The Hike to Lake Ann

I figured I would post about this hike today, since it’s exactly one month after we hiked it! On Labor Day weekend, Marcus, Josh, Lana and I drove up Baker to hike to Lake Ann. This was the longest hike that I had been on all year, clocking in at around 8 miles. It was 4.5 miles to get to the lake and walk around it.

Starting off, we immediately started going downhill on a twisty trail. At the bottom, it levels out, and opens up into a valley. Walking through this valley was really cool; there was a creek running alongside you most of the time, with pools turning up here and there. There were also some pretty cool flowers around. A little while longer down the trail, we had to cross one of the creeks.

Fording the creek

Fording the creek

At this point, we got to start going back uphill again, gaining all the elevation we just lost, and then some.  We went through forest, meadow, across a rocky slope, uphill some more, and then across snow. It’s quite the uphill hike, but the scenery is awesome.  Once we got to the top of the snow bank, we could see our destination, Lake Ann.

As soon as we got there, it started to rain. We unpacked our lunch and ate, and by the time we were done with lunch, the rain had cleared, and we got to see Lake Ann in full view.

The troops checking out our surroundings

The troops checking out our surroundings

As we walked around the lake, we could see waterfalls on the other side of another valley, and a creek running through the meadow below. It was really cool. We didn’t get to see Mt. Shuksan because it was clouded in, but I hear it’s a staggering sight when it’s clear.

Mt. Shuksan? The ridge on the other side? So many clouds!

Mt. Shuksan? The ridge on the other side? So many clouds!

Once we got to the other side of the lake, we decided to scale a rock cliff.

It was a ton of fun climbing up this!

It was a ton of fun climbing up this!

By the time we reached the top and explored for a little bit, it was time to head back, but not without Josh trying his hand at some sledding using a big trash bag. Also, we made some friends on the way back:

Our new friend. Do you see him?

Our new friend. Do you see him?

All in all, it was a great hike. I’d highly recommend it if you have a whole day you want to spend on the trail, and you are up to the task of around 1800-1900 feet of total elevation gain. It was fun, and like I said before, the scenery was amazing.

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie trail page: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/recreation/activities/trails/mbrd_0600.htm

Google Maps My Tracks link: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=104267287821387947962.00048f8fc1d0fbf893ff3

Table Mountain Hike

A couple of weeks ago we decided that if we were going to make it up to the Mt. Baker area for some hiking, we had better go soon before it gets too cold. We had wanted to hike Table Mountain earlier this year, but the road to Artist Point hadn’t been plowed at that time. Jason’s brother Tristan wanted to go along too, so we packed up and headed up the mountain. When we made it to Artist Point, we got a good view of the hike ahead of us.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain

The trailhead was covered in snow, and we almost immediately began hiking what turned out to be a pretty treacherous trail. The path is narrow, made of loose rocks, and runs in switchbacks up the side of the mountain. You get some pretty good views though!

The Awesome Mt. Baker Wilderness

The Awesome Mt. Baker Wilderness

The weather wasn’t exactly 65 degrees and sunny, like it was in Bellingham, but we had fun on the icy snow.

Tristan and Jason

Tristan and Jason

It doesn’t take long to reach the summit, and once you get there, it’s just as you would expect from its name; flat like a table. We wandered around the perimeter of Table Mountain for a little bit, checking out the views. We found some cool glacier pools and Jason enjoyed throwing rocks over the cliff and listening to the ricochet sounds.

Glacier Pools in the Background

Glacier Pools in the Background

Throwing Rocks! Cool Sounds!

Throwing Rocks! Cool Sounds!

We decided to hike up to the highest point on Table Mountain which was a steep, muddy, but well maintained trail.

Climbing Up

Climbing Up

… and were rewarded with great views of Mt. Baker.

Mt. Baker

Mt. Baker

The clouds had rolled in by this time and it started to rain, so Malorie was definitely ready to start hiking back. The view was much different on the way back.

Hiking In The Clouds

Hiking In The Clouds

Even though Table Mountain was a fairly easy hike, it was one of our best hikes this season. There weren’t a lot of people on the trail, there’s a lot of wilderness to explore, and awesome views.

Here are the My Tracks maps of our trek. This one is from the Table Mountain trailhead to the summit:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=104267287821387947962.00048eff8cd10308a67c5

And this one is from the summit westward:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=104267287821387947962.00048eff943b2dd936cd8

Picture Lake and Horseshoe Bend Trail

A few weeks ago, we went with Jason’s parents up to Mt. Baker to go explore the area. We didn’t make it all the way up to Artist Point as we had hoped, since the road hadn’t been plowed all the way yet. We were hoping to hike up to Table Mountain, but that will have to wait for another day. We did make it to Picture Lake however, which has beautiful views of Mt. Shuksan.

Mt. Shuksan

Mt. Shuksan at Picture Lake

Jeff and Kathi

Jeff and Kathi (Jason's parents)

Us!

Us!

After walking around the lake, we piled back into the car and drove down to the base of the mountain. Near the Glacier ranger station, there is the trailhead for the Horseshoe Bend Trail (http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/recreation/activities/trails/mbrd_0687.htm). Since the Table Mountain trail was closed (well, the parking area for it was), we decided to try this trail.

We started off down some stairs which led to the trail right next to the Nooksack River. The trail weaves back and forth parallel to the river the whole way. The river has many rapids in this area, making it very loud.

Nooksack River

Nooksack River

The hike is nice and pretty easy, and pretty well maintained… to a point. Once you get past the area that most people hike to, the trail is semi-overgrown, and the trail rolls up and down the ridge. We followed the trail for a while, until we got to this lookout:

Horseshoe Bend

One arm of Horseshoe Bend

We thought we had made it to Horseshoe Bend. Technically we did, but just barely, as you can see from this map: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=http://www.garafa.com/GPSKit/tracks/15df6cf1d6a732b171db65286920997683602a58_4.kml

Overall, it was a nice hike on such a hot day. Being next to the river in the shade helped keep us cool and made the hike more enjoyable.  We still hope to hike Table Mountain later this year, but only if we can make it up there before it starts snowing again!

Lily Lake, Oyster Dome and Bat Caves, Oh My!

This last Saturday, July 10th, Mal and I went on our first hike of the season. It was a pretty late start for the hiking season this year, since the weather wasn’t that great in June. Last year we had been on several hikes by this time, so we had to make this a good one… and a good one it was! We drove up to the Samish Overlook, and got ready to go.

Getting Ready to Go

Getting Ready to Go

After surveying the land…

View from Samish Overlook

View from Samish Overlook

…we started off toward Lily Lake. Of course, we couldn’t take the “Lily Lake Trail,” we had to take Max’s Shortcut to Lily Lake instead. The path is pretty well maintained and not too difficult for the first .5 – 1.0 mile. Then, you get some elevation gain… about 550’ of it all at once. Maybe if you are an avid hiker you would think differently, but for us that a workout! After a few breather / water breaks, the trail finally leveled off. Another .5 – 1.0 mile and we reached Lily Lake… or what we thought was a dried up Lily Lake:

"Lily Lake"

It turns out that the actual lake was just a few more steps down the trail, but we didn’t take it that far. Oh well, I guess Lily Lake will just have to wait until another hike! After a break at “Lily Lake,” we took the trail loop over to Oyster Dome. The trail took us up another 150’ or so, where we reached the summit of our hike – Oyster Dome:

We Made It!

We Made It!

The views are spectacular – Samish Bay, the San Juan Islands, and a beautiful evergreen forest spread out beneath us.

View from Oyster Dome

View from Oyster Dome

After looking around, and “prancing around on the edge of a cliff” (that’s what Mal says when I’m walking close to the edge), we decided to hike down to the Bat Caves right below Oyster Dome. The trail down is about a 0.1 mile hike with a 260’ elevation loss. It is not a good trail for the weak-kneed (like Malorie), but she managed alright with a couple breaks.

Looking Back Up at Oyster Dome

Looking Back Up at Oyster Dome

The Bat Caves were also a lot of fun, for me at least. I love jumping around from rock to rock, over cracks and crevices in the rocks. There were also lots of caves and caverns that you could crawl in and down into, which were also fun to explore:

Looking Into My Cave

Looking Into My Cave

In My Cave

In My Cave

Mal Looking Into Her Cave

Mal Looking Into Her Cave

...And Now Mal's in Her Cave!

...And Now Mal's in Her Cave!

The afternoon sun was really hot when we were out on the rocks. Once we crawled into our caves though, it was a lot cooler. Quite pleasant actually, I could have camped there! After taking shelter from the sun for a few minutes, it was finally time to head back to the car.

All in all, it was a great hike to start the summer off with. You can’t go wrong with Oyster Dome, and adding on a few other side hikes just makes it that much better!

Here is a map of our route. I was learning how to use the GPS software on my phone, so the two straight lines in our path are where I accidently turned it off. 🙁

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=http://www.garafa.com/GPSKit/tracks/f6f9a3864ba1f271b3f437e693004ff8fb1a661b_2.kml

Now get out there and hike it!

-Jason