Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ridley Creek on a rainy day

Al and Kirk traversing the Nooksack River
Today eleven Senior Trailblazers gathered on a day projected to have a fair amount of rain and not be just wonderful hiking weather, so we opted not to follow the schedule and drive south to Baker Lake (around 70 miles one way) and instead repeated a hike we made three months ago: Ridley Creek to Mamaza Park. That day was hot and dry, but today it was cloudy, cool, with intermittent rain showers.
Fall colors with brightly colored rain gear
We started out without rain gear, but that changed pretty quickly, once we started to have a sprinkle or two. It was really pleasant in many ways, with the colors are all changing for the fall, the temperature just about perfect for hiking. We had to climb up and down four steep ravines on our way to Mazama Park, with the rain making it very muddy and slick. Although I managed to stay on my feet, some of my other hikers took a spill or two. But then, after almost three hours of hiking less than four miles, we reached Mazama Park Campground. And what did we find?
WWU freshmen on their initiation hike
The campground has a shelter (seen behind these guys), but it was filled to the brim with twelve Western Washington University (WWU) students about halfway through their freshman initiation, a three-day two-night backpacking trip. I took this picture and promised them I would put in on my Facebook page (I did). Why didn't things like this get offered when I was their age? It's simply wonderful to meet these young people and think about how much they're learning.
Lisa, me, Dave, Joy, Ann, Chris, Rich
Carol took this great picture of some of our group who went hiking on a day like today. We had our lunch and were getting ready to head back down the way we had come. When I think of us, most of us more than a half-century older than the previous group, I am not only thrilled, but glad to see the direction that we have taken as seniors. What will those young people be like when they are our age? I feel pretty good when I think of it.
Colors in the meadow (thanks to Carol)
By the time we had started our return trip, we realized that the rain was not going to let up, so we just hunkered down and kept going. Although it was only a seven-mile (or so) hike, we went UP and DOWN more than 2,500 feet of elevation. My knees are feeling every bit of it.
Middle Fork of the Nooksack River, what's left of it
And no one was more excited and happy than I was when I heard the rushing of the river, which marked nearly the end of our hike today. We crossed the river and made our way back to the parking lot, happy to be able to change our shoes, sit down, and enjoy a leisurely drive back home. It was amazing to be in light rain and mist, and then just a few miles from Bellingham, seeing that the sun came out! It was sunny and bright in town, but not where we were. We traveled into the High Country and had a great time but we spent it in a much more Pacific Northwest-ish sort of day. And it was lovely.


  1. How many of the WWU freshmen make this initiation hike? That wasn't part og the process when our son Jake went to school there, but he did do plenty of hiking during his four years there.
    That river crossing looks scary to me. My balance is not so good and that would make me feel very insecure.

  2. It is a treat to see young people outdoors. We usually have college kids attending our speaker series.However, there are more good thing for them to be involved in

  3. Sounds like a wonderful hike and I think it's great that the college students were out there, too!

  4. Loving the colour. And your dedication.

  5. Another great hike, the river looks calm but in spring runoff I bet it is not! They didn't offer hiking when I went to school either:)

  6. Although it's not fun to hike in, I'm really glad to see the rain! Looks like you had a great time, despite the precip.

  7. I think the college kids were probably impressed with all of you. It is also nice to see the kids out enjoying the fresh air and hiking and tenting. Beautiful Fall photos. Love the shot with the fall colours and brightly coloured hikers.

  8. Those students remind me of that day when I and 4 other college students scaled the Diamond Head volcano in 1965. Intrepid, I would say, because we climbed the exterior not the interior.

    What pretty colors during your hike!

  9. i am SO glad you're getting rain! yay!

    i was not so impressed by the group of students, but i am certain they were impressed by all of you. awesomeness!

  10. So cool to run into all those college kids! I was surprised you didn't have your new hat on with it raining and misting. Sounds like quite a workout, but a wonderful day. :)

  11. I am always amazed how far you must drive to hike but as you said, the ride back would be a great way to re-energize. Plus is is probably easier to visit with your friends in the car than when you are puffing up a hill. Thus, the long drives seem to fit nicely into your day.

  12. The hike sounds like a challenge ... but, well, you need the rain, right?!?

  13. So great to see the young hikers are having such a grand time (and are now "famous on Jan's blog.")
    And, I notice a striking similarity between the two group photos: smiles!
    Hiking makes one happy!!
    Thank you for sharing this, Jan.


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