Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mountains and mountains all around

When Sunit and I were planning the summer vacation and chose Seattle over Yellowstone, I was a bit disappointed. I was afraid that the place would not have as much scenic beauty as Yellowstone. But once we reached Seattle, and travelled to the mountains, I never wanted to leave the place and totally fell in love with it.

The North Cascades Range Upclose

On our third day, we drove from Randle to Seattle. We were to meet up with our friends (Vijay and Pragya) who were our hosts and planners for the rest of the trip. When VJ said we would be spending the day driving along North Cascades Scenic Highway (Route 20) I was thrilled. I had read about this scenic drive but had thought that because of a packed trip we would not be able to do it. So off we went to mountains.

The Diablo Lake

As we drove along, the sheer beauty and grandeur of the mountain range amazed me. Unlike Rainier and Helens which were lone mountains, this was a complete range of mountain after mountain. We were surrounded by these very steep mountains, beautiful lakes, numerous waterfalls (since the snow was just beginning to melt) and deep valleys. We drove (actually VJ drove) on and on, as we just looked around. We made occassional stops to look around, rest, hike a bit, but mostly to breathe in the scenery.

Another view of the mountains

We finally decided to turn back after we knew that it would take us the better part of rest of the day to drive back. We stopped at Diablo lake overlook and the Gorge Creek Waterfall. We took one of the short hikes with VJ telling us stories about bears and scaring us. And finally we drove out of the National Park with a final look at the mountains.

The jagged peaks

I am sure Yellowstone National Park is good ( it is still on my list of places to visit) but I was beginning to like the decision of travelling to Seattle and the surrounding National Parks instead.

Gorge Creek Falls


Mridula said...

The Diablo Lake picture looks so inviting. Since you enjoy the mountains so much have you been to the Himalayas? And thanks for telling about your camera. Even I use a point and shoot digital (Nikon Coolpix 3200) but I am slowly thinking to buy something more fancy. Particularly with more powerful zoom.

travel plaza said...

Wow! Pooja. After reading your blog and seeing the pics you posted, Seattle is definitely on my must visit list! Thanks for the preview:)

Pooja Aggarwal said...

I agree, Mridula. Diablo Lake does look very inviting. Actually it is a glacial lake and was pretty full when we saw it.

I haven't been to the Himalayas. But every time I read one of your posts I want to go there. The thing is I am in US presently and mostly we travel to India during the winter when it co-incides with the Xmas break here. And then the Himalayas are pretty snowed in. But someday I hope to do it.

Pooja Aggarwal said...

Thanks for visiting, Travel Plaza.

sathish said...

am just blown over by the Diablo Lake foto.. its pretty awesome..
what camera do you use??

Pooja Aggarwal said...

I like that picture too.

I use a simple point and shoot Canon S45 - its 4 years old so might not be on the market anymore. 4 mega pixels and pretty compact - serves the purpose.

Thanks for visiting.

Maverick said...

the pics r more than tempting, with all these places around i imagine u must be feeling like u r driving in dreams.u surely have added one more place to my to-visit list.

Alka said...

Pooja, is it possible to extract at least one of the spot and put it in my living room. :-) After all this place has so many beauties, one missing won't pose any harm to anyone? :-)

Anil P said...

Lovely landscapes. What kind of birdlife inhabit those ranges? Any idea?

Pooja Aggarwal said...

Now thats a thought. I have thought on similar lines, though unlike you, I have always dreamed of moving my living room close to these places. That way I can enjoy more than one of these places of beauty.

We didn't come across much birdlife - it was too cold. But on one of the other ranges in the area, we did spot some mountain turkey, blue fowl, some gulls etc. Among wildlife, we saw deer and there were signs that there are bears around too. These places are actually known for their wildflowers - many kinds of orchids, lilies and other wildflowers can be spotted here.