I sure did get a lot of grief from my fellow Senior Trailblazers for last Monday's post. Everyone ribbed me because of all the commenters who pointed out that I am getting JADED. Well, today was spectacular in just about every way. When four of us went up to Church Meadow in July, it was covered with snow. In that post, I showed what it had looked like the year before on the same date. As you can see from the above picture, today we were in abundant lush growth and full sun. We made it to the summit.
Ten of us headed up today, last Thursday's group plus Linda and Ward. We kept seeing fields like the one above that have only recently come out from under the snow and are filled with vistas of beautiful flowers. The difference between the flowers from today's hike and that of last week's Welcome Pass have nothing to do with abundance but everything to do with variety. In the foreground you can see huge clumps of false hellebore, nowhere near blooming, but lots of other flowers on the crest of the hill are in full bloom. We did have to cross a few snow fields, not too many, but here you can see the incredible mountain vistas that opened up to us the higher we climbed.
That is our friend Mount Baker hiding its top behind that cloud. As we gained altitude, we saw more and more breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. It was quite hot but a light breeze helped us out now and then. Once we had left the dense forest and started hiking in the full sun, it was challenging to keep my heart rate in a safe zone.
As I looked down at the flowers, the snow, the views, I took plenty of time to take pictures and catch my breath. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but I was really happy whenever one of those clouds would give me a little respite. Once you reach the final push, there is a 100-foot scramble to the summit. I used my self timer to take this picture on the summit (Peggy and Mike skipped this part).
Al, Fred, Diane, me, Ward, Amy, Linda
You will have to forgive Diane for trying to make Fred look like he has horns. You have to watch some people all the time, and I was busy setting up the self timer so I missed it, but it's still a pretty good picture. We had a great lunch break, but the incessant sunshine was making me long for the shade of the trees at the beginning of this hike.
We headed back down to the cars, with a marvelous day behind us. We covered nine miles and climbed and descended 3,800 feet. I have to say the downhill this time was easier than the uphill climb, even though my knees still complained plenty. Now that I am home and self-medicated with a glass of wine, I'm feeling quite happy for having spent another wonderful day in the wilderness with my best buddies. And now I get to share it with YOU!