Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ross Lake

I got back to Seattle from Europe and a few days later headed up to Ross Lake in the North Cascades, off Highway 20. I spent a lovely few days with my friends K and A and their extended family. There are a couple of ways to reach this remote resort, and the way I opted for involves parking at a trailhead and hiking down about a mile to the lake's edge. From there you use a service phone to call the resort across the way so they can send a boat to pick you up. The resort is at the south end of the lake, a row of floating cabins and docks.
The first couple nights, instead of staying at the resort, K, A, and I got a boat ride up-lake to a campsite. The Ross Lake National Recreation Area borders the North Cascades National Park, and there are many designated campsites right on the water, along with trails around the lake and trailheads for the surrounding mountains.

It's from this area that you reach the Desolation Peak trailhead, to get to the fire lookout where Jack Kerouac stayed in the summer of 1956 and inspired his book Desolation Angels. There are many other amazing though less famous hikes, but we opted for staying close to the lake for now, doing a little trail running, light hiking, swimming, and mostly just hanging out. Because we could transport things by boat (thanks to K's sweet father!) we didn't have to pack light. The second day, as we hiked in to our next campsite and K's dad dropped off the gear, two other boats with K's sister and friends showed up on our campsite dock. It was an instant dock party in the middle of this wild lake. Surreal!
On the third day we hiked the 5 miles back to the resort and stayed my last night in a cabin. There were lots of family and friends there so we could be social or enjoy quiet time. We read, swam, sunbathed, cooked, sipped adult beverages, fished, danced, and played games. Oh, and ate a lot of really good food. Thanks to their family for including me on this long-standing family vacation!

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