North Cascades

I have a photography friend named Andrew Ling who I met back in 2008. We did a project in Patagonia together and have been long time friends ever since. We recently sourced him a very nice second hand Land Rover Defender 90. He's always wanted one every since he drove mine at last years Guy Fawkes event.

He took delivery of it a couple of weeks ago and I flew out to show him how to operate the car, maintain it and show its capabilities. I don't think either of us knew where the weekend would take us, but we just decided to take it for a drive with no real plans on where we would end up.

We decided to head north and took interstate 5 out of Seattle up past Everett. I brought my passport with me, but I wasn't planning on going to Canada. Andrew took a right and headed East on 530. We figured the North Cascades Mountains would be a nice place to explore for the weekend.

North Cascades National Park is a national park in Washington. Its made up of 500,000 acres of wilderness consisting of conifer-clad mountains, glaciers and lakes.

We would turn off the twisty back roads and find inlets to drive along the river banks. The weather was terrible but also very fitting for the North Cascades. Fog covered the valleys and a grey sky lasted the entire day. The air was so thick you could breathe in the atmosphere. While wet outside, we never felt so comfortable driving around an old Defender. The sense of security in this machine made us feel like we could drive on forever.

Some trails we found off a inlet that passed by a dirt covered road.

We only passed by a few cars the entire day. Maybe 5 at best. The silence was very enjoyable but eerie also. We came across an boat slip by the rivers edge. There was a single boat floating out by itself on a dock with no home attached. Again, a little eerie.

As we headed deeper and deeper into the park, the clouds got darker and darker. Mid-day turned into night and we figured we might need to find a place to stay, camp or do the 3 hours drive back to Seattle. As we drove up and down the windy road that laces the park, we found a dam that was all lit up at night. We drove down to check it out and we stumbled upon Diablo Dam and the lake it holds back.

Being from New York, this drive across Diablo Dam is fully legal. There was a road with signage to keep to 10mph on the dam. Driving across the dam at this hour felt like something out of a James Bond movie. Andrew and I were a little worried what we would see on the other side.

After a very long drive through the North Cascades National Park, we finally felt like time was against us and we needed to head back south to Seattle. The Land Rover Defender was running great, we still had half a tank of diesel and we knew we had the energy ourselves to take the 3 hour trip back.

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