Each winter, the North Cascades Pass closes, preventing travelers from using the pass to travel from the east to the west, or vice versa, along highway 20.
Skiers and Hikers moan and mourn, and those of us who want ice cream can hardly contain our excitement when we hear the pass is open again each spring.
Yes, you read that right. We cross the pass to get ice cream.
It all started when I was a kid. My folks would load my sister and I up into the car each spring and celebrate the opening of the pass by traveling from the West side to the East side. Also known as the Wet Side to the Dry Side.
The road leads you up into the mountains to roughly 5800 feet, and winds back down into the Methow Valley some three and a half hours later. For a kid, that's a pretty long drive when the only scenery is trees and mountain range.
Cars packed every possible inch of roadside where there was enough room to pull off. Actually, in some cases, they were parked on the road. But no one cared much. The pass was open! Everyone was in a good mood as they traveled either Wet or Dry. Winters are long in the northwest. Spring is to be celebrated, and for those of us coming from the Wet, it meant the inaugural trip to the town of Winthrop...and ice cream.
Tall, mountainous rocks jut up at the top of the pass, looming above the evergreen trees our state is known for.
My mother was always fond of the Liberty Bell rock.
As kids? We didn't care. We wanted ice cream.
As an adult? I take pictures!
Every journey has it's reward, though.
With just over 150 miles of mountainous terrain covered,
we would reach our destination and the prize that awaited...
And then? We'd turn around and head back home.