A Winter Photo Tour of the Learning Center

It’s hard to describe where I live sometimes, especially in the winter (by which I mean late November through April). Most people I know aren’t familiar with the Diablo Lake area, and even if they are, I have very few visitors in the winter so the place they remember from the summer is almost an entirely different planet by mid January. Here is a tour of the Learning Center in winter—the snow, ice, sun, roofalanches, animals, and people that call this place home.

Benches in the Amphitheatre. Photo by the author.
“The Stage.” Photo by the author.
A roofalanche from the back of the Office. Photo by the author.

Another view of the roofalanche behind the Office. Photo by the author.
During the winter, we store “The Salish Dancer” (our 18-person canoe), some of our tandem canoes, and our rescue boat in the Lily Shelter. Photo by the author.
Plants still grow here underneath snow in the winter, like the evergreen Salal. Photo by the author.
The steps up to the front of Fir Lodge. The sign reads: “Closed – Roofalanche Danger Zone.” Photo by the author.
I guess that sign was a good idea—look how much snow came off that roof! Photo by the author.
As temperatures warmed to 33 degrees, water drips created a trench in this snow pile. Photo by the author.
Looking down the road that goes past my house. Right now it’s basically a solid sheet of ice… Photo by the author.
Looking at the lower level of my porch, buried under about five feet of snow from the many roofalanches we’ve had this winter. Photo by the author.
Snow piled up behind my house. You can see the railing sticking out of the snow in the background—during the winter this entrance to the house is unused. Photo by the author.
Hoarfrost, on the icy surface of a frozen over ditch by Buster Brown Field. It looks like white flowers growing out of the ice! The leaves are all under the top layer of ice. Photo by the author.
Pyramid Peak, from the overlook above Buster Brown Field. Photo by Lindsay Walker
Sunset over Diablo Lake. Photo by Lindsay Walker
Leading photo: Looking out over the Amphitheatre. When it’s not under six inches of snow, wood chips cover this area and we use it as a play-field for kids (and adults, of course). Photo by Ryan Weisberg.

Ryan Weisberg is a graduate student in his third quarter of North Cascades Institute and Western Washington University’s M.Ed. program. He grew up here in Washington, exploring the natural areas around Bellingham and in the Cascades. Ryan is the Chattermarks editor this year during his residency at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center.


  1. Saul

    Great photo essay. What, no photos of moonlight swims?

  2. Brian

    Nice job on the photos, Ryan! Yes, totally different look at the Institute than during the late spring/summer/early fall. If only we could hear the lack of sound on those winter photos. That’s the best part: quiet. And what’s that Saul says…moonlight swims…Diable must be VERY cold at this time of the year!!!

Leave a Comment