Today, we are going to start with our first ever Top 10 List, the best parks to visit during summer travel. My goal is to make these posts as fun and informative as possible. Starting today, with number 10 – we’ll count down in our blog to the number one national park in the lower 48 to visit during summer travel.
Please keep in mind, I define summer as the period of days starting on June 21st and ending on September 21st. Before we start, one thing I’d like to make clear is that I have not visited all the national parks – so for the sake of this list I am only including the parks I have visited during the summer. Also, I am unable to access some of my computer files right now so I will update each park on this list with a picture sometime in the near future. I hope that makes sense! Without further a due…
10. North Cascades National Park, Washington http://www.nps.gov/noca/index.htm
pros: small crowds/solitude, pleasant temperatures, world-class scenery & adventure
cons: inconsistent weather, poorly maintained roads, unusually dangerous terrain, limited amenities and services
date(s) visited: August 2007
I have only had the privilege to visit this park one time and it was at the end of August a few years ago. I was there to do a charity climb for the non-profit group Big City Mountaineers. I spent about 4 days there and the weather was extremely erratic. The first day and half it was beautiful – sunny skies, highs in the 80′s…let me give you a picture. Snow capped mountains, dramatic vistas, glacial fed lakes, incredible waterfalls, lush greenery, endless beauty. The night after our climb of Mount Shuksan, I was awakened to the sound of snow cascading off a 1000 foot cliff. It was amazing.
Then it started to rain. And it rained, and rained, and rained. It actually never stopped. And it rained hard. It wasn’t a drizzle that you can go out and walk about in. I actually had to leave early because I just couldn’t anything it was raining so hard.
Despite all the spectacular scenery, the one thing that left the most lasting impact during my visit was the lack of crowds. I visited the main visitor at 4pm on a Saturday and it was practically dead. I couldn’t believe it. What a surprise!
One other thing that really got my attention was the topography of the land. It is extremely rugged and dangerous. You really can’t hike off trail. It is just too overgrown with thicket hiding unexpected drop offs. The rocks around the water here are extremely slippery. Just writing this conjures up so many incredible memories of this place. Because its been a few years and I have only visited it once, I think this park would move up the list before it moved off. It is certainly that special.