The West Coast Dad Collective Guide to The North Cascades Part 2: Diablo Lake, Ross Lake, Hidden Lake Lookout

For Part 1 of this Cascade adventure click here.

A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth like, a million, easy. Plus, this video has songs that have words too. So that all adds up to a lot of words that I don't have to write here. Just watch the video to get a sense of how awesome our trip was.

Reflective signs are super helpful if you go paddling at night!

Reflective signs are super helpful if you go paddling at night!

We paddled out to Spencer's, which is the only island on Ross Lake that doesn't specifically call itself an island. Actually, when we went it wasn't entirely an island because the water level was low enough that you could walk across a narrow piece of land. This was a fact that also led us to be a little more concerned with bears than we may have otherwise been if we were on Cougar Island, Cat Island or Ten Mile Island. Thankfully we encountered no bears (we did have bear spray on hand and also made use of the bear proof container provided at the campsite).

The camp spots were plenty spacious.

The camp spots were plenty spacious.

Spencer's is a great camping spot. There are only 2 camping sites on the little island so at most you would only have one other group as your neighbor. We had another group the first night, though there is plenty of distance between the two so we only encountered them on trips to the bathroom. The second and third nights we were there we had the island to ourselves. I don't want this fact to be lost on you all out there - we were camping during the summer, in a popular national park, and were able to have an island all to ourselves! There are great perks to be had when the camp site is not accessible by car.

From our camping spot we made an easy day paddle out to Devil's Creek - an absolutely gorgeous canyon like creek. The video doesn't even do it justice. The water was really cold, as it is glacier fed, but we still took the opportunity for some cliff diving. Really fun stuff! Then we had a chance to do some fishing as well. We packed really light and so our fishing tool of choice was the Flip Reel by Squidees. These were generously provided to us by Squidees, to test out on the trip. I will say that they don't cast as well as I would have hoped but they worked great for trolling for fish. They are so convenient in size and also the way they fold up onto themselves that I would think every fisherman out there should just keep one in their glove compartment as a backup. The rainbow trout we caught was easily reeled in by hand and was delicious later that night.

This is the view from inside Devil's Creek looking outward toward Ross Lake.

This is the view from inside Devil's Creek looking outward toward Ross Lake.

Speaking of night, that was a most magical part of our Ross Lake camping trip. There is almost 0 light pollution in the area. Once our campfire was out the only light was from the stars and moon. We took some night shots to show this, and while they came out well, they do not tell the whole story. We paddled out to the middle of the lake around 8pm and you could see millions of stars with your bare eyes. We didn't need a telescope, we didn't need a star map. It felt like we could see every constellation that every astronomer since the beginning of time has ever seen. It made your existence in the universe seem so insignificant and yet so beautifully necessary as well. 

The Milky Way was visible to the naked eye!

The Milky Way was visible to the naked eye!

Just look up from the camp spot and see more stars than you may ever see for the rest of your life!

Just look up from the camp spot and see more stars than you may ever see for the rest of your life!

We had such an awesome trip. We begrudgingly packed up our gear and made the scenic paddle back to the Ross Lake Resorts to be driven up and over the mountain road and dropped off at Diablo Lake. From there it was a short paddle in those ridiculously turquoise waters to get back to the Colonial Creek campgrounds where our car was located. Even though it was a shame for it to be over, I think we just both knew that we were definitely going to be coming back, and that made it okay too. Maybe next time we'll bring the families!