Well, another glorious day today. I'm sitting here in front of my iMac happily perusing the pictures I took of today's hike to Skyline Divide. When I got to the Senior Center this morning, I realized that we had twelve people show up to head up to the High Country, and then Al told me that the Ferndale Four would be joining us at the Ranger Station. Sixteen! Not to mention that the other group of Trailblazers from the Senior Center that doesn't go quite as far and hikes a bit slower were also scheduled to head to Skyline Divide, and they had fifteen. On a beautiful sunny Thursday, we would be having 31 hikers heading up to the Divide!
Before we entered the wilderness area, Al called an impromptu meeting, telling us that the 16 of us would need to break into two groups, since a maximum of twelve hikers per group are allowed in the wilderness area, with at least five minutes between us. Fortunately, eight hikers decided to follow Jonelle, and the rest of us stayed with Al. They took off and were out of sight pretty quickly (they were all good, fast hikers). And then we reached the ridge:
The views of Mt. Shuksan and Baker are enough to take one's breath away. We had at least three hikers who had never been here before, so Al asked them to hike ahead around the last switchback while the rest of us followed. The ooohs and aaahhhs were expected; I remembered when I was one of those who went first. Although the wildflowers are past their peak, there were still plenty of them, and the views just kept getting better. Mike was busy setting up his tripod to take some fabulous pictures, and I captured this one of him in the foreground, with Baker in all its magnificence.
As the day wore on, we kept in contact with the other group through Al's walkie-talkie (Steve had the other one). We knew where they stopped for lunch, so after our repast we hiked on along the ridge until we joined up with them. I used the time to take some pictures of my favorite people.
Linda, Diane and Baker
After we had hiked somewhere over three miles (but under four), we turned around to head back to the cars. We figured by this time we could just tell any ranger we might run into that we just happened to run into our friends on the hike and wouldn't receive a ticket for having a group larger than twelve. Although it remained very sunny and bright, Mt. Baker began to take on a different look as we descended, with either clouds forming, or possibly smoke from a forest fire to the east of us obscuring our view.
Although Mt. Baker began to disappear in the mist or clouds, Amy pulled out her fan to keep the bugs away, and I couldn't resist the picture. We were just getting ready to head back down anyway, and the best part of a wonderful day was behind us. As usual, I was able to get a picture of the group on the downward journey.
Another wonderful day spent in the wilderness with sixteen of my best friends. We went up and down around 2,500 feet of elevation, more than seven miles, and now that I am home, drinking my glass of wine, I am thinking that I am one of the most fortunate people in the world: two fantastic hikes in one week, and my recalcitrant old almost-70-year-old body still in one piece, still going strong!