Summer 2018 may very well go down as one of the best summers in history – for me, I mean. The weather has been gorgeous, I’m seeing my friends frequently, family has been visiting, and we’ve been keeping busy with outings and day trips (also one of my dearest friends had a baby and my sunflowers are blooming and I started this blog, but I digress).
A lone traveler offered to take our photo, yay!
A big goal for this year was to drive to North Cascades National Park so we could finally cross the third park in Washington off our list (Mt. Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park being the other two). It’s about three and a half hours away by car, which isn’t terrible for a day trip, so I’m surprised that I’d never been before!
Morgan is excellent at road trip poses
It’s an easy drive, mostly freeway hopping, and there are a few tiny towns you have to pass through on your way to the west entrance. One of them is Darrington, which is where we stopped to have lunch at a place called Varsity Pizza & Pasta. The service was just a pinch slow because Morgan’s pizza got messed up, but we weren’t in a hurry and the food was extremely good. I had myself a meatball grinder, and it ended up being a cheesy, tomato-y heaven.
We stopped at one lookout/short hike en route to the lake
Our specific destination was Diablo Lake. It’s fairly close to the park’s western entrance, and it provided an absolutely magnificent view. Diablo Lake is unreal! We approached the guardrail and the scene unfolded before us. I stared in awe for two minutes straight before speaking or taking out my phone for a photo. I wanted to drink it all in, submerge myself in the view that was unlike anything I’d seen before.
Panorama courtesy of my Pixel 2xl, although it still pales in comparison to reality
I have to stop here to say – and forgive me for the bragging – that I’ve experienced some fantastic views; the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland and Glacier National Park in Montana being particularly notable.
Diablo Lake brought me to tears. Well, eyes-are-quivering-and-wet-but-not-quite-overflowing tears.
Such a haven, and so close to home! For the past eight years I’ve been focused on traveling far and wide in search of beautiful, deeply moving places and experiences, and this – this! – is truly in my backyard. I am humbled by my naive overlooking of the local wonders.
Quite possibly my favorite shot from the day
Believe me when I say that I couldn’t capture the green of the lake. I tried. Hoh man did I ever try. Eventually though I gave up and resumed my silent and peaceful admiration of the park. Far below we spied a lone kayaker, bright orange vessel cleaving through the water, and immediately made plans to come back and do some kayaking for ourselves. The view from below is surely as spectacular as it is from above.
On the drive home we stopped at this adorable roadside cafe so I could get an ice cream cone. The building looked like it came from a fairytale, and it was nestled at the base of a hill with its own small, but gorgeous!, flower garden. I bought myself a waffle cone with one scoop of vanilla and one scoop of raspberry. It was delicious.
Ice cream & flowers in front of the Cascadian Farm roadside cafe in Rockport
What’s in your backyard?
x – happy beast