Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Live Above

Diablo Lake
 "We never lose our demons, we only learn to live above them"

One of my favorite movie lines and it sure seemed fitting for my adventure around the aptly titled Diablo Lake this past weekend. It's a quote from Doctor Strange by the way; one of many comic book adaptations that I have developed a super geeky passion for (thanks Rich). Speaking of which, excited to see Wonder Woman tonight! If you live in Seattle and you aren't seeing epic movies like this at the Cinerama downtown, then you probably don't know they have the best sound system in the city, epic chocolate popcorn, local beers, anddd you can reserve your seats ahead of time. Get with it!

Diablo Lake is a man-made reservoir created by a dam on the Skagit River. The obvious question most people have when they first see this place in photo or person is 'How is the lake so damn turqouise?' The surrounding glaciers of the Cascades mountain range grind rocks into a fine silt that is carried into the lake through the surrounding waterways. This fine powder stays suspended in the lake, giving it the memorable color that varies slightly throughout the year between deep jade and frostier green hues.

There are a ton of worthy hikes along scenic Highway 20 as you pass through Newhalem, Diablo Lake, and Ross Lake. Newhalem Campground is actually one of my favorite places in the state to camp and I have such great memories from group trips there with friends. It's only a 20 minute drive from Diablo Lake itself, so there is an abundance of stuff to do within a short distance. I've never jumped in the lake to be honest, but I'm nowhere near courageous when it comes to cold bodies of water. Incidentally, I once fell into Baker Lake during Fall while trying to pee off the back of a canoe (I was far from shore and have the smallest bladder around).

Since this time I brought my ten year old pup Macaroni, we opted for a visually rewarding and less physically challenging trail: Thunder Knob. [http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/thunder-knob] I was so proud of the little guy, who has only been on one other actual "hike" in his entire life. He got hit by a car when he was about three and since then he's been real limited in his physical abilities. I didn't start hiking until a few years ago, so by that time he had already developed arthritis from his previous injuries. However, with enough supportive coaxing, sweet potato treats, and constant water breaks, he was able to complete this short but sweet lookout trail.

Awesome "Old man's beard" lichen on these trees

Endless, beautiful views of the surrounding Cascade peaks as you climb up the short 700 ft grade. The lake doesn't make itself visible through the tree coverage until the top, but the surrounding 360 degree views feel almost too good for such little work. Every hue of green and blue on the spectrum is reflected in Diablo.

As always, I have my favorite roadside stops for each highway. On 20, I have to stop by the Cascadian Organic farm stand for fresh, local, organic ice cream. This time it was Raspberry with chocolate chips. Even Macaroni got a kid's scoop for all his hard work! The only bummer of the trip was finding two ticks on him as soon as we got back in the car, despite checking him after we finished the trail. Ticks are literally my least favorite creature on Planet Earth.

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