Thursday, September 30, 2010

Got my goat on Ptarmigan Ridge

Oh yeah! See those fluffy things that look like clumps on that snow field (and above)? Well, if you enlarge that picture, you will see that they are bonafide MOUNTAIN GOATS! Although my Senior Trailblazers group takes binoculars every week, on this week's hike on Ptarmigan Ridge we were able to see four of them. And they are my first!! So, I'm calling this hike the one where I got my goat(s).

Twelve Seniors Trailblazers set out from the Senior Center on a beautiful day, although we were in heavy fog until somewhere around 10:00am. Once the sun came out in earnest, we saw nary a cloud anywhere, all day long. Temperature was perfect as we headed up to Artist Point to start our hike to Ptarmigan Ridge.
We had a few scary snow fields to cross, and since everyone was very careful and we helped each other, we were successful in navigating the crossings. Here you see Dan heading back across the snow to help Amy, since it was very steep and you just didn't want to fall. That said, though, our views on Ptarmigan Ridge were nothing short of spectacular.
As we were getting ready to stop for lunch, you can see the glorious Shuksan Mountain lighting up the landscape. We also had marvelous views of Mt. Baker almost the whole hike. Last year when we headed up this trail, it was cold, blowing so hard the rain was hitting us sideways, and there was no view. This hike today was the exact opposite: sunny, warm, light breeze, and absolutely breathtaking views.
The fall colors were enough to take your breath away all by themselves, and I thought this picture also shows you, who were unfortunate not be out there with us today, the amount of snow still left over from last year. In another week or two, it is possible that all of this will be covered with fresh snow, and we will be so happy that we were able to be there today. The parking lot at Artist Point was so full of cars it looked like a summer weekend, not a Thursday on the last day of September!
Here's Peggy finishing the last of her water at the end of the day, with the parking lot in sight. That signage tells you that she is standing at the junction of two trailheads, and we were all a little reluctant to head back down to sea level, after having spent the day here, hiking eight or so miles in the brilliant sunshine at the end of September. It was just a wonderful day.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One good tern deserves another

This summer Bellingham was inundated with Caspian Terns, the largest species of tern (link takes you to the Wikipedia site about them). Since I have become a birder myself, I joined the Whatcom County birders listserv a while back and regularly receive emails of sightings people have of various birds. The Caspian Terns that came to Bellingham this year are far in excess of the 2009 numbers, partly because of the collapse of their breeding grounds at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge near Sequim. Bald eagles and coyotes had been decimating the colony there, so the terns abandoned the site.

Joe Meche is President of the North Cascades Audubon Society and is a frequent correspondent to the listserv. The pictures I've got here are taken by him and shared through email. He put that first picture on to show that many of the birds have as many as three bands on them. He and 20 local volunteers captured, banded and released 252 Caspian Tern chicks on July 30. I have taken much of the information in this post from his newsletter article on Whatcom Watch Online: (To Everything Tern, Tern, Tern: Bellingham's Caspian Tern Summer). If you enlarge that picture, you can see the Bellingham bands (I think they are the cool orange ones). From that article linked above:
Some of the bands we read as we scanned the colony told us that birds were here from Dungeness and some from as far away as East Sand Island on the Columbia River, the Tri-cities area, southern Oregon, and the San Francisco Bay area. A real highlight for Ladd came when she spotted a bird that she had helped to band as a chick in early spring near Pasco! No one really knows how the word was spread among the birds about Bellingham, but they kept coming! One bird that was in the colony was banded on East Sand Island in 2001!
It is fascinating to speculate on how the birds let each other know where the happening place is to be found each summer. Before the summer was over, the colony here in Bellingham had become the second largest on the Pacific Coast. And this particular area they chose is scheduled for development by the City of Bellingham. Here's another Joe Meche picture:
These birds are ground nesters, and it's amazing to me that they are able to find their own chicks again after flying out to the bay for fish. Caspian Terns fly over the water and dive-bomb right into the water. The fish don't have a chance. I enjoyed learning all about these birds during the summer, and I just this week received a picture of a Caspian Tern giving a farewell salute (also taken by Joe).
This magnificent bird looks to me like he's saying goodbye as he migrates to South America or wherever it is they finally end up for the winter months. I love the aerodynamic look of him as he tucks his legs into his body and allows those mighty wings to do their thing. The birders are calling this the Bellingham Summer of the Caspian Terns, since at least 700-1,000 new chicks flew off to parts unknown, born and bred right here in my own home town. More than 250 banded youngsters will tell us how many of them will return here next summer.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What are ya gonna do?

Taken from Huffington Post
It's sure not easy explaining to little ones about the death of a loved family member. I was both amused and bemused when I read this letter from Heather to her grandfather, who had obviously passed away recently. It also gave me something to think about. As this post title says, "what are ya gonna do" to explain to Heather where Grampa Larry is right now?

Or maybe Heather knows something I don't know. It seems very interesting to me to consider that the younger we are, the more we might know about the way things really are. My own thoughts about death are tangled up with fear and loss, so in many ways I think I don't have a clue. I also wonder what kind of holidays they have up there. And I wonder if I would be proud to have a grave with my name on it!

Maybe it's wishful thinking to consider the answers to these questions, but I kind of like the feeling I get when I get into Heather's mindset. It's a whole lot more fun and optimistic than my usual feelings about those family and friends who have passed on. Who knows? Maybe Heather is an enlightened being who has come to Earth to give me answers. I hope you enjoy her letter as much as I have.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hannegan, Take Two

The Senior Trailblazers were scheduled to drive 75 miles south to hike up Rainbow Ridge, but the weather was very iffy, so we decided instead to attempt another assault on Hannegan Pass. While I was away last month on the East Coast, the Trailblazers headed up toward the pass during another questionable weather event (Geezerhiker wrote about it here), who described a very wet hike, with actual soaking rain that caused them to turn around and head back down before reaching the pass.

Today's forecast was not much better, but at least we would not be driving 75 miles to hike in the rain, so off we went up the Mt. Baker Highway. Only nine hardy souls showed up for this one, definitely a much lower number than usual. But we hike, rain or shine, on Thursday. The picture above shows that although it did rain on and off, it was quite beautiful with the fall colors and the view of the valley. After a short while, though, we had to stop and don our rain gear.
Al, our leader (also known as GeezerHiker), broke out a new rain poncho that assured us nobody would ever mistake us for a bear (it's that season again). The skies spit on us now and then, but as we headed up the 2,000 feet of elevation again, incredibly the sun broke out to cheer our spirits.
As you can see, the flowers of the fireweed are long gone, but the husks were in the sunshine while the background was in shadow, and I thought this picture showed the beauty of our surroundings quite well. The trail was very wet, much more so than it was last year (when I thought I would expire from heat stroke), and those few sun breaks were all we had for the entire day.
On the trail, I asked those ahead of me to stop so I could get a picture. Dan, in the middle here, is famous for all the pictures I've taken of him over the summer. That's Al behind him and Peggy on the right. With only nine of us, we set a pretty good pace and actually made it all the way to the pass. This is the view we had:
In other words, nothing. No view. And the wind blew from this direction, making us, the wet and tired hikers, quite cold and uncomfortable in no time. Fortunately, everyone on the hike today had rain gear and cold weather gear. We threw on our warm clothes, including gloves, stamped and huffed for a very few minutes after eating our lunch before heading back down the trail. By the time we reached our cars, we were all warm and toasty from the exertion and ready to call it a day. Eight miles and then some, 2,000 feet up and down, and every kind of weather except warm and dry. In other words, a really good day with my buddies, average age of those on today's hike: around 70. Not bad. I've got a few years left, I'd say.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reduced bus service

I ride the bus almost every day and, partly because of the ongoing recession, our bus service here in Bellingham has been drastically cut back. My route to the gym every day, #10, has been eliminated. Another route has also been eliminated (the #9 to the hospital), and to cover an area that would have gone completely without service (mine), the routes for the #3 and #4 have been altered to include my section of town. Instead of catching the bus at the end of the apartment complex driveway, I have a five-minute walk about a block away.

I can deal with it just fine, except that before I was able to catch a bus every 30 minutes, and now it's only every hour, and Sunday service across the entire county has been eliminated.  I have a car and can drive if I have to, but what about those who were using the bus to get to work on Sundays, or church? They are now out of luck.

There was a public hearing about the cuts to bus service, and one way or the other the county was going to have to reduce service by about 14%, and cutting one full day of service was the best way to go, since fewer bus drivers and other staff would have to be laid off and everything can be closed for the day. Now they are looking at eliminating transfers, which means every time someone gets on the bus it will cost them $1, even if they are transferring to another route to get across town.

For me, as a senior, I only pay $35 for a quarterly pass that I can use for unlimited rides from the Canadian border all the way down to Mt. Vernon. But for those who use the bus to get to work and are not yet 65, they pay double that amount for a quarterly pass. At the bus stop this morning, I talked with a woman who uses the bus to get across town. She will still pay a $1 each for two buses to get to work, because her husband picks her up at the end of the day and works out to be cheaper than spending $70 for a quarterly pass, or $25 for a monthly pass.

The hard part, to me, is that whenever there are cuts to be made, the reductions in service hit the people who are least able to afford them. The gap between rich and poor grows wider, and more and more cars are forced onto the road, whether or not someone wants to use the bus. It's a vicious cycle, don't you think?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

City of subdued excitement

For some unknown reason (at least I haven't been able to find out why), Bellingham, Washington is known as the "city of subdued excitement." And now, there's a viral video on YouTube that is all about my new home town:

I listened to it a couple of times, the beat is rather catchy, and I've been to all the places shown in the video. The phrase about "Subdued Excitement" adorns several walls around the city. Maybe now that this video has gone viral, somebody will be able to tell me the answer to that mystery.

My favorite weatherman, Cliff Mass, just put up an interesting post on his blog about all the rainy weather we've been having. Apparently, this is just not normal weather around here. Not having many fall periods to compare this to, I wondered how it stacks up to previous years, and Cliff gives an interesting statistic on that post:
For the calendar day yesterday Seattle set a new daily [rainfall] record (.78 inches) ...old record .57 inches in 1983. Want even more? So far this month (ending midnight) SeaTac has received 3.74 inches, which IS THE WETTEST 18 days on record for September at that location.
Okay. I guess I can look forward to more of the same. It's raining hard right now. Whatever happens this fall and winter, I'm pretty happy with the place where I've decided to spend my golden years. And speaking of golden, the colors in the foliage around here are beginning their annual display! Wow, that was fast: last time I looked I was taking pictures of the spring flowers, and now we are preparing for short days and long nights.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Two years, three hikes

Today I went with sixteen Senior Trailblazers up to Herman Saddle for the third time. It was almost exactly two years go that I began my hikes with this group by going on this particular hike. Last year's hike was sunny at the end of August, almost exactly the opposite of my first time out with the Seniors, when it was cold, rainy, snowy, and very windy the whole day. Today was an in-between day: mostly clouds with some sun, but with limited views of our beautiful mountains in residence.
I was enchanted by the clouds, and I snapped this picture to capture the incredible variety in the clouds, and I got this shot of our sun surrounded by those four pink spots. It was just by chance that I took this, but I had to share it with you, as it seems almost magical to me.
We trudged up to the saddle, where we had to cross snow, and then we headed down to Iceberg Lake for our lunch stop. The weather was cool but we didn't have any rain, and when the sun came out in force, we took clothes off; when it retreated behind the clouds, we grabbed our jackets. One of those kinds of days.
As you can see, when we stopped for lunch we all put on more clothes and didn't stay for a long time, as we had a party to attend at the end of the day: Amy (who was at home preparing our party, with the assistance of Dorothy and Gina, the wives of two of our favorite hikers) wanted to have a celebration for Frank, who will be turning 80 in a couple of weeks. Before we headed to our cars, I got this spectacular picture of one of my favorite mountains, Shuksan:
The clouds always add something that cannot be duplicated in any other moment, to me. I just love the sky, the clouds, and the mountain showing me what I get to enjoy when I go on these hikes: nature in all its glory and majesty. This moment is unique and captured here for you to join with me in the ooohs and aaaahs this mountain deserves.
This is the cake that we shared with Frank on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Many of our spouses came to the party to celebrate with us. Frank and his wife Marjan are hiking, kayaking, biking and just generally staying incredibly active here in the Pacific Northwest. Can you believe that in two weeks he will be 80 and she is in her mid-70s? They are an inspiration to all of us!
I hope in seven years when I am as old as Marjan, or in another thirteen years when I am as old as Frank, that I will still be hiking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and sharing my life with you, my dear readers, as an inspiration to you! Is this cool or what?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trying too hard

Maybe I've been trying too hard to keep my blog posts down to two or three a week. It seems odd to me when I see that I mentioned "Rainy Sunday" on my last post and now it's already Wednesday. But before I get started on today's post, I'd like to point you to an absolutely wonderful blog, if you haven't already discovered it.
Taken from The Land of Linda by Murr Brewster
Murr Brewster has a post today that simply blew my socks off. (The link under that amazing sand castle will take you there.) Sometimes I have to remember, when I read a post like this one, that if I decide to write in a voice that is not my own, it just doesn't work. I wrote to Murr and asked for permission to copy this picture from the post, and whether or not she or her friends made this incredible pyramid. She replied,
Isn't that something? I have a bunch of pictures of it--and no, we didn't make it. We happened on it, just before the ocean claimed it again. It's the sort of thing that just happens in Linda Land. 
 I've been reading a lot and went to see a movie with my friend Judy yesterday. We waffled between seeing "Get Low" and "Cairo Time" and finally went to see the latter. I don't know how I feel about it; it was a quiet movie with good acting, and it dovetails right into the book I'm reading right now: Shantaram, a book set in India. Someone suggested that I read it, and when I saw it in the bookstore I almost didn't buy it, since it's as big and thick a book as War and Peace (well, 936 pages anyway). Once I started it, though, I'm having a hard time putting it down. I wonder how much of this "novel" is simply autobiographical and how much is fiction, since the liner notes about him echo the story I'm reading. I'll write a review of it once I'm done.

Plus I also have two other books waiting for my attention, "Halfway to Heaven" about a guy who climbed all the Colorado Fourteeners with his son, and a brand-new E.L. Doctorow book, "Homer & Langley." At this rate I'll have my nose buried in books for quite a while.

Back to the title of this post, though: "Trying too hard." I follow sixty-something blogs. I don't know how it happened, it just did. Several of my favorite bloggers have a blogroll or mention special blogs or posts they find intriguing, and before I know it, I'm off to read yet another new one and I've become a follower. These days I actually hesitate before heading off to a new blog, because I am already stuck in this time sink that keeps me glued to the computer for way too many hours a day.

How do YOU keep writing in your own voice? I am constantly blown away by some of the brilliance I run across in the blogosphere. Great writing that moves me, makes me think, challenges my assumptions -- these are all given to me every day. I hope I can learn some new tricks of the trade... by amplifying my own writing, not inflating it. Or worse yet, trying to write like someone else and failing miserably.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rainy Sunday

I took this picture just a few minutes ago from my front porch. As you can see, there's a bit of fall color showing up on one of the bushes near our apartment, and if you were able to stand here next to me, you would also be able to hear the rain, the soft gentle sound I listened to all during the night. It's supposed to rain all day.
Yesterday, however, when I walked to the Farmers' Market, it was sunny, beautiful, and lots of people were out enjoying the sunshine. This balloon maker enchanted me with the cute dragonfly on his balloon hat. Apparently he is supplying some competition to the usual balloon guy at the Market. His right leg has lots of balloons strapped to it, ready to inflate for passersby.

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest is like that: sunny one day, rainy the next. I am getting ready to experience my third fall and winter season here and am bracing for a wet, cooler-than-normal season, according to Cliff Mass, who is projecting a moderate-to-strong La Niña event this winter. El Niño brings the opposite effect, and that's what we had last year: a mild, sunny winter and spring. Our weather didn't actually hit until May and June, so everything has been delayed in ripening. Seattle usually has 64 days of 70+ days in the spring and summer, and this year it has only been 35 (so far). The two hot spells masked the cool weather, with the average being skewed upward by six days over 90 degrees.
One plant has not been affected by the strange weather: the blackberries. We have an invasive species of Himalayan blackberry, Rubus armeniacus, which grows everywhere. This is from the Wikipedia link:
The species was introduced to Europe in 1835, and Australasia and North America in 1885. It was valued for its fruit, similar to that of common blackberries (Rubus fruticosus and allies); but larger and sweeter, making it a more attractive species for both domestic and commercial fruit production. The cultivars 'Himalayan Giant' and 'Theodore Reimers' are particularly commonly planted. The species soon escaped from cultivation and has become a serious invasive species in most of the temperate world.
This picture was taken from my porch. The area to the south of our apartment once had a chicken farm and is now an overgrown blackberry field. (I'm sure glad the chicken farm is gone! The vacant area also is home to many wildlife, including raccoons, skunks, and deer.) There's also some fireweed and other bushes I don't recognize.

Although the blackberry bushes are a scourge for most of the year, I found an article that talks about how they are viewed in this part of the world during harvest time. It's from the New York Times Diner's Journal about Himalayan Blackberries in the Pacific Northwest. I hope you read it; there's some humorous information about efforts to control the vines, as well as a wonderful blackberry pie recipe at the end.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lake Ann 2010

Last August 21 we headed up to Lake Ann for our annual trek (see the link for last year's incredibly different hike). Today we got a whole different feeling on this adventure. It's an interesting trudge: you start at almost the same elevation you end up at, meaning you hike down about a thousand feet and then cross a fairly flat rocky area before beginning a climb up another thousand feet. You end up at about the same elevation as you started, causing some people to say that this hike is uphill both ways. The picture above is what Lake Ann looked like today: we were in a cloud the whole day. Our resident wag said that this was a good thing and a bad thing: good, if you're looking at the exercise (in cool and comfortable weather) or bad, if you were looking for a view.
When we started the hike, the weather sure looked like it was going to clear, as you can see from this picture of Mt. Baker through the clouds, taken as we pulled into the parking area. But no, it was not to be. For most of the day, we got occasional rays coming through the clouds and we thought it would clear, but instead we would get a view like the one below:
Once we gained the ridge and looked for the glaciers, we saw the views come and go like this. The waterfall is coming from the glacier that you can see by looking at last year's post. When we stopped for lunch, I saw this view and thought, erroneously, that now I would be seeing Mt. Shuksan. This is as good as the view of Shuksan got today. Although it was foggy and misty all day, it never rained.
See? Shuksan was TRYING to come to my camera lens, but you wouldn't know it from this picture. So, instead I decided to take lots of pictures of the abundant flowers and waterfalls. Here's the best flower picture (complete with dewdrops):
Behind the purple flower are blueberry bushes. We found quite a few really good and tasty blueberries when were were at altitude (around 4,800 feet or so), but as we descended we noticed that they got greener and more sour. We did sample as many as we could, however. I didn't get any really wonderful waterfall pictures, this is the best of the lot. Nowhere near as wonderful as the one in my previous post, but beautiful nevertheless.
You can never tell when you see something you think will be spectacular and then look at it on the big screen. Sometimes the pictures are stunning in their beauty, and some just don't translate well through the lens. I have no way to tell which is which. What I did experience today was somewhere around nine miles of hiking through the mist and fog with twelve of my favorite Senior Trailblazers, a good time, and a sore and tired body that I'll take to the gym tomorrow to work out today's kinks. I hope you have also had a wonderful day.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Joan over at The Retirement Chronicles has a monthly photo contest with a different theme each month. I won the May contest in "Landscapes," and last month's event was for photos of "Sunrises and Sunsets." I looked carefully through my pictures and realized the reason I don't have much to show for that category is I'm usually inside and not somewhere spectacular for the sunrise, and I'm usually in bed or asleep at sunset. The times I can take really nice pictures are during the day.

This month's contest is "Waterfalls and Fountains." For last month's entries and the rules, you can go here. There were 18 fantastic pictures for the sunrise/sunset category, so I guess I wasn't missed. But this month, I waffled back and forth over four possible waterfall entries. The one above was the one I almost chose, but I finally decided that even though I liked it a lot, it didn't have anything particularly special to make it stand out. To see the one I entered, you'll have to wait until the month is over and Joan shows them all to us.

If you win, you get a nifty picture to display on your sidebar. I don't usually enter memes or contests, but this one gives me a chance to go back over pictures I've taken since moving here and reminiscing over particularly wonderful days I've spent in the wilderness with good friends. It's now been two years since I teamed up with the Senior Trailblazers, and I do feel truly blessed to be able to join them on the Thursday hikes. Once in a while a physical ailment will keep someone away for awhile, but there is no greater impetus to get better than the joy of spending the day outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Twenty years ago

This picture was taken twenty years ago on September 3, 1990. It's a picture of me when I wasn't yet a skydiver, with my tandem instructor, Bill Jackson. I look pretty happy and laid back in this picture, but I wasn't at all; I was very nervous. We didn't get into that plane behind us but into a C-206, a very small plane that holds a maximum of six people. I wrote about how this all came about on my other blog, a post called "How I Became a Skydiver." If you're interested, you can read about it there.

For now, I'd like to examine the twenty years that have passed since that day in Loveland, Colorado. It's amazing to me when I look at that 47-year-old person and think about who I was then. I had been working at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder for more than a decade and had just recently begun working full time after years of sharing my job with another woman. Consequently, I had a little extra money.

Little did I know that before long, every last bit of that extra money would be poured into the Drop Zone (Skydive Colorado), because by November 10, 1990, I was certified to jump solo. I had to borrow from the bank for this endeavor, because even twenty years ago, it was not cheap to get certified. Now it's probably double what I paid to buy one's first gear and go through the certification.

Through skydiving, I met Smart Guy, and Bill Jackson ended up being our Best Man and videographer when we got married in freefall on May 5, 1994. On June 18, 1994, I received my certification to become an AFF (accelerated freefall) Instructor and I began to teach others how to skydive. Before I quit teaching in 2008, I taught more than 1,200 students.

In 1998, at the height of my addiction, I made 401 skydives in one year. Now, with more than 4,000 skydives under my belt, I no longer feel driven to be at the Drop Zone every moment that looks even possibly jump-able. I do see others at Skydive Snohomish here in Washington State that are hooked like I was, and I see them living through it now.

As Smart Guy said to me once, "You can't have 100 jumps forever," meaning that the experience changes as you progress through it. Like all life events, hobbies, endeavors and addictions, the progression can be imperceptible as you evolve into something new, something else.

Today I am content to write on a beautiful Saturday (with enough clouds in the sky to make jumping dubious) about my experience and head out to the Farmers' Market instead.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Boulder Ridge

I actually thought about calling this Senior Trailblazer hike "Boulder Bog" because it was, well, sloppy and treacherous in many places. Our payoff was seeing this view of Mt. Baker, where you can see the two distinct peaks. Twelve Trailblazers left the Senior Center at 8:00 but were not on the trail until after 10:00am because of the long drive to the trailhead (65 miles). However, the weather was perfect for this new (to us) hike. From the Ken Wilcox book:
The Boulder Ridge trail, nearly a century old, is in rough shape. It was scheduled for reconstruction but the work has been delayed. Until that happens, expect a muddy, well-used route with some logs and steep sections.
Yes, that describes it exactly. We passed through a bog that tried to pull us in. Linda, on the way back, stepped in a place that grabbed her boot all the way above her gaiter. I heard the sucking sound as she pulled her foot out! The hike began in a nice meadow and wound gently upwards to that bog. I don't have a good picture of it, because I was busy trying hard to navigate my way through it.
As we climbed higher, we had a good view of Baker Lake in the distance. I took this picture with my telephoto which brought it closer. We stopped at about 12:30 for lunch, and some of us left our packs and went on for another half mile for the views. There is a glacier here (Boulder Glacier) that is actually almost gone. What I did see are multiple waterfalls that feed into Boulder Creek.
There are several of these lines of water heading down into the moraine, but the glacier itself is not very impressive. Mt. Baker has many glaciers you can see on different hikes, but I was surprised at how little of this one remains. In another decade, or less, it will be gone.
This picture, from our highest vantage point, shows the creek where all the waterfalls converge. You might notice how different the area looks from our usual Mt. Baker terrain: I don't know the reason for it, but after hiking through wet bogs and picking our way through slippery and steep terrain, this is the payoff: what looks almost like a desert landscape.
We did, however, see lots of old-growth forest, and some of the trees had these mushroomy looking things growing out the sides of them. This one was covered with moisture, I don't know why because it had been quite awhile since it rained. I loved the way the dewdrops decorated it.

In the car on the way back, we discussed the hike. The consensus is that the view of Mt. Baker is well worth the hike, but the treacherous trail, covering a little more than seven miles out and back, needs improvement. I am tired and happy, all the same, and glad to be home with a shower and a glass of wine to complete a pretty perfect day.