Over the years I have photographed and written a lot about the North Cascades. Climbing trips, backpacking trips, thoughts of wilderness. There is certainly something deep and meaningful I have found in my connection to the mountains and valleys and rivers and glaciers in this little corner of the world called the North Cascades.

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I feel this inexplicable pull to explore further and further into the wilderness found there. To spend nights under empty skies overflowing with stars, far-removed from highways and wireless networks and train whistles and comfortable couches, just lying on the ground where the only sound is my own breathing or maybe the cascade of waterfalls across a valley in the distance. And I realize that can all sound so romantic. But the reality as I reminisce on trips I have taken and places I have experienced in the North Cascades, is that I also can remember all the effort it took. Grueling ups. Hot sweaty descents. Miles and miles and miles. Flies. Mosquitos. Fear. Doubt. But just as quickly I brush past all that to those rarefied moments. The pink light descending over layers and layers of peaks. The sound of my tent fly flapping in a gentle breeze. Laughing with a friend or lover over hot chocolates or freeze-dried food, just grateful for the moment, that very moment in its essence, perfect and irreplaceable. And I know these experiences cannot be found without a little effort. So I embrace it. All of it. The effort and the effortless. And am thankful, so very thankful there are still places like the North Cascades.

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And so I was led to join the board of the North Cascades Conservation Council. Because someone needs to protect these wild spaces so that we all can have these experiences. My son is now thirteen and I want it protected for him, his kids, eventually, all of us. For if we embrace the effort – and protect what is left – those moments of weightlessness and of feeling nothing but the present, are ours for the taking.

Please come learn more, we could use your help and would love to meet you at our social night next week. Information is below.

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EXPLORE NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK

(It’s Closer Than You Think!)

WHEN: June 14 4:30-8:00PM

WHERE: REI Flagship, 222 Yale Ave N, Seattle

HOSTED BY: North Cascades Conservation Council (NCCC)

Meet and chat with Karen Taylor-Goodrich, the new superintendent of the North Cascades National Park (NCNP) complex

Meet with fellow outdoor enthusiasts, catch up with NCCC members and the board, and NCNP staff

Update your summer recreation plans after hearing presentations about hiking, backcountry camping and trails, mountaineering, wildlife and other natural and cultural resources from park staff

A NCNP informational program will be presented at 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00 with plenty of time in between for complimentary food, beverages and socializing

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