Ten Senior Trailblazers headed up to Heliotrope Ridge in the Mt. Baker wilderness area today. Seven of us met at the Senior Center and the Ferndale three joined us at the Glacier Ranger Station. Once we started our hike, we were all ecstatic at the cool temperatures that greeted us at the trailhead. The temperature was in the mid-sixties. (It reached 90 degrees F in Bellingham yesterday, and we were ready for a change.) We knew this is rated as a "moderate" hike, which suited me perfectly after Monday's all-out trudge.
We also knew we would have some challenging streams to cross on our way to the viewpoint of Mt. Baker and the Coleman Glacier. The interesting thing is that every time we crossed one of these streams, a cool breeze blew down the valley and cooled us off even more. The higher we climbed the more the profusion of wildflowers and waterfalls made us gasp. Do you know what negative ions are? Some people believe they emanate from waterfalls, mountains, and beaches. (Check out the link for more.) Well, I think I experienced them today.
When we passed under this waterfall, there wasn't one person who wasn't feeling uplifted and glad to be right where we were in the moment. I know those of you who are in drought-stricken areas know exactly what you are missing. I hope some of the negative ions make their way through this post into your living room. But then we reached an impasse on the trail.
Once we reached this major stream, we could not find a good place to cross it. The roaring, rushing water kept us from finding a good crossing spot. This spot is far above the trail, but nowhere did we find a place that might make us feel okay to bring all ten of us across. It was actually even a bit cool when we each settled down on the side of this stream to have lunch, and then we headed back down to the trailhead. We had some magnificent views from here, even though we didn't get to the viewpoint.
That's Indian paintbrush in the foreground, and Mt. Baker and the Coleman Glacier in the background. The glacier was visible (in the upper left) but we just couldn't get close enough to get great pictures. I was happy sitting here having my lunch in the sunshine, a nice brisk cool breeze in my face, and some of my favorite people in the world sharing the day with me.
The wildflowers are at their peak of the season right now. Here you see mostly lupine, with a little bit of Indian paintbrush in the middle, mixed with valerian. We had discussions about what flowers we were looking at, but who cares? The day couldn't have been any better. We covered about six-and-a-half miles in total, going up and down somewhere around 1,750 feet. Compared to Monday's hike, it was a stroll, but the exciting stream crossings and all those negative ions made it seem, well, absolutely perfect!