Alaska - Western Canada Journey

Day 2


We made the first detours of the trip. First, we visited the visitor centers at Mount St. Helens National Park. It turned out that there are several visitor centers, with the closest one to the freeway a state visitor center. Despite warnings about poor weather impeding visibility, we decided to try our luck and drove to the park. We drove past the Forest Learning Center, and had to turn back due to the cloud shielding just about everything from view.

We then drove on north, skipping Seattle and went straight to the North Cascades National Park. We took a short hike on the Thunder Creek trail and attended a ranger talk. We camped overnight here under the rain.


This was our first exposure to continuous rain from the afternoon through the night. It was an opportunity for me to debug how our camping arrangements cope with rainy condition, which revealed several issues. Fortunately, the rain, while constant was rather light and made the night bearable. Preparing food under the rain was not too much fun.


Mount St. Helens National Monument

Our visit was short and not ideal for scenic views, but still got a few pictures. Below are some good web publications to learn more about the place.

North Cascades National Park

We visited this park now since it's conveniently located along our route north. This park is somewhat out of the way that unless we made a real effort to return, this would be the best time to pay a visit even though it would cut over a day from our journey to Alaska. We camped overnight at the Colonial Campground right on the lakeshore. This campground was spacious and clean, with good views of the Diablo Lake and surrounding mountains. It's now high on our list of desirable campgrounds. Two great trails begins here - Thunder Creek and Thunder Knob. We took a short hike on the Thunder Creek Trail before darkness set in. With the rainy condition, we did not get much of a chance to take photographs on that day, but this picture depicts how we camped here and elsewhere.


We stayed on Interstate 5, and park roads - Highways 504 to Mount St. Helens National Monument, and SR 20 to North Cascades National Park. All roads were good.


Mostly wet :(