Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sauk Mountain 2017

Harebells captured in the morning light
Sixteen Senior Trailblazers decided to make the long drive to Concrete in order to hike up Sauk Mountain today, It's not a long one, but it's sure quite a distance to get there. We have done this particular hike often, although we skipped it last year. I did go the previous year, and what I remember most is how incredibly hot it was. Today was much nicer, with the temperature very comfortable, although most of the day was in full sun.
The outhouse near the trailhead
What we have enjoyed about this hike in previous years are the abundant wildflowers, and we were not disappointed this year, either. In a few more weeks, they will be past their peak, and it's been very dry throughout the area, so you'll see some evidence of that. But since we are so high in altitude, we did see some snow around even today.
Some of our hikers on the switchbacks below us
Although it's not a long hike, you do have to climb switchbacks on a mountainside to gain the ridge. We were all careful with the dusty trail and steep switchbacks, because a woman fell to her death just a few weeks ago on this trail. An article about the incident indicates that she fell 70 feet when almost to the top of these switchbacks and must have hit her head. She was taken out by helicopter but didn't make it. We all thought about her as we navigated our way to the top.
A view of the Skagit Valley
You not only see magnificent wildflowers on this hike, but you also have tremendous views of the Skagit Valley and the mountains surrounding us. We stopped numerous times to take pictures of the great views. In this picture there is a junction of the Nooksack and the Skagit Rivers. The Skagit is quite green on the right-hand side of this shot, with the Nooksack meandering on the left-hand side. If you look carefully you can make out where they converge.
Another view of the Skagit River
Here you an see quite clearly how green the water is in the Skagit. We were almost at the top of the mountain in this picture. You'll see more from this vantage point, but first, the flowers.
A riot of colors
There were so many different kinds of wildflowers it was almost overwhelming at times. It's a good thing it's not a long hike, since it was impossible not to stop and try to capture the incredible variety of them. I haven't seen such wonderful flowers on any other hikes so far this year, so I was stopping often to take pictures.
Peggy enjoying the view
Although we had quite a wonderful view, once we made it to the top, we had to traverse through a wee bit of snow. At the top, we stopped to have lunch. Some of our number decided to head down to the lake, but the rest of us carefully made our way back to the cars. Our time on the top having lunch was very delightful, as some clouds came by and helped keep us cool.
Halina at lunch
Here's one of our hikers, Halina, enjoying the view from the top. She's one of our newer recruits, but she doesn't miss very often and has become a fixture on many of our excursions.
Sauk Lake from the top, looking down
Some of the group wanted to head to the lake, which means descending some distance, but you have to know that Richard was one who wanted to go down there, since he always takes a dip if there's any water nearby. Since I didn't go with them, I'm not sure how many went swimming this year. Two years ago, we had quite a few. You can check it out here.
Time to head back
The rest of us headed back down the switchbacks, again very carefully because of all the loose dirt and sketchy spots, again reminding us of the recent fatality. We still had to stop often to snap pictures of the incredible flowers on our way back.
Tiger lily and lupines
I kept looking for just the perfect picture of lupines, and I found a few, but this one had the added delight of a tiger lily in bloom and backlit by the sun. All in all, it was a truly lovely way to spend our Thursday, with only a few glitches to keep it from being perfect, like the construction work being done on Highway 20, making our return trip a little bit longer. But we were all in a good mood from such a great day.
Me enjoying the lovely day
I had to finish with this lovely picture that Melanie took of me as we began our return trip. We covered less then six miles total, and only 1200 feet of elevation gain and loss, but it was still a challenging day in many ways. I wonder if the final adventurers who went down to the lake will have any exciting stories to tell. In any event, I am happy to be sitting here at a reasonably early hour, sipping my wine and ready to relax for the evening, feeling well exercised but not wiped out.


  1. What a beautiful day. And area. Thank you so very much for taking stay-at-homes with you. I loved this. Despite my heart aching for the family of the woman who fell.

  2. Beautiful hike, spectacular views. But yikes ... be careful!

  3. Well, aren't you looking happy! You obviously enjoyed this hike. I like the hikes you describe that get up into that high alpine environment. Sauk lake looks great, though I fear I could no longer do a hike like that.

  4. Such beautiful scenery and I am glad it was not unbearably hot despite the sunny weather.

  5. Awesome photo of you on the trail. Hikes don't get much better than and super weather.

  6. That is such a great picture of you in your element, Jan. Love it! The wildflowers are wondrous!

  7. Wow! What glorious views! Those switchbacks looks gnarly though. Your group hikes to the best places.

  8. Love the outhouse.
    You definitely do look enamored with the world in that neat photo.
    So sorry about that poor hiker. Didn't know how dangerous your sport is. Do be careful.

  9. Great picture of you! I can imagine everyone was being extra cautious with the recent fatality. Scary! You guys are braver than I could ever be.

  10. Best outhouse design I've ever seen

    You look so content and happy in that last photo. One can tell you are in your happy place.

  11. Steel toe hiking boots? Love that photo of you in your hiking gear! And the valley views are incredible. I think I may be a bit claustrophobic in that A-frame outhouse. Gorgeous wildflowers.

  12. Great photo of you in your element!! You looks very happy!! :) I enjoyed this hike and the flowers:)


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