Because of the next few days of forecasted weather, Al of the Senior Trailblazers sent out an email asking if anyone would be interested in taking a rather long trip on Tuesday to the North Cascades National Park, a good 90+ miles south of us. Since our regular hiking day is Thursday, not many people answered his email. But I did, having missed out last Thursday because of illness. Fred and Mike, two more Trailblazer regulars, joined Al and me on this absolutely magnificent day. The sign at the trailhead gave us a good idea of what we might be able to accomplish: a fairly easy hike to Cascade Pass, and then we hiked from there up to the Sahale Arm, up a ridge that follows a trail to the Sahale Glacier.
The initial part of the hike took us up 36 switchbacks and a long gentle slope to Cascade Pass. The entire mountain range we saw is dominated by this beautiful Johannesburg mass. We also saw Sahale Peak and glacier, as well as Boston Peak, many new (to me) vistas. When we reached the Pass, we had a wonderful view at these mountains as well as access to several trails.
|Fred and Al arriving at Cascade Pass|
After a short rest, we headed up Sahale Arm, an old prospectors' trail. After a steep climb of around 800 feet, we saw the cirque of Doubtful Lake (a strange name, it is definitely a lake) and looked down into the Stehekin River Valley. You can sure tell that the area was carved by glaciers, as many are still around. We looked across at Inspiration Glacier, which can't be seen from the Pass. Here's a picture of Doubtful Lake.
Although you can't see it here, the lake has several waterfalls heading into it, but you could hear them very clearly. The day was bright and sunny with a light breeze, almost perfect hiking weather. Al and I rested and had our lunch while Fred and Mike decided to hike on to the end of Sahale Arm to the glacier, with an agreement that they would head back to join us by 1:30 or so. After we ate lunch and had rested a bit, Al and I walked a little ways further along the Sahale Arm trail. We saw Fred and Mike in the distance, standing in one spot for a long time, and then they headed back to us earlier than planned. This is why:
We learned that this big bear (VERY big, more than 300-400 pounds, they estimated) was in the trail ahead of them. Not having been spotted by him, they watched him in amazement for a long time. Of course I wasn't there, and they had no camera with them. By the time they had reached us and told us the story, we got out binoculars and saw him on the ridge. I took this picture with my telephoto, and we discussed going back to get better pictures, but this was as close as I wanted to get. At one point, Fred and Mike were within 250 feet of him!! I have one more picture that shows him:
Isn't he beautiful? And scary?? Wouldn't you go the other direction? I sure did. However, this was just about the most perfect day I can remember in awhile. I am tired, but not terribly so. We hiked nine miles and gained 2,700 feet in elevation. After we drove down the road to Concrete (yes, there is a town named Concrete), we stopped at Annie's Pizza Place for dinner together. We left town this morning in the dark and arrived home in the dark, but what a day we had in between!
As you can see in this picture, the colors are still vibrant, if not as abundant, and if we can have a day even HALF as wonderful on Thursday as today was, I will be a very happy and grateful Senior.
The weather has been gorgeous this week, it sounds like Al had a great idea. The scenery is stunning and I really like that shot of Doubtful Lake.ReplyDelete
Cool shots of the bear, he is a healthy looking fellow. Having been within six feet on a slightly smaller one (unintentionally and in the wild) I agree that you were close enough.
I hope the weather holds and Thursday is equally as beautiful.
How cool to see a BEAR! They have bears in Florida, but I have yet to see one. We see "Bear Crossing" signs on a lot of the roads when we are out riding the motorcycle.ReplyDelete
Enjoy your nice weather...it won't last.
All your photos were great..Doubt Lake, the bear and mountain peaks, but that last photo was magnificent! Such beauty you view and capture!ReplyDelete
wow. that lake sounds really cool...and the bear, oh wow...saw one up close on our honeymoon years ago...luckily we were in teh car...great pics...ReplyDelete
Beautiful photos, and the bear is totally cool! I'm sure glad you're feeling better!ReplyDelete
Grrr. I sat alone in my pulmonologist's office earlier, read this and then SLOWLY typed out a reply on my iPhone.....and Google wouldn't let me send it! In any event, pretty cool story and pics; however, if it was me I would have charged down the hill and asked Mr./Mrs. Bear if I could take his/her portrait. That's what I would have done.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful day. I'm happy that you got to take this bonus hike. You bet I'd be heading toward that bear.. but only as close as my camera lens would demand and not an inch closer. What a thrill that must have been.ReplyDelete
Your Doubtful Lake reminds me of a hike I once took. There were trail signs which pointed us toward a Lake and a Lookout - but there was no separation nor punctuation between the words. We did indeed find the lookout but there was no lake to be seen. For the rest of the hike back, we kept referring to it as Lake Lookout, and every puddle we encountered we'd warn the other to watch our step.. "There's the lake.. look out!" Somewhere, I have a photo of one of our many Lake Lookout sightings.
Ooooh that bear, isn't he wonderful. I think you were right to keep your distance. The scenery is fabulous as usual. My comments must get boring but I love to see these spectacular vistas.ReplyDelete
After the bear stories we've had lately, I think you were right to keep your distance! But what a beautiful hike!ReplyDelete
I have not been chased by a bear but we did go to Glacier National Park once and arrived a few days after campers were eaten while in their sleeping bags. We saw bear droppings and round balls of elk or something and our son, then very small, picked several up, and put them in his pocket thinking they were marbles. Or would make good marbles,ReplyDelete
This is a big bear and I would not want to have him following me.
Doubtful Lake is absolutely spectacular!! Oh, I would so love to join you on one of your hikes!! So gorgeous and so interesting! I'm glad you kept the distance from the bear!!! But great shots! And the colors are simply beautiful! I just love visiting you!!! You are a WONDERFUL friend and photographer!!!! ~Janine XOReplyDelete
Nice pics, DJan. Glad you were well enough to hike this trail. Nine miles, wow!ReplyDelete
Wow! What a beautiful hike. And add pizza and a safe bear sighting and it definitely sounds perfect. Except for the 9 mile up hill part!ReplyDelete
What awesome pictures, you are so fortunate in being able to see sights only the rest of us can imagine...ReplyDelete
I'm glad that bear stayed on his side of the mountain, he's huge !
Glad you are feeling better :)
Fantastic pictures and all of it topped off with a bear sighting!ReplyDelete
Glad to hear your better now and went on that hike.Great pics,lovely location!That bear would make me turn and go in the opposite direction ,he's pretty to look at thouigh.ReplyDelete
Have a nice day D-Jan.
Hi DJan.... :). Coming to you from my not-very-blog-cruising-friendly iPod. I hope my comment goes through. Just missing my blogging friends and felt like I got to have a little trek into the world through you. I miss my life and being able to be more than 15 minutes from home a few times a week. It was SO good to see you out there living life and doing what you do. What an InCREDIBLY beautiful hike!!!! And when you signed off as a "senior"' it surprised me because I NEVER think of you that way. You're one of the youngest people I know and the most inspirational. Thanks for taking me with you! XO (((((Big hugs and so glad you recovered from your illness.)))))ReplyDelete
The scenery on your hikes is always outstanding. The lake, the bear, the flowers and colors – you are surrounded by beauty. I hope you don’t encounter mountain goats. I read somewhere that one attacked a hiker and he did not make it. Be cautious of wild animals.ReplyDelete
That last photo is just a little slice of heaven..I could live there..bears or not. This hike looks like a rugged one..I am glad you all escaped a bear encounter.ReplyDelete
I loved the photo of Doubtful Lake..it is in quite a hole..:)