And here, from the National Park Week website, is some interesting information:
_________________________________Did you know…that with 401 parks coast-to-coast, every American is less than 100 miles from a national park experience?
We are fortunate in Washington State to have no less three National Parks, three National Recreation Areas, two National Historical Parks, and one National Historical Reserve.
Our closest park is North Cascades National Park, founded in 1968.
MID-AUGUST AT SOURDOUGH
Down valley a smoke haze
Three days heat, after five days rain
Pitch glows on the fir-cones
Across rocks and meadows
Swarms of new flies.
I cannot remember things I once read
A few friends, but they are in cities.
Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup
Looking down for miles
Through high still air.
He appears in this recent video--briefly--and actually reads from the poem--but only a fragment. That's like exhibiting a random square-foot fragment of a Van Gogh or a Picasso. But, be that as it may, it was good to make the connection between him and North Cascades.
So I'm thinking it would be nice to head up to the park to help celebrate National Park Week, but we'll have to see whether the road will be open by then. Highway 20, the northern leg of the North Cascades Highway, and our best route, is closed every winter. Many years it isn't open again until sometime in May.
It's those pesky avalanche areas.
Here's what the DOT says about it:
We cannot physically keep the North Cascades Highway open all winter. The North Cascades Highway has avalanche chutes that are more than 2,000 feet long. Even if a couple inches of snow slides, the chutes can dump a 20-foot deep avalanche on the highway in a matter of minutes. (The avalanche chutes on Stevens and Snoqualmie are all well under 1,000 feet long.) Couple that with the fact that the highway has among the most avalanche chutes of any mountain pass highway in the country and there's no way anyone could provide a safe highway, short of putting the route in a tunnel (which would eliminate all of its appeal, even if someone had that much money).
But the good news is that every spring a crew from the west and a crew from the east start out to break through the snow and open the road. They use Kodiak snowblowers, D-6 Caterpillars, Arctic Cats, road graders, and scoop loaders. This year they started on March 25.
This map shows progress through week 2. This is week 3, though, and the very latest report, from yesterday, puts the west crew past the Swamp Creek Mile Post, and the east crew past Whistler Mountain Mile Post. That's only 5 miles apart! But it also says that a predicted snowfall today could slow them down.
You can follow the progress here. And root them on. They just might break through in time for the big celebration.