Hiking in North Cascades National Park
“The wilderness is a place of rest-not in the sense of being motionless, for the lure, after all, is to move, to round the next bend. The rest comes in the isolation from distractions, in the slowing of the daily centrifugal forces that keep us off balance. ” -David Douglas
North Cascades National Park is one of my favorite National Parks in the country. On that same note, hiking in North Cascades National Park is one of my favorite things to do in the park, as it’s easy to do and doesn’t require too much planning compared to backpacking or climbing.
Located just about two and a half hours away from Seattle, it’s not exactly a day trip, but it can be an excellent weekend getaway. I took on Cascade Pass recently with a friend, a reasonable high alpine hike that’s very popular for weekend warriors. We missed the crowds since we started rather early, and we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
This quote was on the trail map handout that we picked up at the Visitor’s Center, and I found myself reflecting on it while climbing the never-ending (but easily doable) switchbacks. Isolation from distraction. How true. I head to the mountains to clear my head and to better listen to my heart. In wilderness I realize just how small I am, and I remember just how magnificent this world truly is. Everyday we get bombarded with news of bloodshed, war, financial turmoil, and global climate distress. When I’m in wilderness all of this goes away, and it’s just me, the mountains and my steady breathing in and out. I just focus on my breath and taking in all of the beauty that’s around me. Everything goes still, but yet everything is moving continually.
Almost equally as satisfying as the actual hike is the drive leaving the park. I have the music loud and the windows down, I’m snacking and drinking something delicious, my endorphins are high from my activity, and I’m feeling much more centered than when I came into the Park. Chances are, as I drive away, I’m already planning my next adventure in the wilderness.
Photo by Joslin Fritz