Thursday, December 10, 2009

Madrone Crest

Today 12 Senior Trailblazers set out to hike up to the Madrone Crest in the Chuckanuts. The hike started out at the same place as last week's hike to Raptor Ridge, but we quickly got off last week's trail to head up the Salal Trail (I wondered about the name; was it named after Sal and Al?), and then we hiked to two places where we could look over the town of Bellingham and see Mt. Baker.

Madrone (or Madrona) is the name of a particular kind of tree that is rapidly become more scarce. I took this picture today and looked it up for information. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it:
Although drought tolerant and relatively fast growing, the Pacific Madrone is currently declining throughout most of its range. One likely cause is fire control: under natural conditions, the madrone depends on intermittent naturally occurring fires to reduce the conifer overstory.

It is a broadleaf evergreen tree with rich orange-red bark that peels away on the mature wood, leaving a greenish, silvery appearance that has a satin sheen and smoothness. The exposed wood sometimes feels cool to the touch. In spring, it bears sprays of small bell-like flowers, and in autumn, red berries. The berries dry up and have hooked barbs that latch onto larger animals for migration.
To me, it's an odd looking tree. It doesn't look much like the other trees around it. Anyway, we found several of them on the Madrone viewpoint. We first hiked over to the Chuckanut Ridge to have a nice place for lunch, which incidentally lengthened the trip by a couple of miles.

It was very cold today, and when we started out the temperature was no more than 20 deg F (-7 C) and the day showed clouds for the first time in several days. The temperature inversion that has been in place for a week, causing the air quality to decrease, is beginning to break down, and snow is forecast in the near future, maybe as early as tomorrow. As you can imagine, we didn't spend lots of time sitting around basking in the nonexistent sun during our lunch break, so we ended up hiking up about 1,500 feet in elevation in a little more than 9 miles round trip. Another good day of exercise, with great friends. Here's the view of Mt. Baker from Madrone Crest:

And oh yes, the moss! Look at these alien beings -- er, trees -- covered with burls covered with moss. I could hardly believe that these trees are still alive and standing, with all the stuff they have accumulated! I took this picture just for you.



  1. Looks to have been a fabulous hike.

    We have Madrone trees but it has to grow naturally since it cannot be transplanted. When found, you leave them alone for the species is scarce.

    The giant tree trunks look weird. :D

  2. I liked the Madrone tree. I've never heard of it. It's interesting about the berries. Nature is a fabulous and wonderful thing, isn't it?

    The photo of Mt. Baker looks almost fake. The sun on the mountain is fantastic. Is it Paramount Pictures that has the mountain logo? That's what it makes me think of.

    The moss covered trees are great! The angle and the moss make me think of Dr. Seuss.

    I cannot believe that ya'll hiked that far in the frigid temperatures. I suppose it makes a difference when you have the appropriate clothing!

  3. I am learning so many things on your blog. I had never heard about that tree – I like its color. Walking in 20 degree temperature – my… you are a hardy soul! It was 68 here yesterday and today only 48 and I thought I’d freeze! Thanks for the photographs – really appreciate it.

  4. I love hiking in the winter weather too. Salal is a plant native to the Pacific Northwest - see here: - maybe Sal and Al named the plant ;-)

  5. You said on my 30 Day Throw Down blog, "It's late. Really late. Really really late." I concur. And maybe it will make sense to you then when I tell you that my bleary eyes saw "Madrone Crest" and I thought, "Ooooh! DJan is gonna tell me about a bird! I guess I was thinking "crested madrone or something.....

    And then when you mentioned the name of the place - Chukanuts - and I thought you meant maybe THAT was named after Sal and Al and I won't even tell you what I thought then....

    But I had the epiphany that perhaps I shouldn't read blogs late at night if I'm actually going to appreciate what's said. I WAS AWARE, however, that Mt. Baker is exquisite, you are a great photographer, I like trees that, like me, have accumulated much that is stuck to them, and a madrone is worth saving.

    I'm sorry I wasn't much good to you otherwise! :^) Great post, DJan!

  6. The first time I saw the Madrone tree was in Southern Oregon. But I didn't know that much about it, thanks for the information.

    I thought about you and your group today and wondered what kind of temps you would have, pretty much the same as us sounds like. Glad you had a good hike. Looks like the snow will get here this weekend.

  7. Isn't that funny! I'm in Ontario and our low was -3 and you're on the west coast and it was colder! (Funny odd, not funny ha ha!) The really cold air always makes my face hurt, so good for you, you can still get out and enjoy!

  8. Nine miles and "up" no less! And I scrolled down to see you bought a heater for you bird bath.

  9. I hope this beautiful tree is able to make it.

  10. Darn! It won't grow here! I had to look it up when I saw it. I love peely-bark trees. But it loves sand and cliffs, and does not like kids climbing on it!

  11. I had never heard of a Madrone tree. It's charming in an unusual sort of way. Sounds like you had a wonderful hike. As usual your photos are fantastic!

  12. All of the moss and ivy fascinates me about the Pacific Northwest. I can still remember how hard it was to grow Ivy in Reno. We nurtured it and babied it - only to chop and cut it back from EVERYTHING in Portland. The ivy will strangle a tree so it has to be cut back. 600 miles, but a world apart.

    Loved the last picture, especially. What a great way to spend a day.

  13. The Madrone trees bark is beautiful..I like trees. I was a forestry minor..a long time ago. The moss covered trees are beautiful..and your photo of MT.Baker..WOW!! Sounds like a great hike..thanks for sharing your hikes with us..:)

  14. LOVE the photos of the mountains and the moss on the tree..fantastic shots!

  15. Thanks and Thanks for being..... Ross


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