Church Meadow (click to enlarge to get full effect)
Well, when I woke this morning to the sound of rain (again!) drumming on the roof, I figured we would have a pretty small group for our regular Thursday hike. I knew that the people who showed up today would be ready for a hike up the Church Mountain trail without expecting that we would reach the summit. We knew we would be turned back by snow before we got very far. When you compare today's trudge to the one in the same place exactly one year earlier (here's a link to that hike, with views), you can see that we are really having a difficult time trying to find SOME area near Mt. Baker that is near normal.
Al, Dennis, DJan having lunch at Church Meadow
Here you see the small number (four, with Mike behind the camera), Al, me, and a new guy, Dennis. It was his first time with the Trailblazers. For one thing, I believe that many of us, me included, were not thrilled to be hiking in the rain again, with no view. And after last Monday's beautiful and rather long hike, some were opting to skip it. I don't think any Trailblazer who is reading this and wondering if they made a wrong decision will mind having skipped today's hike.
We had a few stream crossings that were fun, and Mike used his umbrella in various capacities almost all day long. We got up to 4,600 feet elevation before running into snow, but we were able to continue on for another 300 feet and maybe another half mile before we stopped, had lunch in the freezing rain, and then turned around and headed back down.
This snow bridge across a stream is still in pretty good condition, and we were able to walk on top of the snow without much difficulty. But hiking in the snow when it's raining, and you know that your chances of a view are slim to none, made it unlikely that we would slog along, heads down, for much farther than three miles. That is exactly what we did.
By the time we reached the cars, we had covered close to six miles and 2,500 feet elevation gain and loss. In all, it was a very good day, and we made a new friend, even if we didn't get any views and used all our rain gear for the entire day. There were moments when the sun tried to break through, but they were few and far between. That's okay; Monday we had perfect hiking weather, and today we were few enough to be able to spend time chatting with everybody.