Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lake Ann 2012

Right at the beginning, red blueberry bushes on fire!
What a boring title for the fabulous hike we had today! I just cannot think of anything better. I tried a few: "Lake Ann: Uphill Both Ways," and "What a Way to Spend Your Day," but you know, nothing seemed quite right. Today is the last day of a long series of sunny days that we in the Pacific Northwest have experienced. Tomorrow the rain returns. Only eight Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center for this hike, rated "hard." The wet roads and heavy mist on a gloomy morning probably caused some to decide to do something else with their day. They were WRONG. As we drove to the trailhead, the fog cleared and the sun began to shine in earnest. Can you believe the fall colors?
The reason that the Lake Ann hike seems to be uphill both ways is that once you begin, you hike downhill for somewhere around 800 feet before crossing a few miles of fairly flat land and then hiking back up a thousand feet to reach Lake Ann and the glaciers on Mt. Shuksan. Three of our hikers had never been to Lake Ann before, so here they are seeing their first view of the lake as we reached the top of the pass.
The lake is shining in the sun as Jonelle, Ross, and Rita see it for the first time. We stopped for lunch in full view of the glaciers on the back side of Mt. Shuksan. On the way up, we heard what was quite possibly a huge chunk of ice falling into the valley below. It sounded as loud as an airplane going over, but it stopped quickly. We didn't hear any more, but Al got this picture of me that shows the glaciers behind me.
Last year when we reached this spot, it was covered with snow. Although it was almost exactly a year earlier, the difference in the environment was simply amazing. Check it out here. (I was astounded when I looked at the picture of Lake Ann and realized it was covered with snow on October 13th last year.)
There were still a few snow banks on the lake, but its level was low, and for the first time in the experience of many of the Trailblazers, we were able to actually hike all the way around the lake! From this point, those of us who went around the lake headed clockwise around it before joining the others. It was easy and simply delightful.
Here you see Amy and Rita, who were walking along the beach before I asked for a picture. From this point we traversed left and up to the main hiking trail before heading down. This hike is an "out-and-back" so we had to descend to the valley, cross it, and finally climb back up to the trailhead. That makes this hike pretty difficult, because after having expended one's (limited) energy for most of the day, the last part is uphill. (It wasn't as hard as other years when it was full sun beating down and no breeze. At least there was a cool breeze today.)
We were almost back to our starting point when Al stopped to admire the color of these blueberry bushes (I found a few tasty berries). The color we saw today was nothing short of breathtaking. I will put some more pictures to show this on my Flickr site, but not tonight. I'm really tired and ready to take a shower and perhaps climb into bed a little earlier than usual. But it's a GOOD tired!
:-)

21 comments:

  1. my word! i've never seen such color - such a range of color in such intensity - all in one place! it is almost unbelievable!

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  2. You're right the color is awesome.
    It's fascinating to watch big chunks fall off the glaciers. Afternoon is the best time to watch. sometimes you see house sized pieces fall.
    Here Mt Assineaboine has a huge glacier on a steep side and lots of ice falls off.

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  3. The color is just gorgeous! I had forgotten that blueberry bushes turn red like that. Another great post!

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  4. We call those huckleberries! And the color is amazing! what a perfect hike for your last sunny day! I'm envious. The sky cleared here about 1:00 and it was a wonderful afternoon.

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  5. How absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much. I had no idea that blueberries turned that colour or that they were called huckleberries.
    Here the weather cannot decide whether it is winter or summer (forget the other seasons). Three days ago I was seriously overheated. Today and yesterday are damp, windy and cold. And there is snow less than sixty miles away. Huh?

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  6. I clicked the link to see the difference in Lake Ann from last year to this year. Amazing differences...and the colors on your trip this year were beautifully vivid. Your photos are great; I am thankful that you shared this beauty with us.

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  7. Gee, what gorgeous views! Totally different from last year's hike. I hate snow. Today's hike was much better on my eyes.

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  8. Glad you had such a wonderful time. I compared this year's years story to last year's, and there certainly is a difference. Hope you don't shrink in all the rain.

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  9. wow...seriously loving all the vibrant color djan...those first couple pics really show it off...you dont need a fancy title once you see them..smiles.

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  10. Thanks for sharing your colors! We actually had a "cool front" come through Florida yesterday - the humidity dropped by 20%, while temps. stayed the same 87++ :)

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  11. Oh my gosh! What gorgeous, gorgeous photos!!! I especially love that striking photo of you against the mountain. Wow! The colors are incredible.

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  12. Wow! You really live in a beautiful part of the world!

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  13. The scenery is magnificent and dramatic. And those blueberry bushes! Such a gorgeous shade of red.

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  14. Stunning! Absolutely stunning! And shocking when you go back and look at last year's photos. You would never believe it was the same place at the same time of year! How gorgeous--and you even snagged a few berries! :):)

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  15. you were born to be photographed outdoors!!
    your header photos and these shots are all so beautiful

    and the red bushes are amazing!!

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  16. Those colors are awesome..the best I have seen this fall..stunning photos! What a great hike..I looked back to see all the snow last year..what a difference:)

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  17. Djan, all your photos are wonderful, but the second and third with the colors look unreal... gorgeous!

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  18. Good golly THOSE COLOURS!!! WOW!!! Truly magnificent! The downside of our fantastic climate here in Alicante is that we don't really have any colour-changing vegetation... I miss that technicolour season.
    Definitely a great outing for you guys. :o)

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  19. Dear DJan, the colors truly are breathtaking. I think the year-long drought here has affected the fall colors. They are not as brilliant as usual. Oh, how satisfying that hike must have been for all of you. Peace.

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