A few weeks ago we finally made it to a place in the world that has been on my bucket list for quite some time, North Cascades National Park. Thankfully, being based in Portland these days means it was just a quick 5 hour drive to get there! This park really was everything I dreamed it would be, a park seemingly built for adventurous off-the-beaten-path folks like my babes and I. Case and point - not a single one of the campgrounds in the park even has a shower. 

While my level of grunginess at the end of the trip may have preferred at least one shower over the course of the nine day adventure, a lack of amenities also means a lack of the crowds found at most of our nation's National Parks... even during 4th of July week! 

I'll keep my commentary brief, but here are some of my favorite images from a 5 day backpacking trip, a one night trip to a fire lookout tower, and a few nights of car camping. 

The rich blue of mountain waters makes for a magical sight, be it in the blue glimmer of glaciers hugging the rocky mountaintops or the blue of raging mountain streams mid snow melt - like this one we followed for the first few days of our backpacking trip. 

A backpacking trip with my sweet man is never official until I've taken at least one photograph of him pumping water alongside whatever body of water we can find. This one is perhaps my favorite in what could be a long series throughout the years. 

On the fourth of July we arrived along the shores of Lake Chelan, a deep and vast mountain lake stretching fifty miles through the valley, in the little town of Stehekin. The joys of conveniences mid-backpacking trip are some we don't often experience. We were giddy to be able to buy cold beer to celebrate the holiday and find the local garden selling fresh vegetables (which the gardener harvested only when we told him what we wanted) and goat cheese made on site. 


The next day we began our hike up and over a mountain pass and out of the valley. Upon first climbing up above the valley, we had a beautiful look down on the river and the town's historic orchard tucked in one of the few clearings. 

Dwarf Lupine abounds in this mountain environment, blooming a beautiful small purple flower and catching water to form these diamond-esque jewels. 

Our final few days of adventure involved climbing 4,500 feet to reach the peak of Lookout Mountain, and this fire lookout tower on stilts. While we knew the views beyond the mist were a magical ring of rugged snowy peaks, we marveled in the mystery from our cozy spot in the clouds.