Only nine Senior Trailblazers took advantage of a beautiful sunny day in the Mt. Baker wilderness. There are several reasons this might have happened: the weather on either side of Thursday was predicted to be terrible, and the hike up Goat Mountain was rated "hard." (Last year I never went on these myself, knowing that "moderate" might be at the edge of my ability.) The above picture was created by the mist rising from the recent rain as the sun came out early in the day. That's our fearless leader Al. (Click any picture to enlarge.)
We crossed several streams, mostly the same three streams as we switchbacked up the mountainside. Starting at an elevation of 2,500 feet, we started higher than any of the around-town hikes we make during the winter months. This was our first trek of the season into the High Country. We didn't know how far we would get before being turned back by snow.
As you can see, by the time we got to somewhere around 4,500 feet in elevation, we were unable to be sure of the trail because it was covered by snow. Now and then we would see it, but Al kept breaking through the snowpack and was sometimes breaking through up to his hip. Finally we decided to call it a day, making our day's hike only 7.5 miles and a total of 2,700 feet in elevation gain. We would have had to hike through snow for another 800 feet and somewhere near another mile to make it to the usual lunch spot, the meadow. Snow makes for much harder hiking. But, as you can see, the view was not bad!
Here's a view of Mt. Shuksan from our lunch spot, which emerged from the clouds just long enough for me to snap this picture. The clouds came and went all day, but we were mostly in the glorious sunshine and enjoying our beautiful day. Here's a picture of four of us as we headed back down after lunch:
Although some might have said we wimped out, I am still looking forward to the first time I will reach the meadows of Goat Mountain, and perhaps make it all the way to the summit. For now, I am very happy to have had a day in the sun, magical forest, and snow. On the way back down the road, we saw this glorious view of Mt. Shuksan, so we all piled out of the car and took lots of pictures of this stunning mountain.
With the clouds, the river in the foreground, and the trees in the middle distance, this mountain deserves to be photographed as often as possible. And I promise you, I will! I hope your day is as satisfying as this one was for me.