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Thread: google maps & russian girls show the way (North Cascades, Deception Pass, & Mt. Baker)

  1. #1

    google maps & russian girls show the way (North Cascades, Deception Pass, & Mt. Baker)

    as this was two weeks ago, my memory of this day is a bit weak now. But I figured I may as well write something up anyway

    I started planning the night before.. I was thinking about heading back up to Mt. Baker for some photos and road enjoyment, but decided I'd tackle the North Cascades Hwy instead. I'd only driven it once before.. back in 2003 with my brother in his '84 GTI. Back then I'd only had my first digital camera for a few months and really didn't know what I was doing.


    So I figured it was time that I correct this.. head over the pass again and try taking some better photos. The first wild plan I had was to take the highway over to eastern Washington and then head north in Canada before heading back westbound. It sounded great until I mapped it out and realized it would take 12 hours (at the least) and be over 600 miles.


    I decided that a route over and back might be more realistic, and would allow me to take scenery photos looking both directions (since the sun would be low and in front of me on the way over, and higher but more behind me on the way back).


    This was more like 500 miles, and around 9 hours of driving instead (much more realistic ).

    I left as soon as possible after I got off from work on Monday morning 6:30am. A short time (and 41mpg ) later I got off onto SR-9 in the Arlington area. Why take I-5 when you can take a backroad instead? There was very little traffic and fog hovered over nearly every field and area of water. With the low sun (and a warm day in store) it was a pretty morning.

    from SR-530


    from SR-9




    Instead of taking the crowded SR-20 (which is the "North Cascades Highway") through the Sedro-Woolley area, and which is north of the Skagit River, I took the "Skagit Highway", which is south of the river. It's another 2 lane road that's maybe a bit more twisty and not as well taken care of.. but with almost no other cars. The speed limit is similar, but you may not see more than a few cars for the whole 25 mile stretch into Concrete. I loved it.

    Once into Concrete you're forced to get onto the main highway, which is still mostly 2 lanes but has a lot more traffic. My biggest complaint about this highway is that it seems to be filled with RV's. On a twisty 2 lane mountain highway with very few passing areas and American drivers in their minivans, suv's, (and cars, for that matter) who can't drive worth shit, it's tough to really enjoy these roads, even at 8:30 in the morning. But there are still moments of pure joy when you get to enjoy an empty piece of twisty northwest pavement along with some of the best scenery in the country.

    Seattle City Light has a couple "company towns" once you get into the mountains a bit. They run three dams on the Skagit River, and two towns house employees who help to run those dams. The second of those towns is Diablo.. it has maybe 30 houses and a great view. A single lane bridge is what gets you into the town.



    Diablo itself.


    Diablo from above





    My dad actually grew up for a while in Diablo. His dad worked for the city of Seattle. He used to have to ride a bus for hours just to get to high school. So this gives me a little bit of interest in the town. I'd love to find someone who lives there sometime just to talk to them, but I haven't had any luck yet.

    Farther up SR-20 there's a sign for some sort of interpretive center. To get there you actually have to drive across Diablo Dam. It's skinny.. I doubt cars could squeeze by each other unless they're 70s Japanese econoboxes. There are signs all over telling you not to stop, but there was no traffic so I couldn't resist taking a few photos.

    Diablo Dam





    One of the views that almost everyone who has driven this road is familiar with is of Ross Lake from above. This is the lake that is created by the Diablo Dam. Here is the view of said lake from across that dam. (You can see the dam in the background).


    and the more familiar view of Ross Lake from above, via SR-20







    Once you cross over the pass the terrain changes pretty quickly. You can immediately tell that you're on the eastern side of the mountains. Everything is more dry and brown'ish colored.




    There are actually two passes on this part of the highway. The first is Rainy Pass. The second is Washington Pass, which you can see from this view:


    Rainy Pass


    Liberty Bell Mountain









    And I have a bit of a story. I met a Russian girl at the Ross Lake overlook who was carrying a Nikon dSLR. She ended up asking me to take a photo of her and her mother overlooking the lake. It turns out she had a d300s (essentially the same as my camera) and it was brand new to her (she asked for a camera and someone got her this... geezzz). She had a couple of settings wrong, so I helped her out with those . We talked for a bit, and then she mentioned that they were planning on going to the "Rainy Lake Trail" and then head back to see Deception Pass. I hadn't heard of the first, and had never seen the second (so sue me). She described the Rainy Lake Trail as a rather short paved trail that takes you into the hills where you can see mountains surrounding an alpine lake and gave me basic directions on how to find it. We headed out and I continued east toward the other side of the pass.

    When I reached the Mazama area on the eastern side I decided to turn around and head toward that trail and then to Deception Pass, rather than continuing through Winthrop and then coming back on that loop shown in the map above. I turned around and headed back up the pass toward the Rainy Lake trailhead.

    waterfall along the Rainy Lake trail



    The sun was in the wrong spot for these shots, but I did my best.

    Rainy Lake:





    This is Gorge Dam... the middle of the three Seattle City Light Dams. It's an easy view from SR-20, but this is the first time I've been able to shoot it when the sun wasn't looking down the barrel of my lens, like so:

    from 2003:


    this trip, in the morning, on the way over:


    So on the way back the sun was higher and more behind me.. allowing me to get a slightly better photo:






    I can continued on from there.. again forgoing the idea of taking SR-530 back toward I-5 and continued westbound, again using Skagit Hwy toward Deception Pass.

    Deception Pass is the most visited state park in Washington. I really can't say why.. but it's definitely busy, and definitely rather pretty.


    The park surrounds the pass, with two bridges going over it (see below). There are also several beaches, trails, etc.













    and some decent views of the Olympics..







    two days later I turned around and went back up to Mt. Baker. I'll just post photos for this part..

    couple photos from the Mt. Baker cruise last month:


    very well known photo location called "picture lake".. I believe. Almost every northwest scenery calendar has a shot from here.



    and from this trip:


    Highway 542 (the "Mt. Baker Highway") is pretty good in its own right. Again, I left pretty early in the morning, so I was heading up the mountain around 9am with almost no other traffic. This allowed me to enjoy the road and still stop for some photos. I ended up catching sight of a black bear crossing the road while I was taking photos.. my first ever bear sighting. Sadly, I wasn't able to get a photo











    One thing I learned is that you can actually see two mountains from the top of the highway.. Mt. Baker & Mt. Shuksan. Mt. Shuksan is only 1000 or so feet lower than Mt. Baker, and you can actually see it much more easily at times from the western side of the state. I had no idea. So.. Mt. Baker:





    Mt. Shuksan:
    [img]http://www.fakelag.net/gallery/d/87250-2/DSC_4228.jpg/img]











    North Cascades photos: http://www.fakelag.net/gallery/v/pnw...orth-cascades/
    Deception Pass photos: http://www.fakelag.net/gallery/v/pnw...eception-pass/
    Mt. Baker photos: http://www.fakelag.net/gallery/v/pnw/mt/baker/
    Last edited by joel; 2010.09.06 at 06:24 AM.
    tell all of your local car enthusiast friends where the best place is to meet other local enthusiasts!
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  2. #2
    Regular Member ENRGZR will become famous soon enough
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    Looks like an awesome trip.

  3. #3
    everyone probably knows me by now Jazzydub has a spectacular aura about Jazzydub has a spectacular aura about Jazzydub's Avatar
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    Deception Pass is made of win. Haven't been up there since the purchase of a camera. I really need to go back. I've always wanted to make the cascade loop but have yet to do. Great photos as usual.

  4. #4
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    twardnw is just really nice twardnw is just really nice twardnw is just really nice twardnw is just really nice twardnw's Avatar
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    where's the Russian girls?
    -Tyler-

  5. #5
    A Somebody Mr.Nobody is a jewel in the rough Mr.Nobody is a jewel in the rough Mr.Nobody is a jewel in the rough Mr.Nobody's Avatar
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    Quote: Originally Posted by twardnw View Post
    where's the Russian girls?
    x2

  6. #6
    been around the block a few times unimogken has a spectacular aura about unimogken has a spectacular aura about unimogken's Avatar
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    Yeah what the heck?

  7. #7
    No pics of Russian girls... wish I'd gotten this girl's number though. Let me get back from Baker & I'll write something up for the trip
    tell all of your local car enthusiast friends where the best place is to meet other local enthusiasts!
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  8. #8
                (⌐■_■)
    twardnw is just really nice twardnw is just really nice twardnw is just really nice twardnw is just really nice twardnw's Avatar
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    weak
    -Tyler-

  9. #9
    been around the block a few times unimogken has a spectacular aura about unimogken has a spectacular aura about unimogken's Avatar
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    I did a google image search for "russian girls with volkswagens" and this came up........ trying to save the thread since its in the title!

  10. #10
    tell all of your local car enthusiast friends where the best place is to meet other local enthusiasts!
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  11. #11
    Normal Member Steve is on a distinguished road Steve's Avatar
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    Great shots, those pano's are AMAZING! thumbs way up.

  12. #12
    since you're all a bunch of haters.. maybe I won't post any story
    tell all of your local car enthusiast friends where the best place is to meet other local enthusiasts!
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  13. #13
    Junior Member Traffic Jam Zombie is on a distinguished road Traffic Jam Zombie's Avatar
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    Great pictures Joel. I've been to all of these spots throughout the years though the weather is never as stellar as it was in your pics! Was this a single day trip or over a couple days?

  14. #14
    Junior Member Traffic Jam Zombie is on a distinguished road Traffic Jam Zombie's Avatar
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    Oh...and "in" for pics of the Russian girls

  15. #15
    make car go faster guy Rabbit 16v is a jewel in the rough Rabbit 16v is a jewel in the rough Rabbit 16v is a jewel in the rough Rabbit 16v's Avatar
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    google maps & russian girls show the way (North Cascades & Deception Post)

  16. #16
    make car go faster guy Rabbit 16v is a jewel in the rough Rabbit 16v is a jewel in the rough Rabbit 16v is a jewel in the rough Rabbit 16v's Avatar
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    Nice pics though I wish I had that kind of time...

  17. #17
    Quote: Originally Posted by Traffic Jam Zombie View Post
    Great pictures Joel. I've been to all of these spots throughout the years though the weather is never as stellar as it was in your pics! Was this a single day trip or over a couple days?
    one day.. left around 7am and was over the pass by about 10am after some stops. I turned around at Mazama and drove back over again.. hiked a little, stopped at a couple other places, and then went on to Deception Pass by around 4pm, I think. I hiked a little around there and then made it down to Bellevue for the GTG a little after 7. It was a long day.. but very worth it
    tell all of your local car enthusiast friends where the best place is to meet other local enthusiasts!
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  18. #18
    updated the original post
    tell all of your local car enthusiast friends where the best place is to meet other local enthusiasts!
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