Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mt. Baker in Washington

We finally pulled ourselves away from Whidbey Island and although our goal was North Cascades National Park we ended up at a magnificent spot west of there, Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest.  Michael had done some research on the area and available dispersed (free) camping.  That led us to forest route 12 and a premier spot looking at snow covered Mt.. Baker about 8 miles away.

Route 12 was very gravelly but for the most part easy to travel.  Most of the road was single lane with pull-offs in case there was an oncoming car.  Cars (traffic) was sparse, and people heading further up the mountain were on their way to Blue Lake.

On either side of the road, hemlocks, pines and other firs towered over us!  It was thick with trees in all directions!  So beautiful and green!  Distant mountains were visible, and beautiful tall stalks with purple flowers were lining the road.  We found these flowers in a field guide and they were identified as fireweed, which made no sense to us as they were purple and not the color of fire!

 Our campsite was at the end of a dead end road off of route 12.  By sheer luck we found it. We parked where stone berms prevented any further traffic, but the road continued past  the berms and we ended up scrambling over them to hike the road that continued for about a mile.  It was a relatively easy walk on gravel and a carpet of moss or lichen that cushioned our feet! We were rewarded with incredible views of Mt. Baker and the Cascade range!  Part of the fun was finding so many blueberry and raspberry bushes, and we went to town picking them!  Although I found they had a bitter aftertaste, Michael loved them and wrapped a bunch in a bandana to bring back to camp.  He ended up eating all of them on cereal and loved every bite!

We spent 5 nights camping here and excepted for the last day which was cloudy, every  day was sunny and the sky a glorious shade of blue.  If we set up our trails in the sun, it was hot!  Temps reached the high 80's, and humidity was in the low 30's, so it was tolerable. Whenever there was a bit of shade, we moved, and surprisingly it was cool and breezy then.  We often had Mt. Baker in our view and couldn't get enough of it!  Sometimes, clouds obscured parts of the mountains, and every once in a while, a cloud would look like steam coming out of Baker, which happens to be a volcano!
Cascade Range
Michael on trail from our camp

Mt. Baker

Interesting spreading moss, Club Moss

Happy hiker!

National Forest and Mt. Baker

Clouds obscuring Mt. Baker peak


No caption needed!