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Journeys Through America is a nonprofit organization providing educational material for all school-aged children across the country. The program will form partnerships with local school districts to provide children with a new, interactive, educational experience integrating the history of America and its National Parks. Journeys Through America's goal is to foster a fun and adventurous learning environment that will promote altruistic growth within our children and our greater community.

North Cascades National Park

By Aug 19th 2010 No Comments »

North Cascades National Park is comprised of over 680,000 acres and also includes two recreational areas – it gets its name from the innumerable amount of waterfalls strewn throughout the region coming from the more than 300 glaciers in the park.  The vast number of glaciers in the area all but exceeds the amount found in Alaska…an extremely impressive feat for a national park in the continental U.S.

The park itself is divided into two sections by the North Cascades Highway, a scenic roadway considered one of the best in the area by many.  To the North lie Ross Lake National Recreation Area and a beautiful bright blue lake by the same namesake that provides impeccably clean water and recreational activities year round.   Also to the North you will find peaks like Mt. Despair, Mt. Fury and Mt. Terror – all earned their names through the woes of early travelers and backcountry explorers.  The Southern unit is comprised of even more sheer mountainous terrain, valleys, rivers and waterfalls, as well as Lake Chelan National Recreation Area – at 1,486 feet, it is the nation’s third deepest lake.

Together the three units (Lake Chelan, Ross Lake and North Cascades N.P.) make up a world of jagged mountain tops and deep slopes scoured by glaciers years ago. Today snow-capped peaks from afar turn into massive snow fields hundreds of feet thick once trailside.  The diverse and very unique landscape is something that is visually stunning and without a doubt, memorable.

Because the park is (unfortunately) not extremely accessible via car and with the limited time that we had, we decided to conquer the Cascade Pass trail: a 7.4 mile round-trip hike that takes you through countless switchbacks until the views open up to Boston Peak and its glacial equivalent.  A somewhat steep trail but the views are simply amazing, and in every way worth it. To get to the trailhead you must take Cascade River Road – a partially paved road that’s narrow at times & slow moving.  It is the only way to reach this trail and is only one of two roads that enter the park (in addition to the main highway).

While our time at Cascade was short I felt that because of the inaccessibility, we would have been unable to explore the park much more via car, and it all would have to be on foot.  As I am not opposed to hiking and thoroughly do enjoy the visual rewards, we were unfortunately on a tight time constraint.  In order to really explore and get to know the park on a more personal level, I think it would take years worth of weekend hikes and exploration before actually making a connection with the land (on that more personal level).  That is, however, not a bad thing at all – it only means there’s too much to explore and too many sights to see…and having too much is certainly never a bad thing.

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