Saturday, December 13, 2014

Washington Pass

On our way to eastern Washington October 24th we left early in the morning to do some hiking on the Blue Lake trail.  We went first, however, to the overlook at Washington Pass which is just a few miles down the road from the trailhead for Blue Lake.

Washington Pass is near the eastern end of the North Cascades Highway.  The road there drops very quickly through a number of switchbacks and the pass is so prone to avalanches that it cannot be kept open in the winter.  It is, however, a must-see area when the pass is open.

Just above the pass there is a viewpoint with some paved trails and marvelous views of the surrounding area, especially the Liberty Group of peaks to the south.  This group includes (from right to left in the photos) Liberty Bell, Concord Tower, Lexington Tower and the Early Winters Spires.

We would see these peaks later in the day as we hiked to Blue Lake but from the other side.  Blue Lake lies to the southwest of these peaks and the trail is also the climbers route for the peaks, considered among the forty best climbs in North America.

From the parking lot just off the highway the trail winds through the trees and then along the edge of the cliff up to the top of the ridge and then back down to the parking lot.  Not only the Liberty Bell Group to the south but also Kangaroo Ridge and its peaks the east are beautiful.

When we were there the peaks and surrounding area had received some light snow (we would find a lot more snow on our hike).  The early morning light and the snow made the peaks even more beautiful and we spent several hours there taking pictures.

from the parking lot

Liberty Bell and Early Winters Spires

the Liberty Bell Group from the overlook

the road below

Liberty Bell is the highest peak on the right

Concord Tower and Lexington Tower are the two shorter peaks next to Liberty Bell

Kangaroo Ridge

the sign at the overlook

up on the ridge

Kangaroo Ridge

back through the trees

 one of the peaks to the west, probably Whistler Mountain

Stellar's Jay

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