Friday, February 5, 2010

Stewart's south summit

Yesterday, 16 Senior Trailblazers headed up to what we usually call "Cub Creek" from the north shore of Lake Whatcom here in Bellingham. But since the day dawned crisp, clear, and without a trace of snow, we decided to try a hike up higher than we usually do, and more challenging. Last year we were turned back on Stewart Mountain much earlier because of snow, but since Bellingham tied the record for the warmest January EVER last month, we had no snow and abundant sunshine.
About half the hike was on trail and half on road as in these pictures (click on any to enlarge). We started at 400 feet and ended up at 3,100 feet, but the aggregate uphill (and downhill) we accomplished was almost 3,000 feet, covering just under 12 miles. This was grueling for me, because the uphill was mostly quite steep, and the downhill very hard on the joints, even using the trekking poles. We also passed under power lines, which buzzed and hummed, and in this picture you can see the power lines and the long shadows from the February sun.
As we gained altitude, we got some really glorious views. In the foreground you can see power lines, with Lake Whatcom in the lower right, and Bellingham Bay in the middle of the picture. Looking to the southwest, we could see the area where we hiked last Thursday, in Anacortes, with the Olympics in the far background. However, the real excitement came from our views of the Twin Sisters and Mt. Baker, which I have now seen from just about every side. This was taken from the south summit of Stewart Mountain, Baker on the left and the Sisters on the right.
The area where we hiked has a fair amount of clear cut, using the trees for logging purposes and leaving behind rather unsightly piles of detritus and denuded hilltops. Although I have tried to keep those pictures out of view, it's impossible as I show you our lunch spot, high atop the south summit.
It was a little cold from the wind, but the temperature, if not balmy, was very mild for the first week in February. After lunch, we were all happy to make our way back down to the trailhead, tired, sore, and feeling like we accomplished quite a lot for a bunch of old geezers and geezettes. If you enlarge this last picture, you can clearly see the denuded hillside directly in front of us. Although these might seem annoying, I am still so thrilled that I have (1) a wonderful place to hike every week, (2) a great bunch of people to hike with, and (3) the physical ability to still keep on trekkin'!


  1. The views are indeed gorgeous, but hiking 12 miles, much of it up a mountain? I don't see myself doing that! Kudos to you, I'm in awe of you and your fellow trailblazers!

  2. Wow! Just wow!
    twelve miles up hill? I'd be dead.
    I am so impressed!

  3. I can see why you love the hiking so much. The views really are incredible. I have to say I can see why Mt. Baker is such a favorite of yours:)

    It's sad, isn't it, to see all of the human impact on nature? I admire your grateful take on it all, though.

  4. That view of the city skyline is really spectacular. I bet it would be a fantastic sight at night with the lights below. Of all winters for it to be warm there, it would be this one with the Olympics ready to start. I have seen them on TV trucking snow into to the venue areas. I hate to wish a snowstorm upon you, but it sure is needed right now.

  5. Beautiful hike, but I always feel so sad when I see what all of the logging (without replanting) has done to Oregon and Washington. Driving through Oregon you just need to leave the main road, which has heavy forest lining the sides, to see vast tracts of deforested land. Tricky, they are. Flying over the state is even worse -

    I do have to say - I envy you the ability to get out and hike in a more temperate climate than here. It is white, white, white.

  6. Those views are incredible - you must be so fit to manage all that too.

    Kate xx

  7. Why to go! I love it. I wish I could find a group of like-minded people like that out here in the boonies. Oh well my GSD Baron is a good hiking companion.

  8. Ahh nice to see you hike again! As usual the views are very panoramic and I can almost feel and smell the sweet breeze and fresh air.


  9. Gorgeous views DJan, I especially like the shot of Baker and the Sisters. You had a great day for a hike. We finally got a tiny bit of the sun yesterday afternoon. It sounds like you had a great hike, I would love to find a group here like yours.

  10. It is so cool that you can walk like that and I am jealous! Your photos are so beautiful and the blues are stunning. What a wonderful way to spend your retirement!

  11. I like your cool photos.

    Part of your confusion is that I have been on steroids for this lung and cough problem and they make me feel very good or highly energetic and creative and things I seldom do. Thinking I was too old, too dumb and too far over the hill.

    Here is the tale.

    We were at a Nature Farm. Patty and me. I looked at the chickens in the pen. She decided to go into the chicken house. The chicken house is under a monumental oak tree. She was inside and I was outside.

    There was an air show underway at Dayton International Airport. Lots of planes, we noticed had flower over our heads as they turned about over the farm and headed back to fly over the crowds waiting for them.

    The big plane went over the first tiem and I heard it coming. It sounded very loud and the female pilot (I didn't know she was a female then, not that it makes any difference) was goosing the engines to keep the altitude which was way low so when Patty came out of the chicken house the plane was almost directly overhead and looked like it was going to crash into the oak tree. I had taken the larger show as it was coming around.

    I also took one of the plane giving the oak tree a buzz cut and I took the smaller photo of the plane as it was scooting away.

    When I assembled them for the post I just stuck the two together as they flew around twice. I will have to post the one of the plane in the oak tree. Same plane.

  12. Glad to see you guys are still hiking hard. Reminds me to get my butt off the chair and get out in the fresh air a little more often...

  13. It's a great way to keep fit and get some fresh air!
    Blessings, Star

  14. I love your hikes, the view of Mt Baker was beautiful! I could never tire of those kind of views! Twelve rock !! It looks to me like that area is starting to grow up some again or has been replanted. I hope they are planting as many as they harvest...I know it is sad to see..I see it here too..lots of clear cutting..but it makes sense to clear out the overstory sometimes...timber is a crop but we don't often think of it that way:)


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