Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bagley lakes and Huntoon Point Trailblazer hike

What a wonderful summer here in the Pacific Northwest. 
10 of us Senior Trailblazers headed up to Mt. Baker to hike the Bagley lakes area area. It was so beautiful in the mountains today it was hard to stop taking pictures. 

View from our starting point
Bagley lakes
Bagley lakes

The hikers!

We did manage to cross a snow bridge
We were scheduled to do an easy 5 miles today and since it was short, we headed up to Artist point in our cars and did another short hike to Huntoon Point.

looking towards Baker lake
on the way up to Huntoon Point - with a view of Shuksan
Looking across at the Chain lakes trail
Me posing with Mt. Baker
Huntoon Point
Looking back at the road and the Border peaks
Endomondo stats:
Bagley lakes -
2.63 total miles hiked
4132 Min. altitude
4472 Max altitude
1932 Total ascent
1875 Total descent

Huntoon point -
1.36 total miles hiked
5064 Min. altitude
5303 Max altitude
611 Total ascent
620 Total descent

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mtn. Loop hwy and a flat tire(s)

It started as a lighthearted ride off the beaten track on the Mtn. Loop hwy. We hadn't driven it for awhile and my husband wanted to check out some of the spur roads off of the main loop hwy. The road is paved only as far as the Monte Cristo ghost town. The gravel road follows the Sauk river and is very scenic. We stopped for lunch at one of the many pullout camping areas.

the Foxgloves were in bloom all along the road
We stopped at Bedal Campground campground and looked around. It had a map board and boat launch. Little did we know at the time how useful that map picture would be to us later in the day.

view of the Sauk river at the boat launch
from there we took our first spur road, #23 & crossed over  the White Chuck river bridge

There is a nice big parking lot with a restroom just after the bridge on the left. We then took the spur road #2700. We traveled on this for quite a while, going up and over a pass. We found out later that this area slides out quite often and is sometimes impassable. The road other than being gravel the whole way was in great condition and we were enjoying it immensely

as we were coming down the long fairly steep downhill we heard a strange sound and casually wondered what it was. Not long after that we arrived at the lowland flatter road that junctioned with road #25. My husband stopped the car to see what was going on with the car since it was driving different and sure enough we had a flat tire. 

So begins the epic part of our trip -

We got the smaller spare tire out & it seemed fine until my husband got it on and lowered the car back down off the jack, and we realized the small spare was low on air. 

So he decided it would be best to just drive slowly and hope we could get to Darrington and get some air in it. Thankfully I had taken a picture of the map and it gave us a general idea of where we were. We had no cell coverage so it wasn't possible to call for a tow. We had driven an hour and a half and only saw 2 cars in all that time, but we were still trying to be optimistic that we would be able to flag someone down to see if they might have a fix a flat can with them or even possibly a bicycle pump we could use. We drove 10 miles an hour on the low spare tire for about 8 miles before we realized if we continued on it we could possibly damage the rim. Thankfully we came to where the road was now paved after crossing the bridge on road #26 (Suiattle River road). So we stopped and looked at the original tire to see what the damage was. He determined that it had gash in it and wouldn't be able to be repaired so we took the spare off and put the flat original tire back on. Hoping we could drive on it for awhile before we would be on the rim. We limped along  for another 4 miles on this tire still hoping we would see a car to flag down or since the road was now paved hoping to see a house where we could get help or at least use their phone (still not cell coverage). FINALLY we spotted a jeep coming up behind us. We frantically waved at him hoping he would stop. Yay he agreed to transport us and our dog (yes we had Lexis our Malamute with us). It was a tight fit for us but he gave us a ride to Darrington. He said he felt obligated to help as he had been in the same predicament once before there himself . He said we wouldn't have had cell coverage until we were in Darrington, which was about 2 miles farther on road #26
and then about 10 miles more after we turned onto hwy 530.
He dropped us off at the Shell station in Darrington, and after giving him many, many heartfelt thank you's I got on the phone and called my AT&T roadside assistance. They couldn't find anything near there that was open and their next move would be to call the State patrol and let them help us. So we said thanks for trying but we would do some of our own investigating. Luckily while we were limping along on our flat tires I had been charging my phone so I would have a full battery when we found coverage. Again nothing was available locally so after taking a deep breath realizing it would be very expensive we called our own local 24 hr. towing company (B.J.'s towing) that was and hour and a half away and see if they were willing to come pick us up with our dog. That way we could get a ride to our home and then have them just drop off the Van at their shop (they are also our regular car repair shop) since we would need new tires put on before we could take it anywhere. Yay they would,
so I called our At&t and asked if our towing deductible would still be honored and they said yes - $50.
Oh well it was better than nothing.
 So we found a nice little bench to wait "patiently" for our ride. At about 11pm the tow truck rolled up. We were SO happy to see it. He had a nice long bench back seat so Lexis was comfy but not so happy.

All in all not such a bad day, but never quite so glad to be back home at 1:30 in the morning!

Lessons learned: 
check the spare before going on a drive 
keep a can of Fix a flat and possibly a bicycle pump in the car at all times 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sauk Mtn. Trailblazer hike

It was a foggy start for our hike up Sauk Mtn.

here comes the sun
Ten of us enjoyed the meadow flowers as we marched up the many switchbacks
We did hike up above the clouds before they completely burned off 
and got a view of the Twin Sisters and Mt. Baker.
Mt. Baker just at the right edge of the picture
We stopped on a little opening for lunch before heading up to the top.  
Wonderful views while we ate -
Lake below

Rainier  is the far away white bump in the distance (click to enlarge)
After lunch it was up through some snow before reaching the top.

incredible view from the top
Me on the Summit with Mt. Baker over my shoulder (& Pat our fearless leader)
and then back down the many switchbacks to the cars, 
if you click on the picture below to enlarge it you can see the parking lot at the bottom.

Couldn't have been a better day!

(thanks for sending this picture to me Djan!)
Endomondo stats:
3.57 total miles hiked
4335 Min. altitude
5498 Max. altitude
2256 Total ascent
2221 Total descent

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mt. Baker in July

Thought we'd dash up again to check out the snow level at Mt. Baker's Artist point parking lot. We couldn't have asked for a better day.

Mt. Baker
and they dug out the restrooms - hurray!
Ruth Mountain in the distance from lower down on the Nooksack river bed
Looks like it's going to be a great year for hiking in the hills!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Noisy Creek Trailblazer hike

Thursday my husband and I went hiking with the Bellingham Senior Trailblazers. We drove to Baker lake and the trailhead for the Noisy Creek hike. The guidebooks say it's a 9 mile hike, but my iPhone's Endomondo app put it at 10.09 miles & Pat (our fearless leader) 
said his GPS tracked us and 10.1 miles. So a bit of discrepancy with the book, 
but I like that our own tracking devices pretty much matched.

Mosquito spray stop
In about 2 miles we came to Hidden Creek, beautiful and noisy 
but not the Noisy Creek we were looking for ;-)

this picture is from a previous hiking trip (Sulphide creek & Baker river hike May 2011) 
one of the wood bridges on the trail
opening before the site of the campground
after about 2 1/2 hours of hiking we took a right turn at the fork in the trail and walked
to the campground for lunch.

It was a great spot to eat, even a picnic table!
We had a view of the Noisy Creek bridge across the lake.

click to enlarge to get a better look at the bridge
and finally Noisy Creek - 

after lunch we walked a bit farther on the trail so we could say we had actually seen Noisy Creek!
On the Senior Trailblazer's schedule this hike was to be eight miles long. This turned out to be a "little" farther. That's the farthest I've hiked for awhile and even though it was moderate in it's rating - I'm wondering if I'll be rested enough to hike Sauk mtn. with the group next Thursday. 
We'll see......
Nice day for a hike and nice company.

Endomondo stats:
10.09 total miles hiked

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tennant Lake's water trail

We've been having wonderfully warm temperatures here in Northwest Washington. Artist point is opening today, it's the earliest opening since 2005
 (read about it here:
We enjoyed spending our Sunday at Tennant lake near Hovander farm. We hadn't been there for awhile and it was heavenly. To get to the water trail you first go through the Fragrance garden. It's a sniff, touch and feel garden. Notice the view of Mt. Baker in the archway.
(click on the pictures to enlarge)

On the way to the boardwalk trail there is a view tower that is a must to climb the stairs inside and catch the views.

bridge crossing the creek

Water trail pictures -

and then it finishes in the Fragrance garden again -