Sunday, October 26, 2008

a wintry fall weekend at mt. baker

We have been fortunate to have each weekend this October be a beautiful one. With moving into our new home and refinishing our floors, we haven't had much time to get out. So we were sure to schedule one last weekend outside before winter sets in.
We had heard of the beautiful fall colors around Mt. Baker, so we decided to pack our bags and head out for an overnighter.

The articles were right...this area was truly breath-taking. Brooke grabbed this shot roadside on our drive up the mountain.

The ever-dominating 'Western Hemlock' turns a brilliant shade of gold and, when contrasted against the ever-so-green-evergreen, pops out like a diamond in a mud pit.

We could live here.

A Christmas tree farm.

Rushing waters.

We took in as much of this drive as we could. We knew it would be much colder the further we went.

And it was! We got all packed up and went off on the trail...err...wait....where is it?

We finally found it after trying a few others. Evidently, Mt. Baker takes down all their signage after the summer is over. Good luck snowshoers!

Some little red berries.

Very quickly our last 'fall' weekend turned into a winter wonderland. The area had just received 4-6" of fresh snow the night before. Just enough to cover the ground. But this didn't stop us.

Andrea, making her way up to Artists' Point.

Following the Wild Goose Trail.

Brooke, standing firm after a few small (melon-sized) rocks came tumbling down the hillside right toward his wife's head. Thanks, honey. Good thing I ducked and they shot right over me!

The trail, skirting the east side of Table Mountain. There was a beautiful mix of fall colors and winter snow.

I loved the cut of these rocks.

The colors were amazing.

We went to the right, following along the Chain Lakes loop trail.

Just over the saddle, the snow was a little thicker. Snowshoes were not required (good!...we still have to find ours from last season!) but might have been helpful in this section. It was nearing 2p and the clouds were finally starting to part.

Check out the icicles on this poor little, wind-blown tree!

Heading through the moraine field to our campsite.

We made it....Mazama Lake. Located at about 5500 ft. A quiet, beautiful lake looking up to Mt. Baker.

I love this stuff!

The reflection of Table Mountain on the lake.

More greens.

We were the only campers on the lake. In fact, we didn't see any other backpackers the entire trip. [except for the man that parked next to us who walked away with his camo bags/sleeping bag and his rifle. yeah. we went the opposite direction.]

We had to keep moving to stay warm. We set up camp and Brooke went to town making dinner and hot cocoa. We were sure to boil enough water to put in our nalgenes which we then threw in the bottom of our sleeping bags [great tip for a cold winter night.]

We got to sleep in two new homes within one week! Our new winter tent kept us amazingly warm in the 27.5 degree weather. Yes, It reads 27.5 degrees. And this was taken at 6:05 in the evening. The sun was still 'out.'

We crawled into tent around 7p, since we had no daylight or activities to keep up warm.

We woke the next morning to a beautiful crisp sunny day.

This was an icicle plucked from the ground and turned upside down. Awesome!

We went over to the other side of the lake to see the sun beaming on Mt. Baker. This young volcano sits at 10,778 ft. in the Cascade Range.

Trying to stay warm during sunrise.

The lake skimmed over with ice. Our tent, a speck on the other side.

We packed up and hiked out...hoping to find more fall than winter today.

Brooke, at Iceburg Lake. Yeah. There were no Iceburgs today. But supposedly there will be come [real] winter!

gettin' sassy.

Getting warm hiking up and over the saddle, Brooke begins to shed layers. It's much warmer today than it was yesterday!

It was worth every step up to the saddle. A beautiful panorama showing [left to right] Mt. Shuksan, Table Mountain, and Mt. Baker.
Is this for real?....

Red berries with Mt. Shuksan as the backdrop.

Wait...we found fall! Only 2 miles left of our hike...and we found fall!! It was a little weak, but still lovely.

We finished up our hike feeling refreshed and energized. It was a great weekend to get outside and see the last of fall and the beginning of winter.