Hiking the Washington Cascades, Mt. Baker, Skyline Divide

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Beautiful Ranger Station. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933.
Beautiful ranger station, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933.

This little ranger station on the approach to MANY trails on Mt. Baker and other mountains in the Cascades had the most beautiful stone-work and woodwork detail. Even though it’s been 80 years since President Roosevelt put young men to work in the Civilian Conservation Corps, you can still see their handiwork throughout the United States. Clicking on the link will open a new page in your browser to read about the 3 million young men who helped build and reforest our national parks, battlefields, roads, etc. for $30 a month (sent $25 home and kept only $5).

While staying with my friends Laurie and Kevin, we had waited three days for the weather to clear and decided to chance a hike even though it was cloudy and spitting rain. All of the hikes in Washington were in moist air with lots of greenery around.

Beautiful Lupines, White Indian Paintbrush.
Beautiful Lupines, White Indian Paintbrush.

The climb up the mountain was steep and fast. My hair was completely drenched from sweat when we took a break for lunch under some trees (spitting rain again).

Damp moss and wet jeweled cobwebs.
Damp moss and wet jeweled cobwebs.
This is when the sun was still trying to pop through.
The sun is trying to pop through occasionally.
Stopped raining by the time lunch was over, a little bit of sun was coming through.
It stopped raining by the time lunch was over, we are nearing the top of the divide. Clouds are still hanging around.

Skyline Heather

The pinkish color in the far valley is from Heather.
The pinkish color in the far valley is the glow from heather (close-up photo).
Beautiful emerald meadows and heather and clouds. We are still on our way to the ridge.
Beautiful emerald meadows and heather and clouds. We are still on our way to the ridge.
Clouds are now covering what was clear just a couple minutes before.
Clouds are now covering what was clear just a couple of minutes before.
Hot, humid, rainy, but you can see by our smiles, we're still loving getting those endorphins going.
Hot, humid, rainy, but you can see by our smiles, we’re still loving getting those endorphins going.
Last bit of snow
Last bit of snow

After seeing the snow, the clouds wrapped themselves around us and we could not see anything but gray. Not really wanting to get lost in the clouds, we turned around and started back down the darkening trail even though it’s only 3 in the afternoon.

But before leaving: check out these beautiful Pacific Northwest wildflowers that called for a photograph or three.

Raining now, Orchid? (My flower ID book is not with me).
Raining now, Orchid? (My flower ID book is not with me).
Campanula?
Campanula?
Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paintbrush
Fog and Trees, one of my favorite things.
Fog and Trees, two of my favorite things.
This was why we decided to come back down from the top as soon as we got there, we almost needed our headlamps.
This was why we decided to come back down from the top as soon as we got up there, we almost needed our headlamps to see the trail.
Clouds are closing in
Clouds are closing in. These are not flat trails, my friends are steeply downhill from where I was taking the photo – even though it looks flat.
All the creeks and rivers are gray from glacier melt and minerals and yes, it was a gray day.
All the creeks and rivers are gray from glacier melt and minerals and yes, it was a gray day causing gray reflections.

Stay tuned for another hike in the Cascades. Feel free to comment, I love getting feedback.

 

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