In the northern reaches of the North Cascades, bisected by the international border, tributaries of the Chilliwack River form a series of dramatic, deeply cut valleys. Defining these valleys are a group of mountains as monolithic and awe inspiring as any in the range. So sheer are their forms that they seem fantastical, like some painter’s idealized creation.
From a rocky summit perched high above Chilliwack Lake I watched the ridgeline shadows grow as the light of late afternoon slanted toward evening. The sun deepened its firey hue as it neared, then touched the western horizon. To the south and east the highest summits reflected warmly above the dark valleys and shadowed lower slopes. Colors melted into each other across the sky, from yellow, deepening through orange, red and violet into a cold, transparent blue. Soon the rugged outlines of distant mountains softened and merged with the descending sky. To the east a single star appeared, then another. The magical night was upon me.