Welcome to the North Cascades National Park

Welcome to the North Cascades National Park

If you enjoy “getting away from it all”, the North Cascade Travel Guide is what you’ll be wanting in order  to locate those enjoyable places that most folks know nothing about.

The Pacific Northwest is known for it’s beautiful wilderness and wild areas.  However, there are many, many places that have wonderful recreation sites also.

Green Lake Falls No. Cascades Park

Green Lake Falls North Cascades Park

The North Cascades National Park draws thousands of visitors to it each year.  Why?

Let’s see what there is to do.

North Cascades National Park

Perhaps one of the first things you’ll want to do is to contact one of the Rangers of the park.  She or he, will answer all your questions and even give you more to think about.

You never know what you'll see

You never know what you’ll see…..Elk

Guided tours or guided ‘talks’ with the Ranger will make for an enjoyable trip.  An outdoor ‘education’ of the park, it’s ecosystem, cultural history, geology, and it’s many carnivores living in the wild will be fascinating for all.

While you are there, don’t overlook the “Lady of the Lake” cruises up Lake Chelan (she-lan) on your way to Stehekin.

Within the park you’ll see and hear animals with fur, feathers, and scales that are scattered throughout.   If you keep a sharp eye out, you may be one of the lucky ones to see the gray wolf, fisher or even the wolverine that wanders through the forests.

For the fisherman

For the fisherman

All along the way you’ll be entertained by the antics of the Douglas squirrels and pikas that are in abundance throughout.

Have you ever see a Dragonfly up close?  Here you will and be able to examine them closely.

Hiker’s Guide

It’s been described as a hiker’s smorgasbord for the huge variety of trails, strolls, scenic, steep, or even grueling hikes that are at your fingertips.  All that is needed is for you to choose which one.

We are here.

We are here.  Top of map.  

With some 400 miles of trails, you’ll be pleased no matter which one you choose.  Deep valleys, dense forested areas, switchbacks, steep pases that lead to the higher ridges dot the entire park.

Be on the lookout for the more than 300 glaciers that protrude from the mountains and some 130 alpine lakes in the valleys below you.

Two Million Acres

Some 94 percent of the entire park has been deemed the Stephen Mather Wilderness and is the central core of more than two million acres of Federally Protected Wilderness.

During the hiking season, usually from April – October, you’ll be met with many others on the trails.  But if you are and intrepid hiker, backpacker or semi-mountain climber, keep in mind that the hiking trails are open year round.

For the serious backpacker

For the serious backpacker

A trip planner schedule should be put into use before you begin your adventure though.

Camping – Bicycling – Fishing – Horse Riding

Bicycling is one of the next best ways to travel through the park. It’s a little bit easier and you can see more than just walking.  Either way, you’ll get a scenic tour.

Come join us.

Come join us.

Perhaps you have little ones or older folks with you, then the North Cascades Highway will be just right for you.

Why not get your horse out for a little change of scenery too?  Many of the trails are horse friendly.

Regardless of which areas you choose, the Park has something for everyone.

Have comments about your favorite park?  Be sure and leave them below.

Written by:  Tom McDaniel

Images by:  shannontech,pinterest,seeyosemite,nationalparkcenterreservations,gonorthwest,truenorthathletics,spokesman

What is Anacortes...at night? Beautiful!

What is Anacortes at night? Simply Beautiful!

Anacortes (anna-core-tess) is in the state of Washington.  Located on the north end of Fidalgo Island.  Many ask what is Anacortes?   Some think of it as some type of wild animal.  For instance, a big snake like the Anaconda.

Sorry to disappoint you, but it is not a snake but what it is, is a unique place to live and visit.

The name Anacortes comes from a very early settler to the area named Amos Bowman.

Amos wanted to do something special for his beloved wife, so he named the area Anacortes which comes from his wife’s name of Anna Curtis.  A little “short cut” with her name and up comes Anacortes.

Welcome to Anacortes

Welcome to Anacortes

March Point

My first visit to Anacortes was the March Point area where my family and friends went crabbing.  If you like crab, then you’ve got to check out the fantastic crabbing in the area.

We had a small boat and a couple of crab nets with floats attached to the top so we could find them after tossing the basket nets into the water about 100 feet from the shore.

With a huge fish head wired to the inside of the basket, we waited about 20 or 30 minutes and then went to haul up the net basket.  This had to be done super fast as you can see the basket getting closer to the surface, the crabs literally are jumping out!

The faster you pull, the more you come up with.

What made this crabbing taste so great, is that with a beach campfire, and a large pot of the local salt water, we just cooked them on the spot.  Minutes later, dipping in melted butter, we all had our complete fill of crab.  All 12 of us!


After reading a few of my earlier posts on Seattle, the Seattle Space Needle, the Aquarium, Floating Bridges and Ferry systems, along with the GreenLake Park area, you’ll want to expand your understanding of the state of Washington, Mount Rainier, and the Seattle area to include it’s surroundings.

Directions To Anacortes

From Seattle head north along I-5 till you get to the Mount Vernon area and then head west on West Division Street which will connect you to Hwy. 536 which in turn, connects to I-20 that takes you directly into Anacortes.

On the other hand, if you stay on I-5 northbound a bit further you’ll come to Burlington.  Look for the westbound sign for I-20 which takes you past March Point and right into Anacortes.

“New York of the West”

Similar in nature as La Conner located just south of Anacortes, in the early days, many Indian groups or tribes, dotted the area.

The Samish and Swinomish tribes abounded.

Not having industry to contend with, the entire region was home to some of the largest trees in the U.S.

(Go to “Home” at top of this page and scroll all the way down to the bottom.  You’ll see some of those early trees that grew in the area.)

Old growth Douglas fir absolutely dominated the skyline.

Amos Bowman envisioned a “Western New York” and tried to promote Anacortes as an urban center for all to enjoy.  He failed.

Anacortes Today

Now famous for the Washington State Ferries terminal and docking port, Anacortes serves Lopez Island, Shaw Island and beautiful Orcas Island along with all of the San Juan Islands and up into British Columbia Canada with Victoria and Vancouver Island.

Enjoy a ferry ride for whale watching

Enjoy a ferry ride for whale watching

With ideal surroundings, boaters, fishermen (and women) flock to the area.   Outdoor camping and travel trailers are all welcome.

Enjoy tent or motorhome camping

Enjoy tent or motorhome camping

Being so close to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, whale watching has proven to be a real drawing influence to people from all around the world.

A Scenic Hike

Some 50 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails wind there way throughout the region.  Even for those adventurous souls that  enjoy rock climbing, you’ll be pleased at the many challenges that Anacortes offers you.

Mount Erie is also a challenge if you enjoy hiking.  It’s 1273 foot peak will give you a view that you’ll not soon forget.

Hiking scenery

Hiking scenery you’ll enjoy in Anacortes

On the other hand, if you are not into walking or rock climbing, then don’t forget the long-distance cyclists.  It is sponsored by Adventure Cycling Association “Northern Tier” that will get you started near Anacortes and end in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Don't forget about Anacortes shopping!

Don’t forget about Anacortes shopping!

Fun Stuff

Shipwreck Day , Anacortes Arts Festival, and Oyster Run are events that will bear looking into for young and old alike, and don’t forget to see the “Pirates” of Seattle!

Oyster Run downtown

Oyster Run downtown Anacortes…Come join the Fun!

Why not come in and join us?

Anacortes would welcome your visit. Share this site.

Written by: Tom McDaniel

Leave your comments below…I love to hear from folks!

Images by:anacortes,visitanjuans,activerain,shipharborinn

Rainbow Bridge at La Conner Washington

Rainbow Bridge at La Conner Washington

La Conner Washington (a.k.a. LaConner) really has the best of both worlds going for it.  You have the friendly folks in the town areas, plus the outdoor recreation of the Pacific Northwest.  Especially the fishing  (smelt), hiking and crabbing throughout the year.

Located just north of Seattle and it’s famous waterfront and floating bridges, La Conner too, has a very rich history.

My first experience with La Conner was with some close friends.  We went smelt  dipping and then later on, crabbing.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve done smelt dipping in the Cowlitz river on many, many occasions.  But to dip (with a net) smelt in La Conner was just a bit different.

No river with smelt running near by.  That was a real challenge.  However, the most enjoyable part about La Conner was the crabbing in the sound about 10 miles north near Anacortes.  That was a real treat.

Skagit     (pronounced as : ska-jit)

The influence of the Hudson’s Bay Company was always present in the Pacific Northwest for many years.  In 1824,  John Work traveled through the area and came across a number of Indian  tribes (a.k.a. Native Americans).

Being ignorant of the fact that there were at least, eleven separate tribal groups, he lumped them all together and called them Skagit Indians from the word Scaadchet.

The local villages of Swinomish (later renamed La Conner) was one of the very first permanent settlements of the mainland located north of Seattle.  With a whopping population of 28 people, it had become a “city” in it’s own rights.

The Swinomish Trading Post

Michael Sullivan along with good friend Sam Calhoun began an aggressive  diking program to allow the current marshy flats nearby to become usable agricultural lands.

Then in about 1867, Alonzo Lowe created the Swinomish Trading Post located on the western side of the Swinomish Channel.  His venture was short lived though.  Not being able to make a profit, he closed up the trading post after some fourteen months.

Moving the trading post to the opposite side (eastern) of the channel proved to be an excellent decision by it’s new owner Thomas Hayes.  Recognized also as a Post Office, it naturally drew people in from the surrounding areas.

What’s In A Name?

In 1969, John Conner and wife Louisa Ann, chose to purchase the flourishing trading post/post office from Hayes.   The Conner’s added a General Store in addition to the trading post/post office.  It was quickly becoming the central point of the community.

With so much going for the Conner family, John chose to rename the post office and subsequently, the town also.

Using the initials of his wife’s name (Louisa Ann) LA along with his last name, the township of              La Conner (also LaConner) came into existence.

Steamboat Hamlet

With the sale of the Trading post, Conner now focused his attention on building the township.  He did so by promoting it as a steamboat hamlet and a center for transportation, commerce, fishing, government and agriculture.

La Conner became the main port between Seattle and Bellingham.

With more diking and draining of wetlands and river deltas, gathering more usable land was becoming more and more of a challenge.  Diking was done by hand.  Using shovels and wheelbarrows, the locals brought the dike to a height of between 3 to 7 feet.

This gave them much needed space.  Some 25,000 acres of usable space now gave way to the hay, grain and huge truck farming industry.

A relaxing meal on the water

A relaxing meal at the waters edge

La Conner Today

Locals were disappointed in the early 1900’s that the much anticipated railroad line would come through La Conner was put to rest when it by passed the city.  Yet the population continued to grow.

Though La Conner was pretty much destined to remain a “steamboat community”, locals did all they could to promote tourist attractions.

Then in the late 1930’s artists and book writers took note of the beautiful surroundings and peaceful, friendly folks living in La Conner.

Tulip fields near La Conner

Tulip fields near La Conner

Many of these professionals began to migrate to the La Conner area.

Fish Town,  which eventually resulted into the La Conner Museum of N.W. Art, came about as a direct result of talented individuals proclaiming the La Conner area as one of the best to be experienced.

Since most of the town of La Conner still has it’s original buildings intact, you’ll enjoy your surroundings as you walk through it’s streets.  It almost like a walk back through time.

Why not come and pay us a visit?  We’ll be glad to have you.

Comments?  Be sure and leave them below & share this site.

Written by:  Tom McDaniel

Images by:markhittheroad,lovelaconner,visitskagitvalley