Opening the Passes

Another sure sign that winter has given up its grasp on our area is the spring opening of two of my favorite passes across the Cascades. The great crews for WSDOT (Washington Department of Transportation) start working on clearing Washington Pass in the North Cascades and Cayuse/Chinook Passes in Mount Rainier National Park. I always try to make both openings as a personal note that winter is over. But I never mistake it for no more snow in the mountains as that happens year round. But both passes are scenic beauty with the snow and mountains.

With the opening of Cayuse and Washington passes this week, I took my annual trek over Cayuse. Heading up there was a mix of clouds and blue sky. Mist at the pass welcomed me this day.

Misty drive to Cayuse Pass

Due to schedules I was not able this year to the opening of Washington Pass and the annual arrival of Tootsie’s cinnamon rolls and joining the line of vehicles following her through the gate. Thankfully WSDOT posted some pictures of Tootsie and Granny Winthrop celebrating the opening:

Tootsie and Granny Winthrop (WSDOT Photo)

Now I am waiting for the opening of Chinook Pass which will finally say winter is over.

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Chinook Pass


Moon over Rainier at Chinook Pass Sunrise

It is getting to the time in the north when the sun rises earlier in the morning. I look forward to early dawns because it provides opportunities to get out before work for photography. One of my favorite spots is a short 45 minute drive up to Chinook Pass. The pass is over 5400 feet above sea level and the views of Mount Rainier to the west are perfect for dawn photography. The area includes upper and lower Tipsoo Lake, trailhead for loops around Naches Peak, entrance to the Crystal Mountain area, and a straight up climb of Yakima Peak.

Lower Tipsoo Lake

Many mornings I run into other photographers who share the joy of such as beautiful spot. A favorite spot is just off the highway at Upper Tipsoo Lake.

Mount Rainier from Upper Tipsoo Lake

Sometimes you have to take a chance as it may be clear when you leave home but covered in clouds by the time you arrive.

Upper Tipsoo Lake

On those mornings when it is clear, Upper Tipsoo Lake provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the Creator’s artistic work of welcoming a new day.

Rainier Reflection

Upper Tipsoo Lake

I so enjoy living close to this place. It is a treat to experience before heading off to the office.

Dawn Comes to Chinook Pass

Mount Rainier

Oh, it’s not that bad a spot for sunsets or catching the stars at night. But that is for another day.