Mt. Shuksan over Picture Lake
This week we joined with 10 of our friends in the Happy Hikers group and went to the Mt. Baker Wilderness. We met at the upper parking area at Artist Point and divided into groups to hike different routes. After taking one car to the lower parking area, one group did the Chain Lakes loop ending at the lower parking area which is about a 7 mile hike, 3 people chose to go to Ptarmigan Ridge, about a 7 to 9 mile hike, and Bob and I did a round trip of 5 miles on the Chain Lakes trail. The third trail that takes off from this upper parking area is to Table Mountain. Below the lower lot is another trail to Lake Ann and still further down a trail to the Galena Lakes. There were several snow patches but the Chain Lakes trail was clear; however, the Ptarmigan Ridge group encountered snow on the trail that had to be crossed.
Lake Mazama and a smaller pond
Ice Berg Lake with sparkling water and snow patches on the hillsides
There are fish, probably trout, in all of these lakes and we met several folks with poles and gear. One girl, about 12 years old, told us she had caught two fish in Lake Hayes but released them since they were small.
The elevation gain was about 600 feet for us but most of that was on the return trip when feet and legs were getting a bit tired. There is not much cover or trees on this trail and the sun was out. Although I thought I had used enough sunscreen I had not gotten the back of my neck, hence sunburn was detected when we got home.
Note the blue bag dispenser
This section was a rocky scree, slippery walking on loose rocks
Most of the trail was more like this, packed dirt
The Chain Lakes trail has a few long stretches of rocky scree. At one point we heard some noise up above us on the hillside and glanced up in time to see rocks tumbling down. We watched for a few seconds and then stepped back away when we realized we might get hit. A man coming along behind us had also stopped and asked us if we had seen any goats as usually the falling rocks were caused by goats up above. Even though all three of us looked we did not see any so we couldn’t tell if goats started the rock fall or not.
A view of Mt. Baker from the trail
After several days of wildfire smoke drifting down from British Columbia, Canada it was really wonderful to have a day that had cleared out a bit. There was still a little haze but not nearly as much. The temperature was lower and the cool breezes kept us comfortable.
Hillside of fireweed
Mountain ash with berries
Natural garden of monkey flowers, daisies and, I think, groundsel
Happy dog cooling off in the snow
This man had a Great Dane and a very small dog in tow
This is a popular area and even though it was a weekday we stopped counting people pretty quickly when it became apparent the daily total would be well over 100. There were probably the most dogs on the trail to date and we stopped counting them as well but estimated the total at least 24 to 30. All kinds of dogs from Great Danes to tiny little Chihuahuas and one funny golden lab who rolled around in the snow patches at every opportunity.
Two Happy Hikers, near Ice Berg Lake and a hillside of lupine
We met a woman at Ice Berg Lake and talked with her for a while, then she offered to take our picture. She took 4 shots. Bob used one in his trip report and it was suggested that I use a different one. The one he used was perhaps a bit more flattering but this one is okay too.