Point Everyone thinks the West Coast is a point. George and family have a free weekend between an Alaska cruise and a Canadian Rockies train trip and they asked us to join them for dinner. Sure! Why not! And while we are in the area, we decided to tag a visit to North Cascades National Park to our trip.

Drive-by Visit We fly in Victoria the night before our rendez-vous with the Wayloni. A quick stroll by the harbor, a nice seafood dinner and a beautiful sunset wraps the day. The next day we make a quick stop at the village of Sidney per the recommendation of these folks we chatted with in San Jose while waiting to board the plane. They were heading up to Sidney to spend time on their boat. Incidentally, we run into the husband while having coffee, and he invites us to visit their boat. We do! And have a great few minutes chatting about all things boat.

Quickie We spend less than 24 hours with George, Susan and Lohren: a quick trip to Butchart Gardends, a nice dinner at the hotel and off they go to Alberta, and off we go to North Cascades.

Alps North Cascades are nicknamed America's Alps. They really are. The jagged mountains are dotted with lakes filled with glacier-water… all a beautiful green color. There is a heatwave while we are there, which is much better than crappy Washington weather. We are staying just outside of the eastern border, but close to many of the greater hiking trail.

Climb Climb Climb Our big hike was Maple Pass Loop trail. It is a 8 mile round-trip trail with a 2000' elevation gain (summit at 6983'). The views are spectacular and worth the climb up. But that's not the elevation gain that what kicks our asses. It is the trip down that does! Unfortunately we take a shallower side up, and end up taking the steep section down; and it is as though two different crews built this trail: the super vigilant awesome rangers that built the shallower side, who made sure the trail is flat, has nice curves and switchbacks, etc., and the teenage summer interns who really don't give a poo about the trail: whack enough of the vegetation to call it a trail! The way down is steep, full of roots and rocks, and it really is straight down. Worst. Trail. Ever.

We head back to Seattle a night early so we don't have to worry about hauling ass in the morning to make our flight. We reach out to Sharokh to see if he wants to have dinner with us, and of course his super hospitality takes over. He puts together an amazing quick party at his house. Thanks Sharokh! We have a great time meeting a few of his friends and catching up with him. Oh, and nice house, complete with a plane hanger!

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