Thursday, September 24, 2015

Watson lake Trailblazer hike

An overcast sky met us at the Senior Center for our long (nearly 2 hour) drive for today's hike. We were driving down to Hwy 20 and the Baker lake area from Bellingham. I am always surprised when we get a good number of people to show up for these "long drive" hikes - 13 today!
We drove "up" an awesome gravel road to the trailhead parking lot. Nearly at the top I asked "Pat" if he would stop the car so I could get this photo of Mt. Baker with Baker lake below. The sky was looking particularly ominous.

There is an outhouse and a good sized parking lot at the end of the road, which is the trailhead.

We signed in and were off.

I loved all of the boardwalks trails, besides the view these were a highlight for me.

Just before the we dropped down to the lakes we entered the Noisy - Diobsud 
Wilderness area.

Our first view of upper and lower Watson lakes.

We hiked past the first lake and had lunch at the upper lake. 
What a view!

On the way out one of our hikers struggled on the uphills, so we decided to take turns carrying his pack. I volunteered first. Since I started training for my next Spartan race September 1st, I jumped at the chance to get in more of a workout. 

(Thanks to Joe for taking the photo above and below)

The overcast skies continued throughout the day and we had a light shower just as we were finishing and reached the cars, but it didn't last very long.
I hadn't done this hike before and I loved every bit of it. 
It's definitely on my - "go back and do" list.

Endomondo Stats:
Total miles hiked - 5 miles
Total ascent - 1522 feet
Total descent - 1369 feet
Maximum altitude -- 4864 feet
Minimum altitude - 4176 feet

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hannegan Pass Trailblazer hike

10 of us showed up at the Senior center wondering where we would be hiking today, we were scheduled to go to Hannegan Pass, but the weather forecast was showing rain in the area. Sometimes our fearless leader "Pat" has other plans for us when we may have rain. He asked us if we were up for heading into the mountains for our Hannegan pass hike and we all said "yes, let's go".
When we got to the trail head there were low clouds, and a bit of brightness showing through. I've hiked this trail twice before with the Trailblazers, once my dad joined us, (you can read about it HERE) and then last year my husband joined us (you can read about it HERE).

Getting ready to head up the trail.

Deciding how we would split up for the hike. Marjan led a quicker group to the pass. Ed's part of our group stopped at the camp then returned, I chose to hike with Pat our "fearless leader". Notice how high the vegetation is around us.

Last of the fireweed standing vigilantly against the coming season.

Fall colors in display.

If you look at the center of the picture below you will see a Pika. He was so cute nibbling on a piece of grass.

The clouds did raise enough for us to get a nice look at Ruth mountain.

Just before we got in the cars I snuck over and took this picture of the shelter that is at the parking lot.

We had 3 distances today ;-)
Marjan's group hiked 9.1 miles
Ed's group hiked 8.6

Endomondo stats:
Pat and I hiked 6.5 miles (we turned around when the others met us coming back down the trail)
Total ascent - 1989 feet
 Total descent - 1077 feet
Minimum altitude - 2215 feet
Maximum altitude - 4097 feet

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rainier Vacation - Part 6 Fremont Lookout & Burroughs 2

Day 6
Completely rained out, road trip to the Paradise Visitor center. It wasn't any drier there. Came back to camp dejected.

Day 7
Part 6 of our Rainier camping & hiking trip.
If you'd like to catch up, you can read - 
Part 1 White River campground HERE
Part 2 Owyhigh lakes hike HERE
Part 3 Emmons Glacier and Glacier Basin HERE
Part 4 Shadow lake loop hike HERE
Part 5 Burroughs Mountain HERE

As this would be our last full day in the area, we were really hoping to make it a full hiking day. We chose Fremont Lookout and then Burroughs mountain, hoping to reach the 2nd Burrough. The link for Burroughs mountain contains information on all 3 Burroughs if you're interested in reading it. We hope to go back and do all 3 on another trip.
The weather pretty much cooperated with us for this last day of hiking.
As we headed up to the Fremont trail we couldn't believe we could actually see Rainier. What a gift! If you read the Part 5 post you would see that the section of the trail in the photo below looked a little bit different from today's view.

The clouds were rising up from the valleys for most of the day, but we did get some nice glimpses of the scenery. The trail was a bit exposed in areas. The photo below shows one of the views looking down (like nearly straight down) from the trail.

A nice gentle ascent to the Lookout.

We saw a Pika right beside the trail. We watched him for a while, he was gathering grass and taking it to his nest.

Fremont Lookout, that blue sky was "up", the clouds were below us - so no view :-(

Here's an excerpt from the sign below that gives you an idea of what it was like for the back country lookout fire watcher crews. "I watched as the electric storm progressed towards the lookout. I was standing on the catwalk when all of a sudden a loud humming started. I didn't worry too much until a glowing red ball raced down the antenna. I was standing under the aerial and my hair stood on end. I remembered that you were to throw the switches on your aerial, get inside and sit on your insulated stool, and not touch the fire finder. This I quickly did." Forrest Johnson, Fire control aide reminiscing about his experiences as a fire spotter in  1941.

Chipmunks, our companions at our lunch break.


 We headed back to the trail junction for Burroughs mtn. This is actually a major junction for many hikes. Here are a few of the signs just a few steps from each other.

We headed up the trail to the Burroughs, again so much different than just a couple of days before. I had hoped to get a picture of the sign below when we hiked it in "arctic" like conditions on our previous hike, but it wasn't visible in the fog.

The Burroughs trail

If you look closely at the photo below you will see Fremont lookout on the hill farthest to the left. That is where we had just come from, as you can see the clouds did lift for whoever was there at that time to get some views.

The top of the first Burrough! 
This is as far as we were able to go on our first attempt.

Looking up toward the 2nd Burroughs trail.

 Someone had crafted a wonderful stone bench at the top of the 2nd Burrough for people to sit on. It was very cozy, and gave me a great view of the 3rd Burrough. The clouds were still moving in and out, so we're saving that hike for another time.
The 3rd Burrough & my view from the bench.

We hiked back down the Shadow lake portion of the loop hike to our car. Just as we were driving away, I asked my husband to stop so I could get this picture just outside the parking lot.
I had many emotions fill me as I stood there thinking about this trip. 
No it wasn't the best of weather & the temperatures got a bit chilly (especially at night), but we didn't let that stop us from having a most excellent time.

Total miles hiked - 8.5 miles
Total ascent - 1600 feet
Maximum elevation - 7,400 feet

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rainier Vacation Part 5 - Burroughs mountain

Day 5
Part 5 of our Rainier camping & hiking trip. 

If you'd like to catch up, you can read - 
Part 1 HERE about our camp at White River
Part 2 HERE about our Owyhigh lakes hike, 
Part 3 HERE about our hike to Emmons Glacier and Glacier Basin
Part 4 HERE our Shadow lake loop hike.

We woke to a chilly morning, the snow had fallen lower and was visible on the hill above our campground.

We decided to go on up to Sunrise and get a hike in anyway. We chose Burroughs mountain.
When we arrived at the Sunrise visitor center parking lot we noticed the flag flying straight out with a stiff wind.

Time to bundle up in our layers, it was cold!

Looking down at the visitor center with a winter like view.

The trail was icy in places and I'd wished I had brought my Yaktrax with me.

As we made our way up the trail we were right in the path of the wind as the clouds moved in and out it caused near white outs (very low visibility).

Even though there are 3 Burroughs to the Burroughs mountain trail, we decided the 1st Burrough would be good enough for today. We took our pictures on top, found a shelter spot for a quick lunch and then continued on the loop trail back past Shadow lake and on to Sunrise.

Our lunch spot.

As we headed down we were instantly out of the wind, which was a relief. We could now take our time and enjoy the peek a boo views. The trail was still a bit icy until it turned to slush in places.
The trail around Burroughs mountain allowed us to look up the Emmons Glacier, We hiked to the glacier overlook and above the "Kettle" lake below our 3rd day - Part 3's post.

If you are able to zoom in the photo below, you will see a parking lot about half way down the White river on the left. That is the climbers parking lot in the White River campground where we were staying.

A quick view of Little Tahoma. Tahoma is the Native American name for Mt. Rainier. 
Here is a brief quote I found from THIS article - "Personification, Before the mountains became Gods in these stories, they were people. In the origin stories of Mount Rainier, the mountain is described as a large woman who lived west of Puget Sound, in what is now the Olympic Mountains. Her husband had two wives, both of whom fought with the other, Feeling cramped and embattled, the woman left the crowded Olympics with her son and went to the open plains out east. With room to breath, the woman and her son grew quite large, becoming Mount Rainier and Little Tahoma respectively."

A fox ran beside us and just as I noticed it, it noticed us and made a hasty exit. I happened to have my camera out because a couple of deer were near us so I quickly turned and was able to get a view of him running away! We reported our finding at the Visitor center upon returning and they verfied that we had seen a Cascade Mountain fox.

These are the deer we'd been watching,

and just before we got to the parking lot the clouds parted and there was Mt. Rainier. I wanted to stay there forever and enjoy the view and the warmth from the sun, but our camp was calling it was time to head back.

Total miles hiked - 5 miles
Total ascent - 800 feet
Maximum altitude - 7,200 feet