Tag Archives: “American Alps”

October 2, 2017 A backpacker near Park Creek Pass, North Cascades National Park, Washington.

Primal Wild: Backpacking 80 Miles Through the North Cascades

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By Michael Lanza

“Lots of bears at Grizzly Creek.”

Those words that a backcountry ranger spoke to me over the phone just yesterday echo through our heads now, as my friend Todd Arndt and I descend switchbacks from misleadingly named, 6,500-foot Easy Pass into the densely forested valley of Fisher Creek in Washington’s North Cascades National Park. Fog swirls around the jagged peaks nearly a vertical mile above us. Battleship-gray skies threaten a common meteorological occurrence in these mountains—rain—although we’ve seen only sprinkles and wind so far. We’re hiking downhill past ripe huckleberry bushes toward a thicket of slide alder and chest-high brush that the trail passes through—ideal bear habitat.

“That’s where they’ll be,” I say to Todd. Without taking his eyes off that tangle of alder and tall brush, Todd just says, “Yup.” Continue reading →

July 30, 2017 Sahale Arm, North Cascades National Park.

Photo Gallery: Hiking and Backpacking in the North Cascades National Park Complex

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By Michael Lanza

On my first trip to North Cascades National Park, I was sure I’d found heaven. The hard-earned views of a sea of jagged spires and snow- and ice-covered peaks stretching as far as you could see instantly cemented the place as one of my favorite mountain ranges. I’ve returned many times, backpacking, climbing, ski mountaineering, and dayhiking and backpacking with my family. But not many hikers and backpackers know much about Washington’s North Cascades, one of America’s least-visited national parks. I think the gallery of photos below from my various trips there will persuade you to put this park high on your list. Continue reading →

June 7, 2010

Exploring the ‘American Alps:’ the North Cascades

In Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

By Michael Lanza

The wind and horizontal rain battered us and the fog reduced visibility to 50 feet at times as we hiked up Sahale Arm. We struggled into the maelstrom with rain jacket hoods cinched snugly, our heads bent forward into the wind. Bullets of cold rain pelted my cheek.

It was mid-July in Washington’s North Cascades National Park, but it felt like mid-October—no surprise in the northernmost and one of the wettest mountain ranges in the contiguous United States, where 110 inches of precipitation falls annually on its western slope. My friend David Ports and I were headed up toward some of the most severely vertical mountain scenery in the country—though that morning, it didn’t look like we’d get treated to any of it. Continue reading →

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