Thursday, July 16, 2009

Excelsior Ridge

Today, 13 of us Senior Trailblazers wanted to hike up Church Mountain in the Mt. Baker wilderness area. We headed up the highway and turned off onto the dirt road, which said, "Road Closed 7/27." Well, today was 7/16, so we headed on up the three miles of dirt road, but when we got there, the Forest Service personnel who were there told us they closed the road yesterday and it will not be open again this summer. If we wanted to drive back down the three miles and start from there, we were welcome to hike the 12 miles to Church Mountain. This, of course, would have made the hike 16 or 17 miles long and increased the elevation gain by another 800-1000 feet. So, we headed back down and decided to hike up to the Excelsior Ridge, just up the road, a 9-mile hike with 3500 feet of elevation gain (and loss, going back down). So that's what we did. This picture (click to enlarge) was taken just below the ridge, and I was really taken with all the abundant flowers. This time of year, they are just incredible. As were the mosquitos, black flies, and full-on sun.
When we gained the ridge, we had just the most fantastic view of Mt. Baker. This picture shows Karen in the foreground, and Mt. Baker behind. We were all tired by the time we got to the ridge, and although there were two hikes we could have done from there (one to Excelsior Peak and the other to a shorter hill overlook), we decided to have lunch and head on back down.

Some of our hikers were considerably slower, so they got to the top by the time the first group wanted to head down. Our leader decided to stay and wait for them, and the rest of us went down the trail. It's really interesting how a hike can seem one way going up, and quite another going down. Frankly, the distance added on the downhill seemed to be at least another two miles! My knees were pretty well spent when we reached the trailhead, and we waited another 45 minutes for our cohorts to join us. Then we went home. Tired, happy, and very re-created, as they say in the business. I downloaded my pictures, chose a few, and now here they are, for your enjoyment.
While we were waiting at the bottom, I found this beautiful daisy. If you look at the larger picture, you'll see a red spider on one of its petals. I love my new camera, and by using the macro feature, I was so pleased with all the detail in this daisy.

For some reason, I feel compelled to finish one (or more) blog postings so far this month. You, my readers, spur me on, as well as my new camera, and my desire to share my experiences with you. For me, at this moment in time, I am happy, replete, and ready to call it a day.


  1. Wow, that is some hike !
    What views are in store when one reaches the top....just incredible ~!
    I so wish I could "do" a hike, but I'm afraid a torn meniscus in my right knee would be the excuse I would use for never making it to the top.
    I'll have to stick to gazing at your pictures, which are lovely, by the way.

  2. I love living through your posts. I can't do it but somehow feel like I was there with you at least briefly and I am tired for you.
    THe photos are exceptional


  3. Hi DJan,

    Hiking is a lot of fun, isn't it? You can discover and learn new things in it. I remember my first hike I was soooo scared but I was able to overcome my fear, and like to do some more when summer comes. Three important things I learned from it, determination, courage and strength.

    BTW I got an award for you waiting on my other blog (Certified Animal Lover). No rules this time LOL.

    Have a happy weekend.


  4. This was a great-looking hike. All the snow still on that mountain! Wow. Loved your pictures.

    I love hiking again - it is the perfect thing for a summer day!

  5. I think that's a Shasta daisy? and I did click and look at the little red spider. Isn't he cute! Wonderful pictures again of your Mt. Baker. I think you are incredible for all that hiking and jumping out of aeroplanes!!!
    Blessings, Star

  6. Mt Baker is looking good, it sounds like you had a great time. I would love to do some real hiking but we just can't seem to get the time to get out of town. Hopefully after Labor Day we can get in a few weekend trips. Until then I will stick with the local parks and trails.
    Beautiful daisy, the little spider is cute.


  7. That photo of Mt.Baker was awesome...looked like a postcard or painting....just breathtaking!


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