Thursday, July 25, 2013

Welcome Pass 2013

Mt. Shuksan and wildflowers
Today, nine Senior Trailblazers hiked up one of our usual summer endeavors, Welcome Pass. I have done it three times now, twice when it was nice (one of those was today) and once when it was rainy and cloudy. We didn't have it on our regular schedule last year, although some of the Trailblazers went up on a weekend day last season when I was otherwise occupied. But in 2011, I wrote about our August 18 visit up to Welcome Pass. It was almost a month later, but there was much more snow than we saw today. I was amazed at how hot it was, but also how beautiful all the flowers were.
More UP to get to the views
After climbing 68 switchbacks (fortunately, mostly in the forest where it was shady), we gained the ridge and climbed another quarter mile or so to get to the most spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, Mts. Baker and Shuksan to the south, and the Canadian and Olympic mountains to the north. There was not a cloud in the sky.
Mike cooling off
This was the first snow we saw, which was very unusual. Mike was hot, even with his minimal dress, and he laid down on the snow to cool off. I think he also stuffed snow into his pants pockets so it could continue to cool him as we pressed on to get to our lunch destination. Finally, we found some minuscule little dabs of shade so we could have our lunch.
Rita, with lupines between us as we settled in for lunch
The shade was very sparse up on the ridge, above the treeline, but we managed to find a little bit before we strolled along the ridge a smidge farther. The views were beyond spectacular, really, but I do have to show you the view we had of Mt. Baker as we dined.
Rita, Mt. Baker, and Steve
Although the sunshine was intense, there was also a pretty nice breeze blowing most of the time. It didn't seem to matter much to the bugs: we had mosquitos, big black flies, and other pesky critters bothering us most of the time. Amy, however, used her fan as well as her head net. I have one of those stored somewhere inside my pack, but I never got it out, using bug spray for protection instead. I set up the self timer and got this picture of us:
Al, Steve, Doug, Richard (behind me), Rita, Peggy, MIke, Amy
This was Richard's first hike with the Senior Trailblazers. He did quite well, but I had to run to get into the picture and I was sorry he didn't move a little so he could be included in the group shot. After this was taken, we began our return trip, which was MUCH harder on most of us because that steep terrain on the 68 switchbacks meant feeling our knees complain, leaning hard on our trekking poles, and wishing it would get over with!
Almost back to the cars
All in all, it was a wonderful day, which I can easily say now that I am back in my own comfy home with an almost-finished glass of wine. I learned today that our first "extra" hike of the summer is next Monday, an all-day trip to Mt. Dickerman. I'm hoping that I will be recovered enough to go on that one. I've got three days to decide!


  1. Mountains and mountain meadow wild flowers! One of the very special reasons we love calling Western Washington our home. Just beautiful!

  2. 'welcome pass' - sounds like something you'd hang around your neck to get backstage at a concert. :)

    lots of bright sunshine - so neat to see shorts and snow. :)

  3. You had it all on this trip. Your views were awesome. Hiking as often as you do must be one of the best conditioning activities around.

  4. Beautiful wildflowers..and those Lupines are so pretty. Absolutely awesome views..even with snow:)

  5. I know this is silly but as I looked at your mountain views the Sound of Music popped into my head. Did by chance anyone burst into song when you reached the top?

    Everything looks so green and fresh. We have been having near 100 degrees each day this week and today the humidity was just 5% in the afternoon.

  6. In the afterlife, djan, you will be in forests like this, hiking with friends. You will love the book fliside: a tourists guide on how to navigate the afterlife.

  7. I love wildflowers and especially love the splash of color that lupines give. I'm not a fan of switchbacks though. I'm not a fan of going uphill either. You must be the most in-shape person I know.

  8. Wow....dining next to beautiful mountain lupine. How much better could it get?!!!! Awesome.

  9. Mt. Baker is beautiful in your photo. All that heat would make me want to take a break in the snow too.

  10. Loved your photos, DJan. I know what you mean about your knees complaining as you walked downhill. Mine do, too.

  11. What a beautiful background for your lunch time dining! Sounds like you earned it, though. 68 switchbacks! Wow!

  12. That's an amazing lunch view alright. My knees feel weak just thinking about the trek up or down.

  13. That first picture is just heavenly! What a lot of work to get there and to get back. You all must feel such a sense of accomplishment completing your adventures. Wow! :)

  14. Love the lunchtime shots - incredible scenery & wildflowers, too.
    I was feeling it for you all a little bit there as I read about the walk back down!

  15. How nice of the snow to hang around for cooling down.
    Those flowers are beautiful and the view awesome. I can see why you keep hiking.

  16. Looks like you had beautiful weather up there. The pic of you having lunch with Mt. Baker in the distance is spectacular. I find it all very interesting, yet a little intimidating for a 'girl' like me who rarely goes higher than the height of my house! Well done to all of you.

  17. Sounds like another amazing time. That second photo reminds me of one of the opening scenes from Little House on the Prairie.


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