Mt Baker and North Cascades NP

Patty posing for Mt Shuksan

We are so close to Mt Baker that we can see it from Greater Vancouver on a clear day. We decided to finally drive there and do some hiking for the day. It was a beautiful sunny day, we left early and drove 30 miles east of Bellingham on the Mt Baker Hwy, Hwy 542, and followed the signs past the ski area and Picture Lake, Mt Baker at 10,781 ft, is the third-highest mountain in Washington State and the fifth-highest in the Cascade Range. We hiked the Artist Ridge Trail, 2 miles RT, to an overlook with spectacular mountain panoramas. We could see Mt Shuksan, 9,131 ft, an “Alp of the Northwest”  in the distance and meandering up the staircased trail we had beautiful mirrored reflections of Mt Shuksan in snow-melt ponds. Mt Baker peeked through the trees along the trail. We met a local couple, Dean and Dudley Evenson, he was playing the flute, while she was taking video of him (www.soundings.com) making CDs for relaxation music and videos. Click on thumbnail to view images

Mt Baker

Winthrop

We left Aldergrove, BC, on September 15th and headed east to the North Cascades National Park.. South of Bellingham we turned east at Burlington and followed Hwy 20, along the North Cascades Scenic Byway, the most scenic mountain drive in Washington. We drove to the quaint, western town of Winthrop and stayed at the Riverbend RV Park, in Twisp. Winthrop, is a great town full of historical buildings in the American Old West design, it is home to the oldest legal saloon in Washington State, and naturally we had to visit it for a beer. We went into Twisp for breakfast one day and had the freshest meal ever, cooked right in front of us. We also visited Sun Mountain Lodge near Winthrop and hiked some of the many trails they offer. It is a beautiful location and would make a great weekend getaway. Click on thumbnail to view images

North Cascades NP

We drove in the Jeep along Hwy 20 to the Ross and Diablo Lake Overlooks with great views of Diablo Lake, Sourdough Mountain and many majestic peaks in the distance. We parked at the trailhead for the Heather Maple Pass Loop Trail, a 7.2 mile RT hike, with a 2000ft elevation gain. We headed counter-clockwise uphill through second-growth forest, and after 1.25 miles, we branched off the trail to view Lake Ann, a jewel cradled in a talus bowl, a glacier cirque. Soon we reached Heather Meadows with stunning views of more lakes and mountains. Continuing along the ridge line towards Maple Pass we wandered around for a while gazing at the views both at our feet and off to the horizon including the stately Liberty Bell group and past that, to a sea of peaks stretching out in every direction as far as your imagination can hike. Then the trail starts switch-backing downwards. and the last 2.5 miles drops 1,700 feet down, down, down, past views of Rainy Lake, and back to our Jeep. This was by far one of the best day hikes we have experienced, the views are unbelievable. Click on thumbnail to view images