4th of July exploration weekend

July 7, 2010

F and I decided to just drive around for the remarkably-uncluttered holiday weekend. We headed north to the North Cascades Highway (20), which we’d never taken before. It’s typically closed for several months a year during the winter, so we decided to check it out. Plus, since it was supposed to be rainy and gross here in Seattle, and typically most points eastward are sunnier than they are in the Puget Sound, we figured it would be a bonus to boost our vitamin D at the same time! We did a rough loop all around the state, and 910 miles later, arrived home feeling as if we’d had a “real” vacation!

Here are some of the reasons we love Washington State:

Ladder Creek Falls, in Newhalem

Ladder Creek Falls

A cool tree along the nearby River Loop Trail – see the face?

Stunningly beautiful (and windy!) Diablo Lake:

The aforementioned wind makes the trees at the top of the overlook grow like this:

Washington Pass, and extraordinary views from 5,477 feet:

The cute Old-West-style town of Winthrop:

…with cowboy art…

…and murals, many of which just cracked us up, like this one:

Somewhere between Omak and Grand Coulee:

The Grand Coulee Dam, where they even had a little 4th of July festival:

From the highway, along Banks Lake–there were a bunch of folks out fishing and rock-climbing here:

800 foot-tall Steamboat Rock (also in Banks Lake):

Dry Falls, which would have been 10 times the size of Niagara Falls:

From the Lewis and Clark Highway near the Columbia River Gorge – check out Mt. Hood back there!

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