Driving east from where I live you can be in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range in under a half hour. Keep going and you’re high in the rugged Cascade Mountains. Continue over the passes and you leave the mountains behind for the dry, shrub-steppe country of eastern Washington.
The road I’m talking about is Route 20, also called the North Cascades Highway. Each winter it closes near the highest point because of avalanche danger, and it doesn’t reopen until May, or even June. You can’t follow the the road all the way over the passes now, but it’s still worthwhile to drive east on Route 20 as far as possible for some mountain scenery. That’s what we decided to do on a bright, sunny day in February.
You can read about traversing the wild Picket Range here.
On the first morning of a long weekend road trip last week, we veered off Highway 20 to follow a local road that connects forgotten small towns dotted along the loopy Skagit River. It was serendipity because almost instantly, we stumbled on a classic car show in the small town of Lyman, population 438 in 2010. Mostly local people – men and a few women – were lining up their rides in neat diagonal rows along tiny South Main street, bordered by weather-beaten wooden buildings and framed by picturesque views of the North Cascade mountains.
As we headed east, cottony fragments of cloud hung onto the mountain foothills:
As we drove into Lyman my eyes kept flitting back and forth between classic cars and equally classic buildings.
Oh, that stylish ’57 gray T’bird convertible with the cream interior! There was plenty to drool over and covet in Lyman, but we had more places to go, and things to see…
An hour down the road in Newhalem, old growth cedars reminded me how small I am…
An overlook at majestic Gorge Lake had its own classical beauty:
I used various vintage-style processing tools on most of these photos. In the coming days I’ll post more from the North Cascades and beyond.