By Erik Molvar
Mile-by-mile descriptions, maps, and elevation profiles for greater than a hundred hikes get rid of the guesswork, yet now not the problem, of mountain climbing during this mountain paradise.
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Additional info for Hiking the North Cascades
Advanced Planning to Minimize Impact Much of the wear and tear that occurs in the North Cascades could be reduced by careful planning before the trip. Visitors should contact local authorities (see Appendix A) to find out about areas that are particularly sensitive to disturbance or receive heavy use. Since the goal of most wilderness travelers is to visit pristine and untrammeled areas, avoiding the most popular sites can only enhance one's wilderness experience. The collared pika gathers grasses all summer to eat when snow covers the mountains.
At the same time, timber barons were making fortunes by logging off the ancient stands of coastal forest that once grew in the Cascades' western foothills. In the heart of the range, however, steep slopes kept the loggers at bay. The interior of the North Cascades has maintained its pristine quality because of its forbidding aspect: its soils are too thin for agriculture, winters too cold and snowy for livestock, slopes too steep for logging, and metal-bearing ores too low-grade for commercial exploitation.
Scatter wash water over the ground in an out-of-the-way spot at least 200 feet from surface water and 100 yards from any likely campsite. This is bear country; pick out food scraps before scattering the water and pack them out with other garbage. For personal bathing, a good dousing and scrubbing with a washcloth will suffice for all but extended trips. Again, carry the water at least 200 feet from surface water. There are also rinse-free soaps and shampoos on the market that are designed specifically for backpackers.