North Cascades Institute

IMG_3250This weekend we took a little excursion to attend a lecture at the North Cascades Institute. The lecture was really just an excuse to make the trip – the highlight of the trip was the landscape of the north Cascades. They call it the alps of the northwest – and the peaks really do look alpine: snowy, rugged, steep … very impressive.

IMG_3247The institute is located at the end of the Skagit valley on the shores of Ross Lake. The lake is artificial and was created to produce hydro-power for Seattle City light. It’s an old dam with art deco style decorative touches that are quite attractive.

The location of the institute and the views are spectacular – the lake and the peaks that rise steeply from the shores make for an incredible backdrop. It’s hard to adequately describe it – it’s definitely worth a visit.

IMG_3267The theme of the lecture was natural bee-keeping. The program included a delicious dinner and overnight stay in one of the institute’s guest houses. The chef made the most of the bee-keeping theme, featuring local honey in every single dish. A highlight was Sourwood Honey – twice awarded the distinction of best honey in the world.

IMG_3295In the morning we went on a short hike up to a waterfall. As is typical for a temperate rain forest, it was foggy and drizzling. There wasn’t much of  a view, but walking through the lushly green stands of tall trees was a treat.

Driving back through the Skagit Valley we stopped at Rockport State Park. It’s one of the few remaining stands of old growth Douglas firs that have never been logged. The trees are incredibly tall and majestic – this is what most of the northwest looked like not that long ago.

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