The two other times I've joined the Senior Trailblazers for this hike up Anderson Mountain, we were able to begin here at the Big Stump, driving in on the access road. Today ten of us began the hike at the Alger road, as a gate closing off the area was closed. This added two miles to our hike. Not many showed up for the usual Thursday outing, since the weather was forecast to be, at best, "rain at times." Yesterday we had several inches of rain as a system moved through the entire state, with many of our local rivers close to or at flood stage. It was sprinkling when we started out, dark and gloomy.
It was also quite muddy over most of the trail, as you can see here, with water flowing on either side of the bridge, as well as in front and back. But we came prepared with waterproof shoes and plenty of rain gear. Don't be fooled by Mike's lack of clothing in that first picture; as many of you already know, he's our resident alien and uses his umbrella to keep the rain off while wearing as little as possible. (In his backpack he's carrying everything the rest of us are already wearing.)
As we gained altitude, we ran into quite a bit of snow. We only went another half mile or so after we began hiking on the snow, since we knew we would have little to no view when we reached the summit, and if we turned around right here, we would still have covered our usual distance. The snow is several inches deep here, so we decided to retreat into the woods for lunch before heading back down. The hike is partly on old logging roads, partly through a clearcut area, but it also has several nice sections on the Pacific Northwest Trail. Something for everybody.
The rain had stopped by the time we ate lunch, and as we walked back through the clearcut area, we saw the clouds lift a little, showing us Lake Whatcom below. It was our first view of anything all day. The white clouds on the lake are caused by the difference between the water temperature and the ambient air, making a fairytale scene. In a few minutes they were gone, so I felt very fortunate to catch this view.
As we headed back down the road to our cars, the sun began to break through the clouds and changed the atmosphere (and our moods) to one of sun-dappled smiles as we walked into the sunshine. For the day, we covered nine miles and 2200 feet elevation gain and loss. Not a bad day at all, considering what it might have been had the wind and rain continued. I'm happy to be home and ready to settle in for the evening.