Thursday, July 30, 2009


Day two of hiking dawned with two of the group injured and staying behind. The only good thing about this is that they were able to drop us off at a trailhead and pick us up at another which saved us four miles of hiking-THANK GOODNESS! The day was cloudy and overcast and actually a little cool. We would wish for these temperatures later in the week!

Today's hike-High Divide Trail- included passing by Damfino Lake, crossing Excelsior Pass, and Welcome Pass-10 miles. This included passing through some of the most beautiful wildflower meadows that I have EVER seen. One of the stark differences in this year's hikes was the obvious absence of lakes. We passed by Damfino Lake early in the hike and learned the origin of the name (Damn If I Know) and it was very low. The absence of water leads to the absence of animals. During the entire trip we saw a couple of marmots and a couple of chipmunks-THAT IS IT! After last year's trip and multiple bears everyday-I must admit I was not that disappointed. Unfortunately one of the hikers was not on last year's trip and really wanted to spot a bear.

Mt. Baker and Mt. Shucksan were visible most of the way once we got out of the woods, but the high parts of both mountains were shrouded by the low clouds. Another sharp contrast was the absence of large number of hikers. We met more people on the weekend hiking, but the weekday hikes would sometimes have only a handful of fellow hikers. Most of the hikers we met were locals leading me to believe that the area is either under-rated or the economy is slowing traveling.

The climb to both of the passes was not extreme-just steady up. The end of the day and the final miles would lead to the discovery of what was REALLY the trying and difficult part of the hike. The last 3 miles lead to the sorest legs I have had since the last marathon. Surprisingly-the trial was on the downhill portion of the trail. 67 switchbacks at a steep decline for two miles led to PAIN! Keeping your brakes on for two miles is EXHAUSTING! I actually slipped and fell three times during the trek down. FINALLY we arrived at the Forest Floor only to discover another mile of trekking to get to the trailhead and a ride. I believe this was the MOST exhausted we were the entire trip. It was still worth EVERY ACHE AND PAIN!

Damfino Lake
Up the snowfield and over the fallen tree.
Emerging Upon The Meadow and Ridgeline.

The First Wildflower Meadow

It is MUCH more slippy than it looks and takes careful footing.

We often came across rock steps that had to be climbed.

Clouds shrouding Mt. Baker's Top

The Picture Does Not Do The Beauty Justice.

Our Resident Berry Spotter

Wildflowers Clinging to the Mountain Side.

Our "Boy Scout" gives us a geology lesson-GREEN STONE-GIRLS!

Looking Up Through Wildflower Fields

Many HUGE trees were splintered and on their sides.
The Ranger told us they have strong storms that cause this.
Check back tomorrow for Day 3 and a change in plans!


gabe said...


Hannah Lee said...

I can't believe yall hike for fun. Whatever...I guess I am too pregnant to even think that way. JK! Such beautiful pics!

jackie said...

Is that not the most beautiful country!? My brother lives in Seattle and my parents also when they were alive. We went on the North Cascades highway going to my daddy's hometown of Waterville once. It is absolutely beautiful in western WA. Would love to live there, but it is too darn expensive. Would have to live in a tent! Enjoy WA for me and soak up the beauty!

Deb said...

WOW! Sooooo gorgeous. I can almost smell the fresh.