Today was a mostly dry but overcast day (well, mostly overcast) for our regular Thursday Trailblazers hike. Twelve of us met at the Senior Center, and we set out in three cars to drive 40 miles south to the trailhead near Heart Lake. You can actually drive to the top of Mt. Erie, but there are numerous trails in the Anacortes Community Forest Land that give you plenty of options to get around without taking your car up there.
Carol and Sally show up every few months to join us. I was struck by the color of Sally's new raincoat. It's almost iridescent, don't you think? The rest of us were the regulars who rarely miss a hike; rain or shine we're out there. The weather forecast had promised little to no rain, and that's what we got, although yesterday's clear blue skies were what we kind of hoped for. However, as you can see from this picture near the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, the air was damp and hazy, with a bit of view but nothing spectacular.
We are looking out at the San Juan islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Usually we hike to the top of Mt. Erie first and then descend a bit and climb to the top of Sugarloaf. Today we reversed it, and visited Sugarloaf first. We knew that it wouldn't be likely we would linger terribly long for lunch today, since it wasn't very warm and although we weren't soaked through like last week, we hoped not to let ourselves get too cold. Today the view from Mt. Erie was nothing like we had last year.
Here we are, settling down for lunch, just as the sun broke through the clouds. Although we did have some sunshine, the humid air and a breeze kept us from hanging out for long. If you took a look at last year's picture, you know that sometimes we are able to see Mt. Rainier in the distance. Not today.
Looking down from the top of the mountain, you can see a road running across the middle of the picture. That's what we took to get to the trailhead. I have now seen this view three times, and every single time it's completely different. Since you can drive to this spot, usually we have plenty of other visitors on the summit with us. Again, not today. We saw one other car; otherwise we had it to ourselves, except for a nice man we met on the trail.
On the way home, I took this picture from inside the car looking back up at Mt. Erie from that road in the middle of the last picture. We hiked right around eight miles and covered 2,400 feet of elevation gain and loss. My knees are feeling it, too. As I've said before, without those trekking poles I wouldn't be able to do these weekly hikes, so I'm glad I have them. These are not the best pictures I've ever taken, but it is a fair and true chronicle of today's hike. I'm glad to be home and am now ready for my nightly glass of wine, which always makes my knees feel better.