A week in Glacier Peak Wilderness
Though outside of the Northwest they seem to lack cachet (I posit horrible weather and few trails), I would probably get in a bar fight with someone to defend the North Cascades as the grandest mountainscape in the conterminous US. Their relief and verdure and the sheer spectacle of crumbling glacial ice to electric blue rivers streaked with blood red salmonids. Their great area. The stunning uniqueness of volcanic cones and igneous intrusions piled upon each other in a geology that produces the steepest USGS quad in the country. But also the palpable electricity of knowing somewhere amidst this mountain fastness there is the complete apex predatory complement, grizzlies and wolves clinging on at the edge of population viability but undeniably there.
Last week, in a rare confluence of all members of my immediate family, and on the verge of my brother’s departure to college, we took seven days to savor a classic west-side circuit in Glacier Peak Wilderness, replete with multiple side trips. My fourth trip to the range, and the first familial backpacking trip since I was in high school. May there be many more of both.