Institute staff hiking the Northern Picketts were rewarded with this spectacular view, captured by Calvin Laatsch.

August 2020 Photo Round-Up!

Adventure Crew!

Institute staff logged many miles on trails all around the North Cascades this month, with the dusty boots and sunburned ears to prove it. This group has not wasted the summer’s sunny opportunities to gain elevation, jump in lakes, and feel that breathtaking feeling … you know the one, feeling so small out there on a mountaintop, and at the same time, too big to fit inside your own skin.

Calvin, Bre, Lindsay, and Bernt in the Northern Pickets where they summited Whatcom Peak and Mount Challenger.

Lindsay can be counted on for a smile, even while making the climb toward summit. Photo by Calvin Laatsch
Jodi in her happy place—the Mount Baker Wilderness—for a weekend retreat of journaling at Lake Ann.
Jodi captured a mirror-perfect reflection of Mount Shuksan on the surface of Lake Ann.
How many North Cascades lakes can Mari swim in 1 day? Cutthroat, Lake Ann, Rainy Lake, Ross, Thunder, Diablo, and Gorge makes an impressive 7, and she hiked 15 miles to do it!
Alexa and Mari just saw a bear—where? UP THERE!
A rare summertime snowman spotted atop Easy Pass—which was not easy, reports Mari.
Orawan enjoys another beautiful day hiking at Mount Baker.
Kari and Tre at Locket Lake while hiking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Deven’s dog Lewis proves that sometimes what scares us is the best fun. (Be assured that he did this willingly!)


Youth Leadership Adventures 2020

Youth Leadership Adventures wrapped up their final two sessions of day programs for local high schoolers this month. In addition to at-home activities, students enjoyed kayaking at Marine Park, Larrabee State Park, and down the coastline towards Chuckanut Bay. Along the way they learned about the geology of the Chuckanuts, and the birds, sea stars, and marine mammals of our local waters — all while having thought-provoking conversations about climate change. Way to go, YLA team and students!

Ready for launch from Fairhaven. Photo by Elle Gasperini
Students looking like kayaking pros on Bellingham Bay. Photo by Elle Gasperini
Exploring the shoreline of Bellingham Bay. Photo by Elle Gasperini
Heading back along the coast of Bellingham Bay. Photo by Elle Gasperini
What a beautiful day on the water! Photo by Elle Gasperini


Wildlife Encounters

On mountain tops and trails, Institute staff had amazing encounters with the 4-legged residents of our beloved North Cascades. Surely, eyes got a little wider and hearts thumped a little faster for both the human and more-than-human parties in these encounters!

Please stay safe (and use your zoom lens!) for amazing shots like this one of Cara’s encounter with a mountain goat.
Also spotted on Cara and Calvin’s hike in Cascade Pass area was this sunny-backed black bear.
Mari shared the trail with a black bear as evidenced by this back foot track.
Both Katie and Marmot are alert to each other appreciating the wildflowers at Hart’s Pass.
Chris keeps us updated on who is strolling through campus at the Environmental Learning Center.
Katie snapped an amazing shot of this handsome visitor cruising behind the Learning Center lodges.


Wildflower Wonderland

This time of year, it seems that anywhere you turn in the North Cascades you’re greeted by a carpet of beautiful wildflowers giving the world their best colors. Admired singularly or by the thousands, they might be our favorite part of hiking on summertime trails.

Butterflies and wildflowers double the oooooh’s. Photo by Alexa Brandt
Windy Peak along the trail to Sunny Pass. Photo by Katie Manz
A pretty mountain aster sparkling with morning dew. Photo by Jodi Broughton
Heather at the appropriately named Heather-Maple Pass Loop. Photo by Alexa Brandt
Trailside common paintbrush. Photo by Alexa Brandt
A carpet of color and distant view of Komo Kulshan. Photo by Jodi Broughton


Island Time

Several members of the Institute’s Marketing team had the same idea this month, hopping out to the San Juan Islands for a little rest, recharge, and recreation on the Salish Sea. From secluded beaches and hidden coves, to rare prairies and Garry oak woodlands, the unique ecosystems offered up in the island archipelago make for a rewarding nature-lover’s retreat.

Set your watch to island time—or better yet, leave it at home. Photo by Stephanie Friesen.
A gold-drenched bluff at San Juan Island’s National Historic Park takes Christian’s eye eastward to the North Cascades.
And by shifting his feet south-westward Christian looks across the blue expanse to the Olympic Mountains. What a view!
Jodi kayaks with a friend in calm moments before what would become a serious storm!
The cooling spray of Cascade Falls felt great on an Orcas Island hike. Photo by Stephanie Friesen
Jodi snagged a nice spot for the night on Blind Island, along the Cascade Marine Trail for human-powered watercraft.
Colorful rocks on the shore of Orcas Island at Obstruction Pass. Photo by Stephanie Friesen
A magic moment captured by Christian, kayaking off San Juan Island.
Jodi appreciates the unique peeling bark of a native madrona tree, prolific in the San Juan Islands.
A painted sky brings the day to a beautiful end. Photo by Stephanie Friesen

Thanks for coming along on this photo round-up! As always, we invite you to share your own adventures with us—please reach out to us at and your pics just might appear in our next round up!


  1. Jodi Broughton

    I love seeing people enjoying our amazing corner of the world. Nature is so healing!

  2. Heidi Siegelbaum

    Thank you for sharing these amazing photos and adventures. It reminds us of what’s important, nurturing to the spirit and reinforces our commitment to the essential relationship between people and nature’s cradle.

  3. Daniel Mathews

    Really enjoying the great shots. FYI, the mating butterflies in Alexa’s photo are actually diurnal moths, Gnophaela vermiculata. I saw thousands of them this August on the Napeequa and Buck Creek.

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