Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Over the Pass

I love living in Washington for the variety of climates.  We have everything from rain forest to desert to seashore to alpine.  We can drive to snow any day of the year, or sail around the San Juan Islands, or hike in a forest.  Living on the wet (coastal) side of the state, one thing I really appreciate is the dramatic change we get just from driving over the pass to the dry side.

I took these photos literally moments apart - maybe half an hour.  The first peak is near Diablo Lake, on the wet side, and already has a dusting of new snow.  Notice the cloudy sky.

Thirty (or so) minutes later we were at the pass, looking east at this mountain (if I'm reading the map correctly, part of Kangaroo Ridge - huh???) and the blue sky :D

This particular mountain pass is only open seasonally as it's quite high (compared to others) and doesn't connect any biggish cities (like Seattle or Spokane).  You may have heard that Washington gets a lot of snow.  A LOT.

As we headed east, early in October, the road was perfectly clear and the hillsides - while evergreen - were showing beautiful fall color.  Notice the colored poles by the side of the road?  That's so when it snows the plow drivers know where the edge of the road is.  But they don't plow this road all winter.  The pass closes, usually from late November until May.  Too dangerous for the road crews, not to mention the average driver (avalanches).

While we were in Winthrop we had a day of heavy rain, and when we came back across the pass, things looked a little different!  The road was still clear, but the snow was not far above it.

Quite a difference, yah?

When I snapped some pictures on the way east I wasn't thinking of doing comparisons, and now I wish I had taken more.

These photos aren't quite the same, but they're looking the same way and the second is zoomed in more.  There was NO snow on that peak earlier in the week!  But I love the way the dark trees and the white snow interact with the colors in the rock.

This peak is officially named Early Winters (probably because winter comes early at that elevation) but is often referred to as Liberty Bell, and the highway curves around to the right of it.

And that would be called an avalanche chute.

Looking up from the highway...

I love how the clefts in the rock almost line up.

I'm not a fan of driving in the snow and was really glad to see the beauty of it... above the highway :D


Monica said...

Wow! This is terrific! I hope to make it out that way some day!

Tori Leslie said...

Absolutely beautiful! One day we're gonna make it up there. One day!