Don't be a meadow stomper!
Which trail is the real trail, the left or right one? It's the one on the left. It's the more heavily impacted trail and clearly connects with the main trail. The other trail is blocked by rocks and looks like plants have been crushed. When the trails get muddy, hikers often step on fragile heather meadows surrounding trails to avoid muddy boots. The result - fragile wooden stems of the heather plants are crushed and die in the short growing season and two trails are formed. Help us protect this fragile ecosystem by staying on the main trail and getting your boots a little muddy! [Photo description: A trail winds through a meadow with mountains peaks in the background.] #hike #climb #noca #meadows #hitthetrail #lnt
Rainbow Falls: The falls is a marvel. A steep mountain creek of churning white water full to overflowing with a winter’s worth of snowmelt. It cascades, each bubble or piece of froth distinct, tumbling without hurry, surging, pulled over the cliff’s edge and into empty space by the same rule of gravity that wants to keep feet, paws and claws firmly against the ground.
While water floats into cedar-scented space it divides into drops – thousands - and divides again and again - millions and millions of drops. Every drop makes a sound against the air, a tiny flutter, a little wing beat with all the wing sounds making the sound of a shimmering wind. Dropping for hundreds of feet, each fluttering wing descends into a pool at the base of the falls, punching the pool’s surface with a sound against the water that touches the ear like a pebble falling to the floor, uncountable pebbles becoming a roll of thunder that doesn’t stop.
What is happening to these trees?! Is it disease? A beetle? A prune-happy arborist? The answer is none of the above! Often found perched high atop rocky peaks, flag trees--also called banner trees--can clue park visitors in to which way the wind usually blows.
Much the same as how water in the form of rivers and glaciers have shaped the landscape of the North Cascades, the winds blowing up the Skagit River Valley can shape the plant life found in the park. These trees located on the Diablo Lake Overlook are constantly exposed to a fierce wind blowing in from the west. That wind kills off branches on the windward side of the tree, leaving branches in the leeward side free to thrive as these trees cling on to the rocky cliff above Diablo Lake. This process gives the trees the appearance of flags or banners flapping in the breeze. No matter how the wind blows at the overlook throughout the years, these trees find a way.
Where else in the park have you seen evidence of wind affecting life? [Image description: Five trees with branches growing on the right side of each tree. Asphalt path in the foreground, a tree-covered mountain in the background.] NPS/A. Killion photo
Here at the North Cascades, we care about our ecosystem--and sometimes, taking care of it necessitates a little adventure.
Here, a member of the Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT) rappels down a cliff to treat scotch broom with herbicide. This plant threatens the biodiversity of the ecosystem by taking over native vegetation and altering the habitat available to wildlife.
But you don't need technical rope skills to help prevent the spread of non-native species! Visitors can help by ensuring that gear and equipment are free of plant material before using in a new environment. [Image description: A man wearing a helmet and gloves rappels down a cliff above a grassy field.] NPS/M. Berkey photo
Attention hikers and backpackers: If headed to the park to hike some trails, keep an eye out.
Missing person: Casey Zippro was last seen on June 16 around 2 pm in the area of Colonial Creek Campground.
Casey was last seen wearing a light green jacket, denim jeans, white/black ball cap, and a light gray sleeveless “UnderArmour” brand shirt.
If you have information that could help locate this missing
person, or if you were in the area of Thunder Creek/Colonial
Creek Campground on June 16-17, 2018, please contact us:
CALL or TEXT the ISB Tip Line 888-653-0009.
"To be a climber, one has to accept that gratification is rarely immediate." Bernadette McDonald
The same lesson learned by alpine climbers persistently pushing towards the summit is also relevant to those of us who prefer to hike to the subalpine on a trail: all our patience waiting for the snow to melt will be rewarded with clear switchbacks to colorful meadows and sweeping views. Soon.
In the meantime, please be aware that most hikes above 4-5,000 feet still are covered in snow and will require mountaineering gear and route-finding skills for quite a while. If you're hoping to hike a trail, it's a good idea to check in with a ranger for current conditions. This page of the park website contains phone numbers and hours of visitor and information centers: https://www.nps.gov/noca/planyourvisit/hours.htm
Remember: our patience will be rewarded. Soon.
#FindYourPark #NPWest #Hurryupandmeltalready #noactuallysnowpackisagoodthing #stillimpatient
[Image Description: A lone figure hikes up a snowfield towards a jagged peak.] NPS/Bender photo
One of the most accessible waterfalls along State Route 20 is Ketchum Falls. This 161-foot tall waterfall is located near mile post 124 and is often missed by passing motorists. Tucked in a cleft alongside the road, you may only get a glimpse of it as you cruise by at 45 miles per hour. To enjoy this waterfall it is best to come early in the season, as it will be a trickle by the end of July. Simply park your car at the first highway pullout east of mile post 124 and walk back along the shoulder of the road to get an up close and personal view of Ketchum Falls.
Where did Ketchum Falls get its name? It was named by members of the pioneering Davis Family after Seneca Ketchum, the newspaper editor in Sedro-Woolley from 1898 to 1901 sent a photographer into the Cascades to capture pictures of the scenery. Have any of you caught glimpses of Ketchum Falls as you drove along the highway? [Image description: Water tumbles down a series of cascades.] 📷: A. Killion
As the summer progresses and visitation increases, we are seeing more and more evidence of vandalization and intentional littering throughout the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, with an increase in Stehekin and along State Route 20 and Newhalem.
A more recent phenomenon appearing in National Park Service sites are painted rocks used for a social media scavenger hunt. These rocks are usually painted with a solid color, or a design, and display some sort of artist or organization tag which can correspond to a hashtag. While this activity can be fun and beneficial while getting people outdoors, exploring and spreading kindness, the paint, glitter, or mod podge used to cover these rocks may melt or wear off in the hot sun, causing damage to the natural soils, delicate environment, and any wildlife and insects that may ingest or come in contact with it. Visitors who have come to enjoy and experience the landscape as it is naturally may also find these rocks visually intrusive.
Leaving these rocks in National Parks, or on any federal public lands, is considered littering and a form of vandalization, is disrespectful, and is illegal. If you see others engaging in these acts, please report this activity to the nearest park ranger or visitor or information center.
The information on this post pertains specifically to National Park sites, as the mission of the NPS is to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources of each park for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. We do this by observing Leave No Trace principles (https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles). Be sure to always check the rules and regulations for state, city, and other parks, as well as private land and business owners before choosing to participate in this activity, as they may differ from those for National Park Service sites.
Thank you to all of the visitors who do visit with respect. Let us all leave no trace, educate others about proper stewardship of public lands, and enjoy these wonderful landscapes as they are. Keep exploring, keep creating, keep spreading joy, and let us all be respectful of each other and the world in which we live.