Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sauk Mountain, Sauk Lake, and oh the flowers

Trailblazers moving the tree
Fifteen Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center this morning to carpool down past the town of Concrete to the Sauk Lake trailhead. It's a long drive for a fairly short hike, but we expected it to be gorgeous, and it was. But first, as we started down the seven-mile-long access road to the trailhead, we discovered that this tree had fallen right in the middle of the road, blocking our access. Fortunately we had enough good strong fit men to get it moved out of the way, and then we continued our journey to the trailhead.
Trailhead signage and yes, we watched out for bears
We finally got started a little after ten in the morning, with the weather simply perfect. In the shade it was even a little cool, but those high clouds didn't help us with the temperature, which continued to grow warmer as the day wore on, even as we exclaimed at the fabulous flowers everywhere. We hit this trail at its peak of wildflowers.
Our first view of Mt. Baker
As we climbed higher, the views of the surrounding mountains grew more spectacular. Although I didn't get a picture of it, we could also see Mt. Rainier off in the distance. We stopped now and then to identify a flower we didn't recognize immediately, but there were dozens of varieties as we continued our upward journey up Sauk Mountain.
Carol and Bob at the viewpoint, Sauk River Valley behind
You can see that we were still in full sunshine, and the temperature was beginning to heat up. Usually, we don't get a chance to decide whether or not to go down to Sauk Lake because snow has stopped us in previous years. Today, we decided to try to make it down to the lake, as it was not an issue.
Heading down to the lake
The wildflowers were simply spectacular; there were times when I fell behind from taking so many pictures. Al cautioned us that in making the trip down to the lake would lose all of the elevation we had gained at this point, with the task of climbing back up out of the valley one we would be choosing to make. We all decided to go ahead and give it a try.
Sauk Lake
As we descended, the lake seemed to grow no closer, and I was thinking about the return trip, but we kept on going down. Finally we reached the lake, and four of our number set about stripping off their clothes and going for a swim. (Rich, who swims in every lake he sees, had s swimsuit.) I was envious but not willing to go myself; instead I sat down instead in some shade and ate my lunch while I took pictures.
There are three swimmers, do you see them?
They exited from the water completely refreshed, and then they also joined the group of us for lunch. We spent close to an hour in this idyllic setting, with the bugs being rather subdued, probably because of the lack of rain we've been having, and then we realized we needed to hike back up to the ridge and reluctantly began the journey.
On our way back to the Sauk Mountain trail
On our way back up, I realized I was having a very hard time, feeling exhausted and overheated and fell behind the others. At this point they stopped to wait for me, and when I reached them and told them of my distress, I received a salt tablet from Rich, and Roger took my pack and carried it along with his own until we reached the top. Before long I was feeling much, much better and made it the rest of the way without any other concern.
A day in Paradise
We had a wonderful day, with so many flowers to enjoy, plenty of sunshine, some thrills and chills, and finally reaching our cars after having covered about six-ish miles and around 2,400 feet of elevation. Because of the heat, it felt like much more than that, but the stats don't lie. I would do it again in a minute, with the same friends who helped me and shared this adventure with me.

Now I'm home, wine by my side, having had a shower to wash off the salt and sunscreen, and my post almost completed. I hope you enjoy this trip as much as I did.


  1. those slopes! no wonder you were having difficulty! what a great group you're with, though. prepared and helpful. glad you felt a lot better quickly!

  2. Be careful D J!!!
    Tho, the area is rich in beauty, I enjoyed your 'rich' words of describing the day with your trailblazers. And funny thing these days, I can know who is in the photo before I read the caption. Their faces have become like 'old' friends!!

  3. This is just plain wonderful. I am glad they helped you when the going got tough. That's what friends are for.

  4. Well they just couldn't leave you behind! So glad they helped take care of you. You just overheated yourself into an imbalance...maybe you need to take Gatorade with you...or add some salt and sugar to your water. Do you have one of those scarfs that you put in the freezer? I find they work wonderfully to keep me cool...mine had some kind of gel beads inside and I wear it around my neck:)

  5. What a gorgeous hike! Yes, the wildflowers have been outstanding this year. I'll enjoy your hike vicariously for now.....foot feeling better but not ready for hiking just yet.

  6. Ooooh.
    And Ahhh.
    How incredible. Amazing. And rather a lot of other superlatives. I am so impressed that you did this hike - and love the support your friends gave.

  7. You are so ambitious...and strong, and smart to have found such a good group of people who will look out for one another. Congrats on all those things!

  8. As you were descending, all I could think of was the trip back up. So glad you had someone to help lighten the load. I know how carrying a back pack can make a huge difference. You certainly have a great group.

  9. That looked a fabulous walk amongst all those wild flowers. No matter how warm it might have been I don't think I could be tempted to go for a swim in the cold lake. Glad you had a supportive group to help you in your moment of need.

  10. You never forget when the flowers in the high country are at their peak. It's unbelievable. A little panic sets in when there's some distress. Don't let it bother you.

  11. The mountains and meadows are so beautiful!
    I'm glad that you asked for help. I might not have, thinking I needed to take care of myself. I am prone to heat exhaustion and just can't handle strenuous activity when it's hot.

  12. I agree with "Far Side Of Fifty" - we take gatorade or some such thing with us on a long hike and those freezer scarfs are wonderful. Even the dog has one. What a great bunch you hike with DJan and I love that you all take time to "smell the flowers".Beautiful views there today and I think I would have gone in the lake :)

  13. Every week you just blow me away with your hikes. You never run out of places to go or scenery to see. Thanks so much for taking us along with you. They are indeed spectacular events.

  14. This sounds glorious, but challenging. Art was just talking to me about how drinking only water sometimes washes out salts which need to be replenished. I love the idea of seeing all those wildflowers.


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