Through the Northern Cascades

Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
Trip End Sep 2008

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Where I stayed
Osoyoos State Park

Flag of United States  , Washington
Monday, September 1, 2008

After breakfast (with fresh local blackberries and raspberries!) Gary and Diane took me for a brief tour of the area. They're in the country with lots of local farmers who sell their products (produce, cheese, etc.) directly from their farms. Food just doesn't get any better or any fresher than that. Even with an influx of "foreigners" (retirees who are attracted to the area) the local residents accept the newcomers and have retained their values of community with neighbors helping neighbors. The area is a mixture of farming community and, since it's right on the coast, a seaside community.

There are numerous islands in the area (on the US side, the San Juan Islands) and since Gary is a boater he's able to tell me about many of them. There's even a point of land (Point Roberts) that I'd never heard of that is only accessible through Canada if you enter by land. The Tasawwassen Peninsula juts south from Canada and the very tip goes south of the US/Canada border which follows the 49th parallel. It is, therefore, US territory. And about 1,300 people live there. If you access the point by boat you never leave the US. If you access it by land you have to go through all the Canadian border checkpoints and then back through US border checkpoints to get to the tip of the peninsula. And then reverse the process to return to mainland US. I can't imagine how complex it must be to deliver services to this tiny spit of land -- utilities, postal service, emergency medical aid, law enforcement, etc. etc.

After my brief tour and education I say goodbye to Gary and Diane and leave with presents: a chunk of Ferndale Gouda cheese and a copy of Diane's book. I find a Starbucks and am able to upload all the blog entries I had been saving locally on my laptop. I'm farther into my day than I wanted to be. I had planned to cover more miles than I'll be able to complete in what's left of my day.

I head south to Highway 20. This is a wonderful road that crosses the Northern Cascades, going through heavily forested, mountainous terrain. The mountains are steep-sided with jagged tops, attesting to their comparative youth (in geological terms). They haven't been worn down much yet and water from unseen glaciers and snow-pack tumbles down rivers and waterfalls into lakes that have that teal color characteristic of glacial melt. I keep moving to try to get as far as I can before nightfall.

Signs along the route ward of a heavy wildlife presence and they show current annual and year-to-date numbers for wildlife killed by vehicles. I do NOT want an encounter on the motorcycle as there's a good chance the animal wouldn't be the only one killed or injured so I try to strike a happy medium between making good time and traveling at a speed that will allow me a fighting chance of stopping in time if a deer jumps out in front of me. I do see lots of deer and a doe, followed by two fawns, cross the road right in front of me.

Nowhere near my hoped for destination, I start looking for a camping spot and find a campground in the Osoyoos State Park on Lake Osoyoos. I pick a spot across from a couple of Harley riders who are setting up their tent they wave and, after I have my tent set up I wander over and we talk. They're Canadian heading into the US for vacation and we discuss each other's intended routes and destinations.
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