Sourdough Mountain breaking through the clouds above a snowy Environmental Learning Center.

February 2019 Photo Round-Up!

Surely as the cometh of Winter, I know there are Spring violets under the snow.”

– R.H. Newell

After a calm and mild start to the new year, Old Man Winter clapped back with a vengeance last month! A series Winter storms slammed into the Pacific Northwest this February delivering 18 inches of new snow to the shores of Diablo Lake and burying the Environmental Learning Center in a deep blanket of powder-full whiteness. Cold temperatures dominated for several weeks after the storms and the snow and ice has lingered on the trails and buildings around campus into the early part of March.

Yet, as sure as Winter did finally arrive in the North Cascades, the signs of Spring are already abundant. As I write, snow-melting rays of warmth are breaking through the clouds and the roofs and tall trees are raining drops of recent snowfall back to earth. On the ground below, leaves of Salal and Oregon Grape are breaking out of their icy tombs and Salmonberry buds are beginning to break. But the most telling sign of impending Spring is the sound of youthful, excited voices bouncing through every corner of campus. This week 5th graders from Seattle, Darrington and Bellingham joined us for the start of Mountain School‘s 2019 Spring Season!

After a frigid few weeks, we are all looking forward to some warmer weather and Spring flowers. But before we put our winter coats away just yet, take some time to enjoy some pictures from our frosty February!

Graduate students were busy as usual in February finishing up their Curriculum Design class, and training for Mountain School. However that didn’t stop many of them from getting out to play in all the fresh snow.

Graduate Student Adam Brayton with frost in his beard! Photo by Matt Ferrell
Graduate Student Chris Williams (left) and Chef Miles Fiegi (right) gazing on a frozen Thunder Arm. Photo by Adam Brayton
Mountain School Instructor Addie Irvin (left) with Graduate Students Adam Brayton (throwing snowball) and Nicola Follis (right) near Baker Lake. Photo by Dianna Green
Graduate Students snowshoeing at Baker Lake. Selfie by Dianna Green
Graduate Student Matt Ferrell with Professor Hadnot sharing a “nature-made boat”. Photo by Carson Yach
Graduate Student Matt Ferrell skiing through Buster Brown Field. Photo by Adam Brayton
C18 celebrating the snow! Photo by Joshua Porter

Of course, at Mount Baker Ski Area, playing in the snow is kind of the point. With 130 inches in February this year, there was a lot of it to go around. Mount Baker Snow School kept right on chuggin’ with local students of all ages getting some experiential education on the joys and importance of Winter.

Kindergarteners sledding at Mt. Baker during Snow School.
Snow School School Instructor Jane Davenport enjoying some sunshine on Mt. Baker.
Powder turns on Mt. Baker

The Winter weather also decided to provide some unexpected landscaping at the Confluence Property in Marblemount when a tree came crashing down, narrowly missing the Blue House! We’re glad everyone is safe!

Tree Fall at the Confluence Property. Photo by Carson Yach.

In other fun news, Youth Leadership Recruitment Coordinator Sarah Parker attended the Huxley Internship Fair at Western Washington University, where she ran into several North Cascades Institute graduate alumni representing local environmental organizations. Its great to see former students continuing to do good work!

Former Graduate Students (left to right): Amy Brown (c5), Zachary Lundgren (c15), Kay Gallagher (c16), Annah Young (c15), and Nick Engelfried (c16)

On the phenology front, the fresh snow made wildlife tracking particularly interesting. Graduate student Nicola Follis was able to identify Mountain Lion tracks on the Sourdough Creek Trail this month, an exciting, if not a little frightening, reminder of the wildness right out our back door!

Mountain Lion Tracks in the snow. Photo by Nicola Follis
Mountain Lion print. Photo by Nicola Follis

While the Winter weather created travel headaches and power outages for many across our region, the transformation of our natural world into a full-blown Winter Wonderland was truly a sight to be behold. Frozen waterfalls, sparkling forests and towering peaks cloaked in white made it clear that even the dead of Winter is a special time to be in the North Cascades!

Photo by Dianna Green.
Frozen waterfall on SR 20. Photo by Matt Ferrell.
Frozen Waterfall on the Dam Road. Photo by Matt Ferrell
Frozen Skagit River near Newhalem. Photo by Matt Ferrell
Welcome to a snowy Environmental Learning Center! Photo by Matt Ferrell
Photo by Matt Ferrell
Campus during a snowstorm. Photo by Dianna Green.
Snowman and Quinzee built for February Base Camp.
Photo by Matt Ferrell
Another amazing Diablo Sunset. Photo by Dianna Green.
Fresh ski tracks on Mt. Baker. Photo by Carson Yach.
Snowy Marblemount forest. Photo by Carson Yach
Diving Pintail Duck and Drayton Harbor. Photo by Jodi Broughton.
Confluence Property in Marblemount. Photo by Carson Yach
Snowy parking lot in the shadow of Pyramid Peak. Photo by Matt Ferrell.
Photo by Carson Yach.

Thanks to everyone who submitted photos for this month’s round-up. It was great to see everyone getting out and enjoying the snow. Keep up the great work and play! As always, be sure to check out our Flickr page.

Thanks for viewing, and stay tuned for our March round-up coming next month! If you have any great pictures you’d like to see in an upcoming photo round-up, please email them to me! 

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