“You haven’t lived ’til you’ve been to Harts Pass,” my friend told me. I got there and set up camp in the rain, thinking I’d been had. That night I stayed in the Meadows CG, a desolate place, surrounded by too many dead trees to count, the remains of a fire 10+ years ago. Occasionally the wind wailed through the little basin, sounding like ghosts of the burnt forest.
The next morning I left my tent to dry in the sun and went to the top of Slate Peak. So it’s true. The North Cascades just about smack you in the face, and the view spreads out in every direction. It’s unbelievable. To the west, Snowfield Peak, Mount Baker, and Jack Mountain come into view; one of these in the heart of glacier land, another hinting that Ross Lake isn’t all that far, and the final peak, more than 50 miles away, sits on the far side of the national park. To the east are dryer but no less rugged mountains.
I hiked a bit of the Pacific Crest Trail, scrambled a ridge, ate in sunny meadows while drinking creek water, saw a baby ptarmigan with its mother, and spent four nights and days exploring a beautiful place.