I almost interrupted this series of hikes for a post from a recent lovely autumn day but decided to save it for next week (stay tuned), as this is the last hike in Washington state.
Before we reached our destination, we stopped to see a thundering waterfall. No salmon could come home to lay eggs up that part of the river. But the river to the right (North Fork Nooksack River) has plenty of space for returning salmon. You have the hear this waterfall to appreciate its power from all the water flowing down. It was about 35′ high.
Table Mountain, located off Mt. Baker Highway, is about 1 and 1/2 hours from Bellingham. We visited the beautiful ranger station I mentioned in my first Washington hiking post: Hiking the Cascades, Skyline Divide to use their picnic tables. After a perfect lunch prepared by Laurie, we traveled into the back country to Mt. Shuksan and Table Mountain. As mountains go, Table Mountain is very small, but the 360° view it gives you is wonderful. To borrow a statement from the Washington Trails Association: Table Mountain is the plateau that resembles a giant anvil wedged between “the great white one”(Baker) and “the rocky and precipitous one” (Shuksan).
This is Mt. Shuksan, the first view after getting out of the car in the parking lot. I had to run over to a sign to use as a monopod before we did any hiking (I’ve given up carrying a tripod on most hikes – too much weight). As usual, the photo doesn’t do credit to the immensity of the mountain and the beautiful glaciers falling down the sides. The snow is really blue on the ends.
After reading the flyer from the ranger station about the steep ascent up the rock face of the mountain, Surprisingly, I saw small children hiking and babies being carried up the steep rocky steps. The sun is shining to the south, showing us Mt. Shuksan, but behind us, Mt. Baker never came out of hiding from behind the clouds. You really can’t see too well, but there are two people at the top of the rise past the snow.
You can barely distinguish the snowy sides of Mt. Baker right in the middle of the photo above.
The snow melt causing this little depression (tarn) to fill up with icy cold water is coming from behind me.
On the right of this photo is a wee bit of dust between the evergreens. As Laurie and I were standing right here, an avalanche broke free and rocks slid down the mountain for about 30-45 seconds. I guess one rock finally broke free because of a tree root or ice and decided to let loose, carrying many others with it down the slope. It was loud and dusty! While in the mountains, you often see rock slides that have happened, but not necessarily while you’re 40′ from it.