Fourteen Senior Trailblazers headed up what to me was a new hike, Railroad Grade. Last year, we went to Park Butte, which splits off at the meadow; Park Butte goes to the left, and today we went to the right, up Railroad Grade. With a name like that, I thought an old railroad went up to a mine, but it's actually a glacial moraine, with the remnants of what was once a huge glacier (Easton Glacier) on one side with a pretty impressive drop-off, and on the other a steep hillside covered with wildflowers.
Once we had traveled somewhere around three miles or so and had gained around 2,000 feet in altitude, we came up to a view below us and suddenly, I could hear the sound of the glacial melt cascading down the ravine, with an amazing view in every direction. This railroad grade is a popular route for climbers wanting to get up to the top of Mt. Baker, and I can see why. The trail goes right to the edge of the glacier, but you need to stop before you get to it unless you are prepared with ice axes and crampons. We saw lots of people heading in the glorious sunshine up to some spot beyond where we went.
This picture looks up the trail toward the Black Buttes, hidden at present in clouds, with the edge of Mt. Baker to the right. At this point we were at 5,300 feet of elevation, and with the breeze blowing and the exposure on two sides, it was exhilarating, to say the least. Here I am with Mt. Baker behind me, the glacier on the lower flanks of the mountain.
After spending some relaxing time in the sunshine, the light breeze, with the breathtaking view, we headed back down the trail, being careful to watch our step at the treacherous spots. Mostly it was only a problem if I didn't concentrate on the trail below me; otherwise I had little difficulty with the exposure. Half of our group only came to the beginning of the grade and then headed back down.
This photo shows that most of the trail was pretty wide and easy to travel, and the spots that were only a little more than a foot wide with a drop-off on both sides were not ones where I felt comfortable stopping to take pictures! It took all my concentration now and then.
There is one stream crossing that is usually somewhat of a problem, but two young members of a trail crew had just put this temporary bridge across the stream, and we had no trouble getting across. It is not always this easy; Al was there a month ago and without this bridge it took a bit more effort to cross.
Last year, when we went to Park Butte, we hiked up to this lookout cabin, which I captured today with my telephoto lens. This link
takes you to last year's hike, and the second picture on that link shows this cabin as we approached it from below. Remember, any picture can be enlarged, and suffice it to say it was a fabulous day in the sunshine, with good friends and great weather!
Omigoodness, it's beautiful up there. It would be tempting to build a little cabin and just stay there, wouldn't it?ReplyDelete
Our Marigold has a wonderful view of Mt. Baker from her bedroom window. It always looks amazing.
Wow! What incredible terrain! We haven't hiked once this year, now that hubby is working again. Some things just shouldn't have to wait, you know?ReplyDelete
The trail looks like it is on a slant. You are so gutsy. Nice pics of the hike. What a picture of you with the snow in the background.ReplyDelete
You are soooo adventurous minded, DJan. Loved the narrow path on the ridge and the temporary bridge you crossed.ReplyDelete
Walking along that trail looks very rewarding DJ, considering all the wondrous things around. I can feel your description about the place and I agree, it feels very relaxing.ReplyDelete
Your photos are great. It looks like the skies looking out toward the mountains takes on an almost turquoise blue look to it. Absolutely gorgeous.ReplyDelete
Oh nice, reminds me of the Razor's Edge on Mt Katadin (Maine, end of the AT). I'm hiking vicariously through your blog at the moment. I NEED your photos!!!ReplyDelete
Moving in a week, found out there is heavy metal in the water here, though we don't drink it it can soak through our skin and has already soaked through the glaze on my dishes (black, Oh GAUD, what do our insides look like...). Anyhoo, at least I took care of the animals, leaving auto-food and waterers for them and food - hoping the landlord is not so shook up aboput his potential LOVE CANAL situation to pour food and water in the auto-feeders.
MORE HIKING PUL-LEASE!!!!
It seems so incongruous for you to wear short sleeves with snow in the background! Weren't you freezing? Great pics, as usual, Jan!ReplyDelete
As always, the beauty of the Pacific Northwest overwhelms me.ReplyDelete
Of course, you all would leave me in the DUST, but I'd love to take a hike like that with you one day. :) GORGEOUS photos. You should write a travel and adventure book, DJan.ReplyDelete
This looks like a fabulous hike. Unfortunately I would never have made it over the bridge, let alone the ridge. My balance is just too bad.ReplyDelete
My son Jake is leading a couple of friends up Mt Baker this weekend. They will have perfect weather. He has done it twice before, but not is such good conditions.
Gorgeous views as always DJan, that looks like a fabulous hike. You really make me miss that side of the Cascades.ReplyDelete
I am afraid of heights...I wouldn't have been able to hike on the narrow spots...but wow, the views!! Just gorgeous!ReplyDelete
Beautiful as always, DJ! You really get some fantastic pictures. I am also afraid of heights, so I don't know if I could ever do this. I agree with Jo. I could picture myself in a little cabin like that with that kind of view surrounding me all the time!ReplyDelete
Walking along this glacial moraine and then going up to its source: amazing and most scenic!ReplyDelete
I'd have had issues with the narrow spots as well, but it seems the views make it worth it. That stream crossing looks a bit sketchy.ReplyDelete
I am thrilled that you've taken to putting in so many photos of yourself (or you and Smart Guy) lately. It's nice to get the visual along with the tales!
wow. it must have been pretty amazing to hear the fall of the glacial melt...amazing views once again...you live in beautiful country...you might have a hard time getting me off the trails...ReplyDelete
sorry i have been remiss in coming by this week...with T starting work it has been difficult...
Glad to see your widget worked for the May 2010 free photo contest winner!! It looks great there and you should be proud! Keep entering, you have had some fantastic shots!! xxoo JoanReplyDelete
Another great hike..I am afraid my fear of heights would have done me in with a narrow trail and a drop off on both sides..you are amazing! Maybe you need one of those cams attached to a helmet, wouldn't that be something else! :)ReplyDelete
Fabulous pictures and amazing sights D-Jan. These are experiences long to be remembered. I hope you can keep going with your hikes for a while yet.ReplyDelete