PNW Summer Adventure: Camping, Wedding & Anniversary in the North Cascades

The moment our laundry was done it was packed up again for another weekend adventure. Towels were crammed into our beach bag, tents folded, cooler stocked…we were off for an anniversary/wedding/camping weekend in the North Cascades!

Our first stop was a visit at my parents in Ferndale. We played croquet, ate tons of food, explored the garden, visited with visiting grandparents and cousins, prepped camping meals and had some good down time. And I made pie crust. Sour cream super easy and amazingly delicious pie crust!

Early Friday morning we jumped in the car (only an hour later than planned…) and drove out Hwy 20 to North Cascades National Park. It was a glorious day for a drive! Our goal was a campsite at the Colonial Creek Campground. After one loop around the campground we began to get nervous…there were hardly any empty sites left! We managed snag a private site with HUGE trees…not exactly riverfront but still pretty nice. Our mini looked tiny next to those trees!

After setting up camp and filling water bottles we packed our for our first hike: Diablo Lake. 7.5 miles from the Diablo Dam all the way up to Ross Lake’s dam. Beautiful hike, saw only 4 other people. Perfect! We were hot and dusty from our hike, and with no showers at the sites what were we to do? Swim in the lake of course! Yes, we were a little nuts to jump in the FRIDGID glacial waters (hey, the color looks like the Caribbean!) but it felt so good!


Dinner was epic. Homemade buffalo kabobs with mushrooms, peppers and onions. Completed with corn on the cob, cucumber salad and champagne we have been saving from our wedding. With plastic camping wine glasses we toasted to two years of marriage!


The next morning we made pancakes and geared up for another hike, this time on the Thunder Creek trail. We trekked two miles along a beautiful river, crossed a bridge, and then made our way back to camp…to grab swimsuits and chacos! With our water –adventuring attire we ventured back down the path until we found a side trail to take us to the water. We waded across the wide, sparkling (ahem, FREEZING!!!) river to a beautiful rock sandbar. We splashed and swam and bodysurfed rapids until we could not feel our legs. It was SO COLD! But the sunshine was warm and we dried off quickly. Swimming in glacial rivers really makes you feel alive!


Refreshed and clean, we put on wedding clothes and drove over to the North Cascades Learning Center for my good friend and old apartment-mate’s wedding! Too much wine, a canoe-full of beer, lots of food, many friends I had not seen in ages, and topped off with karaoke…it was a fun night.

The next morning, not so fun. Poor Matt was cursed with a camping hangover. While he recovered I broke camp and loaded up the car for our drive back to Seattle. A quick stop at Costco for groceries, some gelato and a hot dog to share (great hangover food) filled every last space in the car. We managed to pull into the ferry line just as one was starting to load. Great timing!

As always, it felt so good to be home. We cleaned and unpacked. Watered the garden and visited with the kitties. And to celebrate our actual 2 year anniversary, we had leftover kabobs in the back yard. Matt gave me an antique sapphire necklace from the antique store on Vashon. 

Two years. It has been great. What a glorious end to an epic PNW summer weekend.



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