Thursday, November 10, 2016

Happy to be together

Joy, Barb, Rich, Jim, Dave, Sue, Kirk, Peggy, Carol, Victoria, Lisa, Bob 
Today, eighteen Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center to share comfort with one another after the terrible election we, along with the whole world, have just endured. Heavy hearts needed to get into the High Country one more time this year to enjoy the rare sunshine. It's a funny thing about exercise: I started out feeling pretty blue, but by the time this picture was taken, at the end of our hike, I was feeling downright happy. I took the picture while we were waiting for some laggards, when I begged for a photo op on this lovely bridge.
Climbing toward Herman Saddle
We hoped that we might be able to complete the Chain Lakes loop, even at this late date, if the snow cooperated. Down low, we saw none, but it was there up high, as we discovered. We started at the Heather Meadows parking lot and went around Bagley Lakes on our way up to the saddle. If we could complete the loop, we would have seven miles or so of hiking, but if it got too bad we would just return the way we had started. We had magnificent views the whole way.
Mt. Shuksan and Bagley Lakes below
The higher we climbed toward Herman Saddle, the sunnier it got, and the more we hoped we might be able to complete the loop. But as we approached the saddle, you can see that the snow had increased. It doesn't look too bad from here, and we were hopeful. Note the "mark of Zorro" on the trail below.
See the Mark of Zorro above us?
At this point we thought that it might be possible to go over the top and down towards Iceberg Lake and make the loop. We should have realized that the snow on the trail was increasing as we went ever higher, but it looks pretty benign from here, doesn't it?
Mt Baker peeking over the horizon
As we finally saw our first views of Mt. Baker over the horizon, we began to deal with more and more snow. New snow early in the season is not well compacted, so we kept falling through and fighting our way upwards. The saddle is in view at the middle of the picture.
Carol, Chris (in background) Victoria, Jim
Nope. By the time we struggled in the increasing wind and snow, we decided to have a fairly early lunch at Herman Saddle and go no farther down the other side through unknown snow depths. Plus it was almost noon by the time we got here. Time for lunch!
Carol took this picture of me in front of Mt. Baker
There were moments of complete absorption into the moment, since the wind up here was so strong that at times it almost blew me over. I was so pleased that my Tilley hat refused to leave my head in what had to be gale-force winds. There were moments when I felt like I had to stop just to keep myself upright as I leaned into it. And then it would subside for a bit.
Kirk and Joy at lunch, enjoying the view
I realize now, looking back, that I never got a picture that shows how treacherous it was on that snow as we descended. It was downright scary at moments when one misstep would mean a tumble down a very long slide. But after awhile we had passed the scary stuff on our way back, and we began to relax  a little as we made our way back the way we had come.

By the time we reached the cars, we had covered around 1,300 feet up and down, and almost five miles total. But it felt like more, with the snow we had to deal with. And then it was time to head back down to our usual ice cream stop In Glacier, one last time for this season, and bid a fond farewell to the area, at least until the snow begins to pile up for snowshoe excursions.
Bagley Lake in the foreground, Table Mountain behind
It was a day that I won't soon forget, since I felt restored and renewed by the time I walked in the door to my apartment. Life is good, and I hope that everyone who reads this will remember how much better you feel when you get out into the wilderness. Love and light to all.


  1. I like the wind in the high country. It seems to be different from winds on the "level" as we say here. You don't have any level there.

  2. Getting out and doing things sure does help one's mood.

  3. I am so glad that you had the day with kindred souls to put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. So very glad.

  4. Getting out in that great outdoors really does help, doesn't it. And you had some spectacular clear views of the mountains.

  5. another remarkable hike. the high country is so beautiful. Our being outside today was our usual 3.5 mile neighborhood walk and then working in the yard this afternoon. We are making good progress on our autumnal clean up. Putting things in order helps.

  6. I had to work on Wednesday, but I got out my election frustrations at an after-work spin class and a run Thursday morning. You are right, physical activity is very healing. Peace to you!

  7. great photos! I'm finding being uber busy at work is helping.

  8. The outdoors can really lift the spirit and ease the mind. Great reminder, Jan.

  9. glad you all returned safe and sound. such beautiful views! and smiles. :) loved the shot of you.

  10. Your smile tells how much you healed on the hike. I just cleaned the heck out of my house and it really does help. I'd have rathered a wilderness hike but we work with what we have:)

  11. Just love the photos! Patti's comment made me laugh :-)

    Wish I could me there to enjoy one of these beautiful hikes with you!

  12. That is an interesting stone bridge! Looks like another beautiful day for your hike! Happy to hear you feel better and you didn't lose your hat:)

  13. Thank you for this great hike and all the smiling faces! Nature is a balm for the spirit.

  14. You have a beautiful vista to soothe and calm whatever is stirring uneasiness.
    Beautiful area, Jan. Just beautiful.....
    AND.... That snow!!!

  15. It is so beautiful, so different to where I live.


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