Well, Park Butte was a beaut! (Click any picture to enlarge.) Seventeen Senior Trailblazers hit the trail yesterday morning after a pretty long drive to the Mt. Baker Recreation Area, reached by heading down I-5 to the south of Bellingham. We all remarked on how dry it all is: western Washington is experiencing a significant drought. The period 20 May to 20 July is the driest on record. For us, this meant driving up a dirt road and kicking up enough dust to make everyone cough.
As you can see, it was cloudy and cool for most of the day. Once in a while the skies would clear off and we thought it would suddenly be blue, but it was more like the misty scene above all day long. It made for nice hiking, though. The hike was easy, compared to what we've been doing, a nice leisurely hike of 8 miles or so up about 2,000 feet to this lookout:
This is where we had lunch and enjoyed the view. Mt. Baker pretty much stayed hidden behind the clouds, but I've had plenty of wonderful views on recent hikes, so I didn't feel deprived. This lookout cabin is open to the public (with a box for donations inside).
Here is the view from the deck of the Lookout cabin, looking towards Mt. Baker and the Railroad Grade. That smooth gray area, as I understand it, is the grade, and it functions as access to the glacier on Mt. Baker on the left side of the picture. Ward is enjoying the view and his lunch. If you look closely you can see trails crisscrossing the landscape.
And of course I was forced to take some flower pictures. We saw phlox as above, heather, Indian paintbrush, and lots of lupines on the lower part of the trail. Plus some other flowers I couldn't identify. All in all, it was a day to re-create one's spirit, and enjoy the company of my friends.