Ross Lake Part 1: Spencer Island
Ross Lake is Eric's favorite place in the world. It's a large reservoir that sits in the North Cascades, right above the infamous Diablo Lake. There's a tiny resort made up of floating cabins, that's about a two mile hike from the parking lot. To head into the backcountry, you need to secure permits from the ranger station in Marblemount, about 20 minutes west of the parking lot. We had a few camp spots in mind, but they had to be secured along with the backcountry permit.
In an effort to get our first-choice campsites, we left Seattle just after 5 a.m. on a Friday and made the drive to Marblemount, where we met up with Owen and Colin. My friend Hanna had flown in the night before from Colorado for a 10-day stay in Washington, so we were a little slow to start. The ranger station was crowded when we arrived but there were a few people in line who decided to come back later or head to greener pastures, so the line moved fairly quickly. Our no-bullshit ranger told us what spots were available and we ended up securing campsites at Spencer Island and Lightning Creek, grabbed our permit and headed to the parking lot.
The hike down to the resort wasn't too bad—we walked across the dam that flows into Diablo, which was pretty cool, and since Eric had already reserved boats, we picked them up, played a quick game of H.O.R.S.E. and piled into our two tiny vessels. The motors were only 9.9 horsepower, so with 3 people and 3 backpacks, it was pretty slow going, and Colin and Owen along with their two packs sped past us. Spencer Island was about a 20 minute ride away from the resort and the views were breathtaking. Eric's smile got bigger & bigger the further up the lake we went.
We got to Spencer Island and set up our tents, broke out the beer, and had a quick snack before wandering around for a while. The boys were hanging around the picnic table talking, and Hanna and I decided that the sun was starting to peek out and that we should just get in the water already. We put on our swim suits and water shoes, found a great jumping off point and went for it. Eric & Colin hopped in shortly after we did, but we were the first ones in the water.
We took advantage of the last bit of sun by drying off and taking a quick cat nap in its last few rays, then we headed off across the lake to Big Beaver to grab some fire wood and do some exploring. This time, we packed all five of us into one boat and headed out.
We got to Big Beaver and proceeded to play a game the boys fondly refer to as "stick rock ball" aka. baseball with a stick and a rock. We also skipped a ton of rocks and played on the driftwood that collected at the mouth of the creek.
We explored up along the creek, to a bridge that crossed over the water. The blue of the water was mind boggling—especially as the light started to fade. We ended up collecting firewood from Big Beaver because there was so much of it and it was already pretty dry, and then we headed back to camp for dinner and bed before another busy day.