This my friends is Lake Diablo. Yes, it is actually that color. The lake is in the North Cascades National Park. We took the Cascade Loop drive which is about 400 miles long. Ironically it starts and ends in our little town of Monroe. More or less. OK, we don't actually live in the town of Monroe. We don't actually live in any town at all. More like between two towns that we alternate claiming residency in depending on the mood. Back to the lake. The lake is created by a damn along the Skagit River. That fantastical coloring is caused by the fine glacier silt that floats in the water. It is full of brown and rainbow trout that don't seem to mind all that silty sediment floating around. I have not fished in it nor have a swum in it. It's a freaking glacier! Did I mention I'm from Arizona?
There is so much to see on this drive that it is actually overwhelming. I have taken this trip several times and all it does is make me realize that I will never see everything there is to see here. For instance, Ross Lake. This lake is huge. It is a 1600 feet elevation, 22 miles long and 488 feet deep. Diablo is a small tip at the southern end of it. Ross Lake runs right up to the Canadian border where it mysteriously disappears from the map. Now I don't know if the lake actually disappears or if Canada just refuses to acknowledge it for some unknown reason. Perhaps an unforgiven slight from the heady glacier days. Either way, the thing is huge, Canadian love or not.
The mountain range is stunningly beautiful. Traveling through you are dazzled by cascades and waterfalls that seem to spill out of nowhere and everywhere. The roads curve and wind leaving every next bend something yet to be discovered. The eye is never bored and the spirit is constantly uplifted. You can't help but find yourself in awe as your eye follows the mountain peaks up into the sky. To see those rugged unforgiving ridges of the earth cutting into the clouds is enough to remind you of just where you fit in the whole scheme of things. And just when you're feeling pretty darn small and powerless you remember that it was we who pushed a highway through these mountains. It was the small fragile humans that actually tamed a glacier and mastered a mountain range. I am at one moment marveling at the awesome power of the planet and feeling utterly insignificant and powerless. In the next I realize just how brilliant, creative and profoundly determined we humans are. To face such an overwhelming opponent and not cower but instead rise to the occasion and achieve success. Incredible.
I should be reminded of this whenever I feel defeated or disheartened. These men blasted through a mountain and tamed a glacier. Surely anything can be accomplished. Heck, we might even fly to the moon one day.