Thursday, June 4, 2015

Excelsior Pass from Damfino Lakes

Al in the meadow
Today twelve Senior Trailblazers met to hike up to Excelsior Pass from what we call the "easy" side. There are two ways to approach this pass, one directly from the Mt. Baker Highway at a lower elevation, and the other, a hike in from Damfino Lakes, which necessitates a long drive on a sketchy road, but starts at a higher elevation and is two miles shorter. Our destination is to the right in the picture above.
Running into snow on the upward journey
The weather forecast was for the clouds to clear off rather early in the day, and Al had read that this particular direction had "some snow" but was passable. In other years, we have not attempted this north-facing approach because of deep snow, but because of this year's snow deficit and good weather, we had hopes of some good views when we got to the pass. The low clouds kept hanging on, making the temperature very pleasant for hiking, but obscuring any possible views.
Our lunch spot
We made it to the pass, and started on the High Divide trail that would take us to the summit of Mt. Excelsior, if we wished. Since there was little to no payoff, most of us stopped here for lunch while four of the most ardent hikers headed on. The light breeze made us glad for our extra clothing.
Mr. Camino on his first day back in the USA (Rich)
Chris and Rich returned late last night from their trip to walk the Camino in Spain. Chris wisely slept in, but Rich couldn't stay away and joined us today, although he has walked the past 34 days averaging at least 15 miles every day. Not bad for an old man of 73, eh? (We only covered seven miles today but much of it was in sloppy snow conditions.) Welcome home, and thanks for joining us!

Al, Steve, and me
Diane took this picture with my cellphone, so I could show everyone that I was there, too. And although the clouds came and went, we never had the beautiful view we knew was out there somewhere. It didn't really matter; we were still having a good time. 
This was the only view we had, partial and brief
When we began our descent, we kept hoping that the clouds would clear and we'd have a fantastic view, but it was not to be. This piece of some mountain, I'm not even sure which one, is all I was able to capture. A couple of times I'd get my camera out and point and focus, and poof! the view would be gone. Time to head back down.
One of many snowfields we had to cross
Although it was just about the opposite of last week's hot hike up to the Church Mountain meadows, we really enjoyed our time in the fabulous wilderness we get to visit every week. You might notice that the clouds are STILL hanging low in this picture.
Newlyweds, fifty years later
And then on the return journey, I learned that Ward and Linda are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary today!!! I only happened to hear of it second-hand, and discovered that they considered not sharing this information with us, but finally it all came out. I told them I would be sharing it with the world,  because this is not your usual fiftieth wedding anniversary picture: it's much better! Two wonderful people enjoying each other, and enjoying the day with us as well. Congratulations and may you two have many more anniversaries like this one.

So that was my exciting day today. I'm home now, feeling pretty good, and realizing that my garden needs my ministrations, since it was full sun here all day long! Go figure.


  1. 50 years together, still loving each other and active as all get-out. love that! glad al was with you again, and crazy camino walking man! :)

  2. Conditions and weather in the high country are always unpredictable. Being socked in by cloud , you never know what might be coming your way.

  3. What a great hike! Even though you didn't get the views, at least the cloud cover kept the temps from getting toasty. And the high overcast is much better for photos! Happy anniversary to your friends! What a great way to celebrate! And your friend who just hiked the Camino is hard core!

  4. I think the clouds are beauuuutiful.....and what a great day you all had.
    The happy couple that are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary look marvelous. Such a great day for all of you.
    Always good to be here, Jan....
    So proud that you enjoy and embrace the outdoors in such a splendid way.

  5. Happy Anniversary to Ward and Linda!!! 50 years is an accomplishment. Apparently Amy didn't go on the hike today...or there would have been cake!
    Another great hike! :)

  6. I think it's wonderful that Ward and Linda chose to celebrate their 50th Anniversary with a hike! Maybe they are also having a big party/reception and maybe not. But hiking together in our glorious mountains with good friends sounds perfect to me.

  7. Your newly weds made my sentimental eyes leak. Congratulations and many more happy trails to them.
    Loved hearing that Al is back too.
    In awe at Mr Camino. Stamina personified.

  8. Very amusing post. If David and I make it to our 50th anniversary, we will be 84 (me) and 81 (him).

  9. I bet when you hit the snow if makes for a more precarious hike. How sweet the 50th anniversary. Such a fun thing you do.

  10. What a way to celebrate 50 years! The clouds kept it pleasant and cooler, anyways. You guys often have a walk in the clouds. Not everyone can do that. :) :)

  11. Sometimes, those partial photos of mountains in high country can be quite lovely. I am amazed there is still snow, but not really for in the deep woods, we still had some snow last week. Congratulations to Linda and Ward on their 50th. What a nice way to spend your Anniversary - like walking up the side of a Mountain. Have a wonderful day. Our temp here this morning is hovering at 40F.

  12. DJan, you are such brave souls. I'd be turning back as soon as I saw the snow. Your pictures are always wonderful, even through the clouds of fog.

  13. ...and what a celebration for the two! 50 years is something to be so proud of, I'm happy for them. As they couldn't look more happy together!

    Love the views, even tho the peak/mountain gave you little to see, it's still gorgeous.

    And here I am sweltering in the humid/heat. You have snow!!!

  14. Happy anniversary to them! Looks like a great day, but I would have turned back the minute I saw snow. LOL

  15. The views are lovely, I am very envious of your spectacular places to hike.

  16. Hey DJan, I'm been away too long but happy to see your beautiful pictures and all the activities and fun you and your friends have been up to! I so admire your energy and picture taking skills.
    Enjoy the weekend. I'll be back soon!
    xo jj

  17. Good for you! That was a wonderful hike. I always love seeing that mist. Yae for 50 years! Art and I will get there in about 8 years. Hard to believe!

  18. Snow on the hike! Wow what an adventurešŸ˜€

    1. PS smilely emoj was not posted hence the ?? Odd how it doesn't work in all platforms.


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