theladysnarkydame: Moon and Chime from The Books of the Raksura! (What?)
[personal profile] theladysnarkydame
So the Cascade Loop is a road trip that takes about 9 hours of driving time and fills it with 4 or 5 days worth of stuff to do and things to see. It gives a traveler a broad overview of the climate and surroundings of Washington, and is generally pretty awesome. Chad and I are thinking of making it an annual thing -- there's enough stuff to do that we can pick one or two "destinations" on the Loop and spend the rest of the time camping and enjoying the scenery. :D

We took the Loop clockwise, basically, starting with the ferry to Whidbey Island and then mostly following HWY 20 around. We stopped and camped the first night in Newhalem, in the North Cascades National Park, which was chilly and mountainous and covered in pine trees. Then we drove through the touristy old west town of Winthrop to an AirBnB in Wenatchee, which is in the part of Washington full of scrubby desert and heat and vineyards and orchards. The third day we backtracked to take a swim in Lake Chelan, which is, no lie, the most beautiful water I've ever seen -- the lake was so clear, and so blue, it looked tropical even though it was JUST the right side of too cold. (this was very welcome, because our van doesn't have working A/C, and that side of Washington, like I said before, is HOT). There were ducks swimming around with us, Mallards I think, bobbing along and staying just out of reach of the kids in the water. Then we went through some more rocky mountains and over some impressive curves before camping for the night at Moneycreek, in the Mt. Baker-Snowqualmie National Forest. It's an old growth forest, full of massive Red Cedars and hoary, moss covered Fir. Really impressive, we'll definitely be back -- I didn't get many good pictures there, because the light was too low for my slow old workhorse camera. Next year, maybe. The fourth day we did a bit more sightseeing and touristy stuff, and then we came home!

Here are some of the best pictures:


Double Bluff beach, on Whidbey Island, which we hit at low tide. Smelled a bit like chowder around the tide pools, but out in the wet packed sand it just smelled like salt. :D















 
Coupville, little bayside town where we stopped for lunch.

 








 
It's everywhere!



Onward! Into the trees, and up through Deception Pass:






 
We stopped at Deception Pass Bridge, because we needed pictures. :D
 












Newhalem campsite, where they were pretty sure to warn of bears (we never saw one), and then through country still scarred from forest fires over the last couple of years. Things seem to be regrowing nicely though.

























Out of the fire zones, into more mountains. The turquoise waters come from glacial silt in the lake, reflecting the light.











 
And into hotter, less green areas . . . though it's Washington, so "less green" is fairly relative.
 









To Lake Chelan.  Just LOOK at that water.  Pictures don't do it justice (and also, while this isn't the swimming area we stopped at -- didn't bring our camera out there-- the water looked just the same).






 
Moneycreek Campsite!  This isn't our site, it's one nearby that we wanted to save for later reference.  Our site was surrounded by hoary old trees and ferny plants -- none of my pictures came out right.  :(






We made a quick stop the last day at Deception Falls (no relation to the Deception Pass Bridge) and took that trail through the remains of an old Red Cedar forest, mostly burned down hundreds of years ago and regrown with Douglas Fir and hemlock and such.












Chad thought his Jurassic Park t-shirt was pretty fitting around here.







 
The river hits a hard right turn -- probably why they called it Deception Falls, I think.  




From here we drove through a few more touristy towns, and then we headed home!  We'll definitely head back around the Loop next year.  Maybe hit the same campsites, and fill in the middle with new things -- there's a seaplane vineyard tour thing on Lake Chelan that sounds awesome.  

But for now, we're home!  (and making wishlists of camping supplies on Amazon, for future reference.)
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