Seventeen Senior Trailblazers carpooled to the Big Stump designating the beginning of today's hike, covering a total of just over ten miles and up and down somewhere around 2,200 feet of elevation. This beautiful picture of our friend Mt. Baker is taken in one of the only places where I had a view of the mountains that would peek every once in awhile through the trees, taken in the early afternoon. (News flash: our fearless leader just emailed me with my error: this is not Mt. Baker but is the South Sister! This is why it looks so different to me: it IS different!) The day had dawned beautifully clear and not cold, with a threat of rain in the afternoon forecast.
We started out with clear skies. After a short uphill hike, we passed through an area of clearcut forest, pretty sad looking, actually (click any photo to enlarge). But it was the first time we had a view, so I took this picture to show you the clear skies and the fallen trees we had to hike over and around. Once we left the clearcut behind and gained some elevation, we began to see some of the leftover snow from the system that moved through last week.
After a short while, we were hiking through snow at least 8 inches deep, which continued for a couple of miles. When I think of what it was like up there last Thursday, I'll bet lots of people were on cross country skis or snowshoes. We just slogged along, until we stopped for lunch at 12:00. Was I ever glad for my new gaiters!
At one point on the trail, we saw these skunk cabbage beginning to emerge in this stream. Some people have asked why "Fragrance Lake" has that name, well, it's these guys: and they are not fragrant in a good way, hence the name "skunk." But today these sprouts had no smell. We did hear hunters practicing their shooting for a long time, and we worried a little that the shots seemed awfully close at times. One of our hikers is a hunter, though, and he assured us that we would not be seen as game.
On the descent, I took this picture to show the bay as well as the threatening clouds. Before we reached our trailhead and the cars, it had begun to rain a little. It was wonderful to have a great excursion, with my good friends, and finish just as the rain began to fall. Now it's the end of the day, I have my wine, my partner, and the sore muscles from a good day's work.