Raser State Park was our destination for one night after leaving the Olympic Peninsula. A very nice state park in the little town of Concrete, WA with the beautiful Skagit River with in walking distance. The historic town was named when it served as a center for cement production especially for the construction of Ross and Diablo Lake Dams. The cement silos are one of a few structures still standing from that era.
The next morning, we traveled to Fidalgo Bay RV Resort, in Anacortes, WA which would be our anchor point for several day trips. First was a drive on Highway 20, also known as the North Cascades Scenic Highway which is part of the Cascade Loop. The Visitor Center at North Cascades National Park was very informative. A Park Ranger gave a great overview on the climate, animals and glaciers of the large North Cascades National Park. Part of her talk was along a board walk to a spectacular view of a glacier on Mount Terror in the Picket mountain range.
Over 300 glaciers feed the Skagit River. The glacial melt fills the Gorge, Diablo and Ross lakes which are damned to provide hydroelectricity for the city of Seattle. The opaque blue water of the lakes come from glacial “flour” or pulverized rock that travel by the Skagit River to the Salish Sea. North Cascades mountains are also known as the “American Alps”.
Fort Casey Historical State Park and the other two Forts we visited were known as the “Triangle of Fire” defending the entrance to the Puget Sound. Another great place to explore the bunkers and gun batteries. It’s also home to the Admiralty Head Lighthouse.
Saturday we were up early to walk on the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. On the island the first thing we noticed was there were no traffic lights! We grabbed a bite to eat and took a taxi to Snug Harbor. We had reservations with Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching for a 3-hour tour. The decision was made to go with a boat seating only 12 people for a better opportunity at photographing these amazing whales. The crew consisted of Captain Daven, and naturalists Sara and Taylor.
There are two groups of orca killer whales, salmon eating orcas and mammal eating orcas. The salmon eating orcas are endangered and their numbers are declining. They are the southern San Juan Island resident orcas. Boats with their motors running must stay 300 meters away from the salmon eating orcas. Today we got an experience of a lifetime, the captain came to an area, turned off the motor, put a device in the water to listen and sure enough they surfaced 10 feet from the boat. The male was enormous, his dorsal fin was huge! Their dorsal fin can be 6 feet high! We didn’t stay long as to give them their space.
The captain made his way to where there were reports of a humpback whale. And sure enough, about 20 feet away surfaced the humpback whale. There was actually two humpback whales and it was amazing to hear them groan and vocalize!
The last stop was a small island off the coast of Canada where we could photograph some birds and harbor seals.
The crew and this day were a true blessing!
Our final two nights in the state of Washington were spent at Wenatchee River County Park, a beautiful park right on the Wenatchee River. Wenatchee is located on the eastern part of the Cascades and is the “Apple Capital of the World.” The valley is loaded with peaches, pears and apple trees galore! It is a visible change to a more arid terrain from the lush forested mountains.
The small town of Leavenworth was founded in 1906 by Captain Charles Leavenworth. The relocation of the rail line and then the Great Depression delivered a blow to the economy of this small town. In the 1960’s the leaders of this town came up with the Bavarian-themed village and Leavenworth came to life again. Quaint shops, pastries, gingerbread, nutcrackers and fantastic Bavarian fare can’t be missed in this lovely town!
Tomorrow we begin our trek eastward. We will miss the West Coast but have many memories of awesome times and enjoyment of God’s marvelous Creation.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” …John Muir