Saturday, February 21, 2009


©Paul Anderson
Remember when you were a kid, and how it seemed to take forever for those special events to arrive?

Every year, weeks before we start our trip to Ross Lake Resort, the kids start asking "how soon", and "are the fish biting", "who can we invite?"

And they comment: "I'm jumping in the water as soon as we get there", "this year I'm going up to Lightening Creek", or "this year I'm swimming underwater at Ruby Creek", "this year I'm letting the waterfall hit me."

Several years ago there was an early fall storm, it uncharacteristically rained on our trip in and when we arrived at the cabin we could see it was snowing less than 500 feet above us.

Eight year old Mackenzie couldn't wait - she had been anticipating this moment for too long - she had to take the plunge in the rain and the cold.

And she did it, she swam out to the log boom and back.

All the adults sitting under the eaves of their cabins or at their dining tables playing cards, reading, planning the late afternoon fish, grinned, shook their heads and remembered when they would have done the same.

Mackenzie climbed out of the water, walked slowly into the bathroom and when she finally sat in her tub of warm water I heard a satisfied "aaahhhhhh!"

Anticipation complete.

The next day was sunny and 75 degrees.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ruby Creek

© Paul Anderson

Devil's Creek

© Paul Anderson

Poets and Fire in the Sky

© Paul Anderson

This area has a bit of history to it and in future posts Tom and some of his friends/guests will provide us with some interesting photos and historical comment.

Cool, Clear, Water!

© Paul Anderson
I grew up in Iowa, near the Mississippi River.  As kids we would swim in the big muddy to cool off from the heat and humidity.  If you stuck your arm in the water up to your elbow, you couldn't see your fingertips.

This made the rope swing particularly exciting because just as you pushed off someone would inevitably yell "Hey isn't that a log floating out there?"

"Yikes! Whoooaaaahhhhhhhh! Wherrrrrrre?"

I remember dreams as a child.  How wonderful it would be to swim, and fish for trout, and float in cool, clear water.

Look for the Signs!

Be aware of on coming traffic.

Once across the dam you will head right past a small Seattle City Light Tour Dock.

Park at the next dock, (just before a large storage building) unload all your gear, park your vehicle in the designated resort parking and then carry all of your gear down the gangway to the floating dock.

If you drive too far (beyond our loading/unloading dock) you will come into the parking area for one of our great neighbors!  The North Cascades Institute's Learning Center.  

We'll have a post about them at another time.

Something you must be aware of is the departure time of the Seattle City Light boat.  They keep to their schedule. So allow yourself plenty of time to get here and schlep all of your gear down to the floating dock.

If you are late, the only alternative in the afternoon is to drive several miles east on highway 20 to the Ross Dam Trail head at milepost 134 park your car and hike down to Ross Lake.  Find the resort telephone (its well marked) call us and we will zip across the lake to get you.  

Because no road exists to Ross Lake Resort, and because it is so remote and isolated, simply put, there is no alternative solution.  You make it on time to the boat or you hike in carrying the minimum you need for the night.

The next morning you will have to get up early, hike back up to your car, drive back down hiway 20 and across Diablo Dam, carry all your remaining gear to the boat dock and catch the morning boat.

Please - it is much easier to be on time.  You want this to be as stress free an experience as possible.

Note: Once your gear is on the dock, and the boat has arrived, what usually happens is: all the people headed up to Ross Lake will pitch in to load and unload the Seattle City Light boat.  At the base of Ross Dam everyone carries everything to the resort truck. The resort drivers have the responsibility to ensure that the truck is loaded safely and appropriately for the trip.

It's all a very spontaneous and a wonderful tradition,  everyone helping out. If you are unable to lift much don't fret - carry what you can.  A number of times I've carried heavy coolers and younger guys have grabbed it and said "hey, I'll get that for you".

It's part of the Ross Lake experience.

photos © Paul Anderson

Behind the Scenes - transporting canoes and kayaks

Another service we provide is trucking canoes and kayaks from the bottom of Ross Dam up to Ross Lake and back down again.  Except at the extreme north end, up at Hozomeen, and via a long trip through British Columbia from the nearest border crossing, there are no boat launches on Ross Lake.

We will transport gear for individuals and large groups.  

Please call ahead.

Tom putting a shoulder to his work!

One of the more important jobs that Tom and the staff have (at all hours of the day) is ensuring that the cabins don't get hung up and go aground.  Since the resort is on a reservoir that fluctuates up and down as Seattle City Light produces power, the staff monitors the lake level and sometimes employs brute force to move the cabins into deeper water.

Keena, one of the resort supervisors, observes Tom, before providing feedback.


©Paul Anderson
Fishing season starts in July up here!

Flyfishing at Cougar Island

Doug Horton works the water around Cougar Island on a fine autumn morning.

© Paul Anderson

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Stacked on a float in the cove beyond the bunkhouse, are the remains of the resort's hand built boats. After years of service, still clutching the memories of kids catching their first fish, generations of families exploring up and down the lake, and old cronies embellishing their fishing stories, the boats are destined to be dismantled. 

And each winter, as the snow settles in against Sourdough, Jack, Colonial, Desolation, Hozomeen, Ruby and the other peaks surrounding Ross Lake, Will and Tom enter the wood shop, stoke the old stove and begin the process of building the next generation's boats.

Flying Over the Rugged North Cascades to Ross Lake Part 1