan was to drive high up into the meadows, right up to Mount Baker, but the road was closed with this fresh onslaught of snow. Instead, surrounded by mountains with tickling names of the likes of Triumph, Despair, Fury, and Terror (evocative of the emotions of climbers who would have scaled them, I would imagine, but then I am wrong because the surveyor who had named them had not climbed these bad boys), we trudged up snowy hills clad in pristine snow, so thick that it was powdery on top, and in places where I sank into waist-deep snow, the indents revealed an icy-blue base.

I can report that there were snowball fights thrown into the mix, dodging and hurriedly hurling clumps of snow, training our cameras on all that beauty. And there was the intense urge to lie flat on the snow, to just stare for hours at the blue skies above our heads and the white, white world around us, as skiers and snowboarders swished past us, leaving criss-crossing trails in their wake.

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Scenes from around the Mt. Baker HighwayΒ 
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Farms and ranches along Mt. Baker Highway

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The brewery where they brew beers in small batches. They are delicious, so I vouch.
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Catching the sun on a wonderful spring noon
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Roads that wind through thick forests of deciduous and evergreen trees

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Around the creek are snowshoeing routes running alongside the Nooksack River
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Mount Shuksan
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Glaciated mountains around Mount Shuksan
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Chalets in the Mount Baker ski area

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  • Rachel Lishman

    I love the way you write – always taking me right along with you! I haven’t had much time to read recently (and very intermittent wifi!) but looking forward to catching up with all your adventures once I’m back in London. Happy exploring as always πŸ™‚

    • dippydottygirl

      Thank you Rachel. That is a wonderful thing to hear always and you are so kind. You have been travelling so extensively that I would not imagine you to have time to be in the virtual world at all. Safe travels then till you get back home πŸ™‚ xx

    • dippydottygirl

      Tee hee I believe I shall have no more of it till next season now πŸ˜› But then who knows!

  • Sheree

    There’s something majestic about mountains whether or not they’re covered in snow. Lovely photos as always.

    • dippydottygirl

      Oh gosh, you reminded me of my intent to visit that area sometime. Adi went on a trip there with his sister and her family before we got married. I remember seeing those photos and wanting to walk in the wilderness made even intense by the sight of logs scattered everywhere on the beach. Next time, we have got to do it.
      Thanks Amor! Trust you have been enjoying yourself. xx

      • We Travel Happy

        I’m well, tolerating somehow the 36 degree celcius-weather here in SG, thanks for mentioning. Please do post some of those pics πŸ™‚ Btw, A, I don’t get an email prompt anymore whenever you reply to my comments, a few times now, hmm. Maybe I’ll just re-follow you to make sure I get prompts.

        • dippydottygirl

          That is annoying. It must be because of my earlier change. I am sorry to hear that. But there should be a tab below the comment which if you click should ensure that you get notified of my replies.
          It sounds balmy at your end. Well I am not looking forward to that kind of heat which will descend upon us soon I think. Keep cool. πŸ™‚ And I will look up those photos in Adi’s collection. xx

  • InspiresN

    such beatiful scenic place and pictures! I especially loved that one which has trees on both sides showing a little of the mountain peak in between!

  • lexandneek

    What an awesome view of the mountains! We saw Mount Baker from the Vancouver Tower. So nice to see it up close. The spring snowstorm must have been massive – the snow is piled quite high beside the chalet. Loved reading your post – Neek

    • dippydottygirl

      Thank you Neek πŸ™‚ It was quite something especially since we had no expectation of such a thick cover when we drove up. Nature is priceless. Have a good week you. xx

  • oldhouseintheshires

    What beautiful photos, Arundhati! I love the one of you with the white background. I love the mountains; it’s just the peace and greenery I think that does it for me. There was still lots of snow then? Wow…just think how much there must be in January. Lovely. Xx

          • Lingyun

            I still haven’t heard back yet! I’m not sure if no news is good news :’D I’m pretty happy just writing my own stuff though! It would be pretty cool to make some money from my writing, but I also have the urge to keep my hobbies separate from work. Either way things will work out for the best!

  • prabhu

    next week we all going there for trip and want to concern about the tourist place. Thanks for sharing good trip experience, its seem you enjoyed a lot and wish for me that i could too.

  • Anushree

    I agree, nature is such an irony in that the such beauty has been created by massive forces of destruction. Looks like you had a good time, I am shivering here looking at snowy pictures because for a change, it is a little warm in London xx

    • dippydottygirl

      I am back home and here it is balmy too, so all’s well. The surprise was that it was not nasty, the cold up there on the mountains. The sun bathed us aplenty in its beautiful warmth. Here’s to a vibrant summer for us. xx

  • Jennifer | Stewie Overseas

    Your writing takes me back home! I’m not from the United States, but my home in Canada is part of the same climate and forest and mountain scenery. It’s probably one of the most beautiful places in the world. But I might be a bit biased. πŸ˜‰

    • dippydottygirl

      Oooh you are in your new home now, I trust! How is it to be reunited with HB2? Has The Bean taken well to his new environment?
      The mountains are waiting for you here too πŸ™‚ xx

      • Osyth

        I am in my new place (in reality, a place I have lived before because it has been HB2’s base for nearly 30 years). I’m settling quite well. Had my youngest kitten with me for two weeks but she has returned to Blighty now. The Bean loves it here …. huge 2 acre garden with woods, plenty of critters to chase and lots of conservation land around for good walks and runs. I will be running to the mountains every opportunity I get – some things can’t be taken out of the girl, don’t we find?

        • dippydottygirl

          Now that sounds blissful. A woodland in your backyard…sigh. Pop in a few laps for me too, please. However, do you have to be wary of bears on the trail?
          P.S.: I did not think of you as a cat lady πŸ™‚ xx

          • Osyth

            It is lovely … I’m doing a 5K on Saturday called ‘Run for the Woods’ which is in aid of the conservation land here. The trail we run normally is alongside the river and I am more likely to meet a snapping turtle (and hey are maHUSIVE) than a bear but there are the occasional sightings of black bears here. It always makes the radio news. Last time I was here I was irrationally disappointed not to meet the one that kept being spotted. As to being a cat lady – not so much. I just refer to my girls as kittens or piglets most of the time. Much to their disgust since they are aged 23-31 these days!!!! xx

          • dippydottygirl

            I hate the fact that comments randomly get deposited in the spam folder. I have not been checking the blog the last few days because we were spending time with friends visiting NYC. Apologies for the delayed response and fishing this comment out of the folder. I trust your run went well and that you had succour after it in the form of a few pints of chilled ale and delish food.
            *snorts at the thought of your daughters’ expression
            Piglets is actually rather cute! πŸ™‚ Hope you have a good week ahead! xx

          • Osyth

            Thank you … it went quite well (was the first in an age so took it sensibly) and I did feel I had earned my libations and grub so a win all round. Hope you had a lovely time in NYC and sorry to have taken a wrong turning and ended up in Spam! It happens at this end from time to time too … very infuriating particularly as I am hopeless at checking the folder! Enjoy your week – sunshine all the way, I hope β˜€οΈ xx

          • dippydottygirl

            Oh yes brightness to keep all blues at bay πŸ™‚ With enough apologies in the air, now we can settle down to a nice cuppa. I baked furiously over the weekend and am trying to keep away from a hoard of Danish pastries and macaroons that have been popped into the freezer for long-term pleasures. I only hope this week does not see me scarfing down all of them! Hope you have a sunny and merry week too, Osyth. xx

          • Osyth

            Hah – they’d stand no chance here at all! Very mpressed that you can bake your own Danish. I knew you were a friend for a reason πŸ˜€ xx

          • dippydottygirl

            It was the first time I baked a batch. All that shortening and butter made me heart go boom boom! xx

  • iwannabealady

    I want so badly to visit Washington and the Pacific Northwest some day. To go snowboarding down those mountains would be heavenly. And in the spring to walk through those forests. Ay, me. I am putting this out into the universe! I will get there. Thanks for the lovely photos.

    • dippydottygirl

      Thank you hun. The universe will conspire to get you there then πŸ™‚ It is too precious to leave untrod. xx

  • carolinehelbig

    There is something very soothing about snow-filled mountain scenery. Lovely photos! I can’t get over the snow depth on the parking lot of the Baker ski chalet. I have yet to get to Baker, but on clear days in Vancouver I see it in all its glory.

    • dippydottygirl

      Hear hear! You have a world of beauty at your doorstep, so I doubt you miss much πŸ™‚ And thanks, Caroline.

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