North Cascades Wild Recon trip

Kevin on Ross LakeThe NC Wild crew headed to Ross Lake early last week for a five day recon trip.  The goals for the week were to transport food and gear to the Ross Lake Resort, scout out the camps, build up our canoeing muscles, use our camping gear, learn the curriculum, and have fun!  On all accounts the trip was a success.

Canoes full of NC Wild gearThe NC Wild crew with our amazing helpers transporting food and equipment from the Learning Center to Ross Lake Resort for storage.

Perhaps I should start with some logistics.  The learning center is located on Diablo Lake, Ross Lake Resort is on Ross Lake, a dam blocks the passage between these two bodies of water.  To get to Ross Lake from the learning center we paddled up Diablo Lake to the dam, shuttled over the dam, and then paddled to Ross Lake.  But let’s take it one step at a time.
The first order of business early Monday morning was to load the canoes.  As we piled gear and food buckets on the dock a feeling of doubt and concern hung over us.  Would everything fit into our six canoes?  Everyone’s canoe packing skills were put to the test.  Roughly half of the food for three, twelve day trips were loaded in buckets, plus tents, stoves, fuel, the “canoe library”, and all sorts of miscellaneous gear filled the canoes.  In the end six weighted, well loaded canoes made their way out of the log boom, bound for Ross Lake.
When we reached the dock, at the end of Diablo Lake, Will from the Ross Lake Resort met us.  We loaded all of our gear into the truck, shuttled it over the dam, and back down to the lake only to repack it into the canoes!  A short paddle later and we were at the resort.  Over the summer we will store food, all of our canoeing equipment and gear at the Ross Lake Resort.  We are so lucky to have such an amazing resource on the lake! A naturalists dream.

Sailing down Ross LakeEmily and I as the entire NC Wild crew sailed from Big Beaver to Lightning Camp.

Once the work of dropping off food and gear was completed it was time for canoeing, camping, sailing (!), exploring, and learning the ways of NC Wild.  Every day we learned something new, experienced tumultuous weather patterns and had fun!  And let’s not forget the wildlife.  We saw an Osprey with a fish in it’s talons, a female Merganser with nine chicks, five Turkey vultures hovering over a picked clean ribcage, a handful of bald eagles, and fell asleep to a chorus of tree frogs.

Kevin and Tasha sailingKevin and Tasha sailing.
Devils Gulch
Katie and Kevin exploring Devil’s Gulch.

One particularly noteworthy day was Thursday.  We had a few special visitors from the North Cascades National Park, Mike Brondi and Ashley Rawhouser.  This season NC Wild participants will have an opportunity to conduct Red Sided Shiner research.  Ashley Rawhouser, an Aquatic Ecologist with the North Cascades National Park, met us at Rainbow Point and taught us how to collect scientific data, including dissolved oxygen levels, water temperature, water clarity and fish counts.  Additionally Mike Brondi met with us to talk about service projects we will perform over the season. The projects include: trail maintenance and repair, riparian restoration, planting, seed collection, erosion control along the lake shore, and pulling Reed canary grass.

Amy and Ashley
Amy listening to Ashley Rawhouser talk about native and non-native fish, the overall health of Ross Lake and environmental concerns for the lake.

The Recon marks the beginning of an exciting season for North Cascades Wild.  The combination of service projects; lessons on wilderness, stewardship, leadership, community, and place; and simply the experience of canoeing and paddling for twelve days are the core of NC Wild.  Our aim is to connect underserved youth with wild places, fostering the development of a stewardship ethic, build awareness and support of wilderness and public lands and inspire the students.
Our season truly begins June 29th, the first day of session one.  This Recon served to usher in the new season, full of new possibilities to share this amazing place and inspire participants to become stewards of the land.

Canoeing on the SkagitThe NC Wild Crew paddling out of Devils Gulch.
Photos courtesy of Jenny Lee


  1. Kate Bedient

    This gives me chills. Such great memories with NC Wild! Have a wonderful and eventful summer! Keep your eyes peeled for that porca and the killer loon…

  2. Kelly

    I love the canoe-sailing. 🙂

  3. Megan

    Wow, Ross looks beautiful, can’t wait to get out there this summer.

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