Cascade Pass Adventures

I have been to Cascade Pass several times, each time with its own unique experience… This is a place of many wonders! Thats why it is and for a long time will remain my Special Mountain! I will explain each of the experiences of when I went to Cascade Pass or Sahale Mountain which is basicly the same hike but right next to each other and to access Sahale, you must first go up to Cascade Pass.

The first time I ever went to Cascade Pass, I did’nt even get to the parking lot and took place in November 0f 2005. Before we left, there was reports of bad weather but we decided on it anyways. We spent the night a few miles from the trailhead because when we got there it was dark and while sleeping, we could here the river next to us rushing which was the Cascade River. It was a place new to me, so I had no idea what this place was like. When we woke up the next day, turns out we could drive an extra mile so we did so. Unfortunatly my mother insisted in walking that extra mile because she was worried the road would be hazordous. By this time, we were two miles away from the trailhead and the road was gated off due to lots of snow. We also found a cabin on the side of the road which seemed pretty nice but was abandoned and was the house of a prospector. When we first started the hike up the road, it was tiring because we had lots of gear and many layers of clothes. We had the entire place to our selves, for obvious reasons because it was very snowy. The winter silence is incredible! But came with it the booms of avalanches. The snowy conditions made this place so beautiful, but at the same time it was foggy all around us, almost as if we walked into a world of snow and fog. My brother created a snow man, which took a while, but the view was so beautiful, like nothing I have ever seen!

Cascade Storm Snowy Creek

It was a winter paradise, at the same time, there were many avalanches coming off off Johanesburg Mountain which made the place almost frightening. At this point we had to put on snow shoes which were’nt the greatest and kept falling off. Are pace was’nt that great and the road is some what steep and the snow was deep, later when it started to get dark, we ended up turning around because it was getting dark, and the fog was coming in real thick. I remember that time, it was almost like a dream world. We got back to the car safely and as we were driving home, the mist was rolling off the mountains during evening made was so beautiful. I kept looking out, wanting to be there. fortunatly we decide on returning to Cascade Pass the next week because it was such a beautiful place.

When I heard the news, I was very exited and could hardly sleep the night before we left. By this time, it was Mid-November and was unusually smoggy out. When we finally left which took a long time, it was mid day, and it takes a long time to drive to the trailhead of Cascade Pass. On the way, the smog almost magicaly cleared and it was a perfectly clear day! We got there a few hours before dark and once again, it was gated off two miles away from the trailhead which was kinda erritating. The snow had melted quite a bit and turns out our snow man we made the prevoius trip before was still there. Lucky for us on this trip, we brought the tent with us when hiking to the trailhead and the snow was’nt that bad on the asent up. Johannesburg looked so Big! So mighty was it! I remember the air kept going from cold to warm becasue of warm pockets of air, with the fresh mountain air, and the slight freeze. When we finally got to the trailhead, we were able to put down our stuff and enjoy the sunset, which was very beautiful! Perhaps the best I have ever seen! The awesome colors of the Cascade Valley, with Johannesburg towering over us! Darkness came quick and we had to set up the tent in the dark using our headlights, and the temperature began to drop very fast. Fortunatly for me, I brought five layers of pants and had many layers of shirts and jackets and we were camping on a snowy surface which was convieneint for sleeping and we had ground pads. I remember before going to sleep, having the thought and worry of a grizzly bear becasue I kept hearing noises outside our tent. Finally we were able to get to sleep, but in the middle of the night, you could hear the booming of avalanches all around us, we were at a safe zone… I think. When ever I would walk out to use the bathroom, you could see Johanesburg very well, because the moon was behind the ridge making it visible. I thought to myself, am I in Alaska? This place was beautiful, never had I seen anything so beautiful as that night… even to this day. The next day just before the sunrise, I woke up, a wonderful sunrise it was, as if the sun were coming over the ridge to greet us and the moon at the same time came over the other ridge, making a very beautiful sunrise with all the land light up because of the reflecting snow.

Johannesburg Mountain at Sunrise Cascade Valley at Sunrise Cascade Peak in November

Sahale Mountain at Sunrise Cascade Valley

We had breakfast which we had hot chocolate from a thermas, and some cold pizza which was delicious! Unfortunatly when we were sleeping, my moms feet were soaked becasue her boots were not water proof so my brother decided to hike back down to get the spares which were at the car and in the mean time, my mom read one of my school books to me “The Watsons go to Burmingham 1963″… although it was a good story, I just was facinated with all the scenery around and felt so small in a valley so big! When atlast my brother got back, it was almost noon and another unfortune thing that happend was my brother got sick over night and he felt dizzy so if we were to hike up to Cascade Pass, he would have to stay with the tent at the trailhead and sleep while we hike. So we did so, and it was amazing how we had the whole place to our selfs, because the only snow prints were from us. When we first started hiking up, I was wondering if we were even on a trail but fortunatly we were and soon began to switch back up to the Pass. Its amazing how much harder it is with snow! When hiking up, I kept sinking to about knee deep or so and it felt like I was lunging up the Mountain. The creeks and frozen icicles added more to the beauty. The snow shoes did’nt do me much good, due to the fact that they fall off. Later we got almost to the Pass, but there were dangerous avalanche shoots and also it was getting late, so we decided to turn around.

Mix Up Peak in November Cascade Valley at Sunset

Johannesburg Mountain at Sunset

The Sunset was once again very nice! Very nice sky color and would have turned out better if we had the camera we have know. When we got down to the trailhead, my brother was awake and was feeling sick but a little better, by this point, it was very dark, so we packed up the tent and got our headlamps out and headed back to the car. Once again a very nice trip to Cascade Pass area, but my mom unfortunatly lost one of the cameras we brought when going out of the car once on the way home.

I later kept wanting to go back to this area and had to wait until June 2, 2006 to return. This time, my dad, me and my brother and mom came with. This time, even all the way in June, the road was still closed! We thought that the ranger got lazy but later found out why. We once again spent the night two miles from the trailhead, and we placed our special water bottols near the river filled with chocolate milk and when we woke up, for some reason mine was gone and everyone elses was still there yet mine was the most protected… to this day I wonder what happend because it was a scpiecal plastic container bottle. It was this trip that was the most frightening of anything I have ever done. Before we headed out, I looked up the mountain and saw the fog on Sahale and all the snow and said “I’m in the mood for a challenge today” and put back my ski polls. I regreted doing that! Later we found fools gold along the road, and my dad got bored and threw a tree in a the Cascade River… in a way it was kinda funny to see a tree in such a small river get sucked away.

Johannesburg Glacier in Fog Satisfied

Later when we almost got to the trailhead, we discovered why the road was closed, it was’nt that the road was washed out, but there was an avalanche that burried the Trailhead and was very thick. Unfortunatly I had forgotten my Sunglasses so the snow reflected the light into my eyes making it hard to see. I got thirsty and needed a drink of my grape soda which was refreshing. When we got to the trailhead, we took another break, and dad Pointed up Johannesburg Mountain and said “Look up on that tree, theres Sasquatch” and this made me laugh, becasue my dad acually believes in Sasquatch, but I think he was partly drunk becasue he drank lots of beer before hand. Atlast we hit the trail, and was some what snowy and we heard bears around us which made it seem a little uninviting. There was lots of clouds around us, but not as much as the first time. Later before the switch backs, we decided on taking a short cut… BIG MISTAKE! It was some what steep to go up the short cut and we needed many breaks with snow, and I was grabbing onto rocks for support. We finally got above the clearing and into the forest and found a trail… we thought this was the Cascade Pass trail which it was but turns out it was the old Cascade Pass trail and was partly eroded and old. My dad went to go lean up against a tree and it fell right over because it must have been a dead tree and bent tombling down the mountain. Later as we kept hiking, it got snowier and snowier, and the side of the trail got steeper and steeper, and it got to the point were I was thinking, I don’t remember this and I was starting to want to go back. We kept moving on and later my boots were getting soaked on the inside and out and my feet were getting cold and the side of us started to get so steep, it almost became walking along side of a cliff and walking on snow beside it. I later began to ask myself, “Why Do I get Myself into these situations” because I later got to the point were I was wondering how I was getting down because It almost seemed as if I slipped, I would fall off the side of the mountain.

Cascade Pass in June Marmot near Cascade Pass Triad

Later when getting to an avalanche shoot which we passes several along the way, my day was crossing it and slipped on a slippery spot and went slidding down a very steep avalanche shoot and below that was a huge cliff! My dad was lucky enough to roll his body over and fell into a mini crevess that was next to the cliff and managed to stop his fall. After this, he was able to climb back up to the trail. After that, I and everyone else was very tired, and at that point, we decided to turn around. Before we left the spot, a marmot came up to us, he was friendly but kinda looked like a Beavor. On the way down, I could hear the roaring of Johanesburg and was worried about avalanches coming down on us from above. On the way down, we had to travel over other avalanche shoots and I regretted not bringing my ski polls, and I also was starting to have cramps on the way down. I evenually became so tired from the experience, I had to have my brother make snow prints for me because I had to step in everystep and that took too much out of me and I was frightened because of the steepness around us. Later I was able to pull through and hike back down safly and got to the trailhead before dark. On the way down to the car, I found a boulder covered in fools gold, even though I was so exuasted, I some how put all my might into carring it down a ways and my brother Michael carried it down the last mile, and around the time we got back to the trailhead, it was sunset. Another exiting yet frightening trip to Cascade Pass.

Later that year, we decided on going back there again a forth time! This time, we wanted to go on Sahale Arm. We left to go there late as usual, it was October 21, 2006 when we went there. The trailhead this time was acually open! We drove all the way to the trailhead and even though it is against the rules to spend the night at the trailhead, we did so anyways, not that we like braking Da Rules, but it was the best camping spot. That night it was very windy and I guess when I was asleep, the tent polls were broken due to a camping trip in summer of 2006 when someone accedently broke the polls and the tent fell on us in our sleep. So we had to get out in the middle of the night, and take down the tent and sleep in the car. I slept good, and woke up to a very plesent sunrise, not nearly as good as the one in November but still very nice.

Eldorado Peak at Sunrise Torment at Sunrise Johannesburg Mountain at Sunrise


Cascade Peak at Sunrise

We had breakfast and got our things together and started hiking… the real trail! Lucky for us, there was a light dusting of snow to make the mountains look even better, and we had almost perfectly clear weather. Its amazing how much easier the trail is without snow, but I got to admit, the snow makes it all worth it! When we got up to the pass after all the switch backs, it was very windy which made it so I had to put on my jacket, for the first time, we acually made it to Cascade Pass, probably because we finnally went in good weather. We then after that hiked up to Sahale Arm which was a moderate hike up the switch backs, and later made it to the glacier with wonderful views.

North Cascades Looking South East Triplets

Looking South West Mix Up Peak Mount Formidible

Mount Buckner Eldorado and Torment

We hiked back down to the trailhead with a wonderful sunset. Another great hike!

In 2007, I was exited to be able to return to Cascade Pass, and had been waiting because in ealier 2007, the road had been washed out. This time, I went with my brother, my mom, and my Friend Mark Straub on September 1, 2007. Before we left, we woke up to a great sunrise on my rood of the Cascades, we could tell that we were going to have a great hike. It took us a while to leave but lucky for us, we acually got there at a somewhat decent time. I was amazed at how crowded the parkinglot was, never had I seen it so full of hikers. We started the hike and this time, I saw lots of plants that were very interesting, unfortunatly I accedently broke my friends camera when flipping a switch on it and jammed the flip screen, it is’nt busted but is glitched. He was angry with me for a while but I got over it quich because we were at Sahale after all. We got to the pass alright and were well ahead of my mother. We kept hiking up and up and saw some sunbeams in the Cascade Valley which looked better in person. Its amazing how much easier it is without snow!

We later got to the Sahale Glacier around sunset and the view was just amazing, Sahale never fails to impress me.

On the way down, my friend Mark was tired of me taking so many photos, but he went up ahead of me leaving me in the back. At this point, it was evening and Sahale was looking awesome, so I had to get a 60 seond exposure shot of it.

I felt like I could sleep there, even though we had no tent. It was one of my Favorite Evenings ever. My friend Mark on the way down was upset about his shoes that were too small so I could’nt take any more photos. When trying to meet back up with the group, by this point it was very dark, so I was crawling about the area were I took my photos and gathered my gear and luckily found it, and on the way down, I almost got lost because it was really dark and all I had a was a shake light and if you ever had a bad shake light, you will know that it takes forever for them to have good light and even so, its not that great.We hiked down safly, but I kept thinking to myself, I really did’nt want to leave this place. For more information on the hike, go to This is why Sahale is my Favorite Mountain.

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