The Senior Trailblazers don't usually do this hike, because the road to get to the unmaintained trailhead is dreadful for many miles on a rather sketchy road, and the trail itself has lots of downed trees and places to get lost. Fortunately for us, Al kept us on his GPS track, but the weather forecast for the day was not fantastic: clouds turning to rain in the afternoon. Twelve of us (twelve!) showed up anyway, and we discovered that the precipitation at lower elevations was already showing up as snow up here. It wasn't raining when we started out.
After about a half mile, we came to the first lookout spot, which should have shown us some amazing views of the nearby mountains, including Mt. Baker, but as you can see, the clouds had other ideas. It was still very beautiful and fantastic to be there, but the trail had many spots that Al characterized as brief "moments of excitement." That meant lots of ups and downs where the snow and mud caused the Trailblazers to be forced to grunt our way upwards or gasp our way downwards. We did okay, though. Then the clouds thickened up, as you can see here.
I like the way the clouds seemed to be giving us an ominous warning of what was ahead. Not long after this picture was taken, we had to don our rain gear, as the light "mist" changed to what I couldn't deny was "rain."
The fall colors, however, were still stunning in their variety, and the snow made a nice contrast, as long as we weren't traversing a steep slope either up or down. Frankly, I don't see how anybody could have walked these trails without trekking poles, and all twelve of us were using them. It wasn't cold, and since we were ready for the rain, we didn't have much problem with the conditions. But after we had gone a little more than two miles, we had a conference about whether to continue on this trail or not.
Nope. Let's have lunch and head back home to our nice warm, cozy abodes, okay? There's no view to be had, and all we can hope for is to get a little bit more exercise. We stopped and had our lunch, a quick one, and quickly headed back to the cars. The rain had picked up a little bit, making us even more anxious to find shelter. We've been spoiled by all our fine weather for the last two months!
Here we are heading back down, with our trail having turned into a muddy and slippery mess, and most of us just wanting to make it to the cars without having gotten (1) lost or (2) soaked. Our view is gone, and the rain changed from being light and almost not there to, well, wet. Amy had made cupcakes for us to enjoy at the end of our hike for our two birthday seniors. We managed to get in a quick "happy birthday," and she lit two candles for them to blow out before we hopped in our cars and munched the cupcakes down!
Amy lighting the candles for Norm and Linda
I remember long ago Al telling me that the Senior Trailblazers hike on Thursdays, rain or shine. I count on it, and I know that you can never tell what the day will be like when you start out. Today was a very interesting one, with sun, clouds, occasional wind, snow, mud, and rain. But we were having FUN through it all! I can't wait for next week.