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The view east, after crossing Washington Pass.

WE LEFT THE COOL, CLOUDY WEST SIDE OF THE CASCADES BEHIND at the end of July and were greeted with warmth and mostly clear skies as we drove across the North Cascades Highway. We spent our first night below Washington Pass at Lone Fir (USFS) campground along Early Winters Creek.

A very unusual pink sunset made for striking silhouttes overhead.

Next morning we took two hikes, a three mile from the campground and another three mile one farther east off of Hwy 20 to Cedar Creek Falls. The second hike was too close to noon and hot, hot, hot. The saving grace was the ability to refresh ourselves in a pool above the falls.

After our hike to Cedar Falls we headed toward Bridgeport State Park on the Columbia River; nice park but full up in the middle of summer. Same story at Alta Lake so we headed for our friend’s place on Lake Chelan a day early. HOT! 98° at 5:00 p.m. Automatic dive-in-the-lake temperature!

We saw fantastic cloud formations that evening and over the next few days, along with plenty of smoke blowing down lake from the Rainbow Bridge fire just above Stehekin at the north end of the lake. Very colorful sunsets, blood-red moon and sunrises, too.

This cloud was a precursor to a wild three hour lightning and thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon that dumped plenty of rain and cleared the air of smoke for the rest of the day and into Sunday. The rain also helped to slow down the fire, thankfully. (Here is a useful fire tracking site for western states: inciweb.org)

Before leaving Chelan for home on Monday morning, we stopped and bought some beautiful local Lodi apples (10# box), melons, tomatoes, and bing cherries (4#).

The apples became Apple-Maple Preserves (from the Jamlady Cookbook); quite delicious spooned over plain yogurt.

Cherries in Wine (from Well Preserved).

After a few days at home we headed west to Ocean Park at the edge of the Pacific Ocean to visit Renée and friends; cool, cloudy, and drizzly weather. Talk about contrasts in temperature! Sunday turned out to be lovely and warm.

Always carry the camera—you never know what you will find. Pristine gull  feathers, a  necklace of orange seaweed or a pair of Bald Eagles perched above the beach.