The Rapidan River is the largest tributary of the Rappahannock River. These two rivers in the state of Virginia converge just west of the city of Fredericksburg, VA. The Rapidan River was the scene of severe and significant fighting in the Civil War including at Ely’s Ford (August 1862 and April-May 1863), Kelly’s Ford (March 1863), Chancellorsville (May 1863), Brandy Station (June 1863), and the Battle of the Wilderness (May 1864).
A popular spot, Diablo Lake is one of the scenic bodies of water in Washington Pass which, at over one mile above sea level, is the highest point on the North Cascades Highway in Washington State. On either side of the pass are glacier-carved valleys whose creeks eventually drain into the Columbia River. According to the Pacific Northwest National Parks and Forest Association and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service (Pacific Northwest Region), when the North Cascades Highway opened in 1972 more people could easily access the highest and wildest mountains in the state than ever before. Before 1972 Native Americans, prospectors, trappers, mountaineers and some hearty backpackers were the only ones who explored a region that took about four days to cross on horseback. Diablo Lake’s distinctive color is caused by fine rock particles, or “glacial flour,” which refracts light. These particles are created as rocks erode and pour into the lake by wind and glacial streams.
State Route 20, or the North Cascades Highway (above), cuts through mountain wilderness at Washington Pass. The highway is Washington State’s longest, winding its way over 400 miles traveling from U.S. Route 101 at Discovery Bay on the Olympic Peninsula to the state border with Idaho.