Last year, the Senior Trailblazers climbed Goat Mountain three times, turned back the first time (in July 2011) because of inclement weather and lots and lots of snow. Today we didn't actually hit the snow until we reached the "meadow" (remember in the Pacific Northwest at this time of year that meadows are often covered with snow) where three of the eight of us Trailblazers decided to stop and have a nice break, while the rest of us soldiered on to the summit.
We didn't have our usual leader today, Al, so Steve took over the official duties while I was elected to set the pace, which I agreed to reluctantly, mostly because I think Al and I have about the same pace. In the picture above, you can see that the last mile of the hike was very challenging, in lots of snow. Not to mention that this hike is not very long but never lets up in steepness: in a short three miles we climbed almost 1,000 feet per mile, with the last mile in blinding snow. You simply could not have attempted this climb today without sunglasses, it was so bright. Notice that there is not a cloud in the sky.
Terry, Peggy, Jonelle, and Steve (me behind the camera)
Once we reached the overlook, however, the payoff was tremendous. We had a 360-degree view of so many mountains: that is Shuksan behind my fellow Trailblazers, and we had views of Mt. Baker and Sefrit as well. We sat down and had a rather leisurely lunch, even though we were cognizant of our other three Trailblazers who had decided to stay below us on the dry trail.
Terry took this picture of me, which I like very much, showing Sefrit on the left and Shuksan behind me before we headed back down to join our friends. (When we caught up with them, they were ensconced next to a bubbling brook with a lovely view of their own.) We had full sun but a light breeze coming off the snow that made it quite comfortable, but I am sitting here in front of my computer with my cheeks burning from all the reflected sun (even with plenty of sunscreen). Once we joined our friends, we descended back into the lovely shady trees and made our way back down the sun-dappled trail to our cars.
I took several pictures trying to capture the amazing trail that was Goat Mountain today. This comes as close as I was able, but I noticed that as we descended the light breeze would come and go. Since we are not accustomed to hot weather, it was the full sunshine and lack of a constant breeze that made today's hike seem to be more difficult than it normally would. Now that I am back home, however, I look back on a wonderful day, filled with witty conversations and lots of effort as we experienced the outdoors together. I even got some pictures of trillium that are turning lavender with age, but still absolutely beautiful.
I like to think of our Trailblazers as being like this trillium: even though we are no longer in the first blush of youth, we are still showing the world that we are here and happy to be feeling the sun on our petals. It was a great day.