Along with the start of fall quarter comes the gray and rainy weather NWCCI students are told to expect when they arrive in the Pacific Northwest. That’s why we jam pack our orientation in August with outdoor activities to introduce our students to the natural beauty of Washington state. Sana Naz, a business student from Pakistan, shares her experience taking a boat tour of Diablo Lake in the North Cascade mountain range with her fellow NWCCI students at Whatcom Community College.
Diablo Lake is one of the many beautiful lakes in Washington State. It is located in the north Cascades, almost a three hour drive from Bellingham. It is 1201 ft. above sea level, and it has unique green water, several varieties of trees and high mountains that give the feeling of being close to nature. The beautiful scenery along the road was amazing throughout the trip. On the way, we could see horses and cattle grazing, orchards of Christmas trees specially grown for the festive season. Beside the road there were small but beautiful houses.
After driving, the tour guide welcomed us to the North Cascades Institute. The institute connects people, nature and community through science, literature and the study of the natural as well as cultural history of the Pacific Northwest. They are also partner with Seattle City Light to give boat tours. The institute has a dining hall where every tourist can eat delicious meals; here tourists get a chance to meet and greet new people and then get ready for a breath taking boat tour.
While you are in a boat you can view the small islands, waterfalls, and the bridge of Diablo Dam, which generates electricity that is supplied to the city of Seattle. The water in the lake has a strange and unusual color; it comes from the glaciers. When the ice melts on the mountains it takes small pieces of rocks along with it and while falling from the mountains all these pieces are ground up. While resting at the bottom of the lake, when the sun light reflects from these ground rock pieces, the lake has a unique green color. Even in August the lake is very cold and conditions are not quite favorable for swimming. The mountains also have exclusive beauty which includes adventurous activities such as hiking. In addition to that, many local stories are associated with the lake, and the guide kept telling us these interesting stories.
One of the interesting things we learned from the trip was how some trees in the lake take atmospheric nitrogen and convert it in to useful form for other plants and thus helping keep the environmental balance.
For me, the best thing about this trip was floating on the calm water, which reminded me some of the similar lakes in my country where I use to spend time with my friends and family. Moreover, the information I got from tour guides of North Cascades Institute was very helpful; it helped me get a clear picture of how the United States protects and maintains its national assets for tourists and the community.