Yesterday (actually last evening) I got an email from my hiking buddy Al telling me that the Mt. Baker Hiking Club was heading up to Huntoon Point from the Mt. Baker Ski Area parking lot, and did I want to join them, since he had room in his car? Well, I waffled about it for exactly five seconds before sending him an email back that I would meet him and a few others to carpool up to the meeting point. We knew that today was supposed to be the last day in a long string of sunny and cold days. More than twenty people showed up for this impromptu trek to the snow.
For my two snowshoe excursions last year, I borrowed Al's extra pair and as soon as they put some on sale at REI, I bought my own pair, but they were virgins until today. We headed out in the sunshine, up to the Point, and I found that (1) it's important not to snug the snowshoes too tight over your toes or they aren't going to want to warm up, and (2) they are wonderful and perfect! What else could have taken me into the beautiful wilderness with such amazing simplicity? Two of the people who came along today wore cross-country skis and struggled up the slopes while we planted one foot in front of the other, but boy did they ever cruise downhill! I do have a pair of cross-country skis in my closet that have not been used since skydiving took me away from Colorado's high country.
This picture of Shuksan and friends from our lunch spot showed the beginnings of cloud formation, although the clear, still air allowed me to have my lunch without even having to put on my coat. It was the most perfect day in the company of new friends, along with Al, Amy, Marjan and Frank (old friends from the Thursday group).
Amy is surrounded by sunshine, Mt. Baker is in the background, and as we headed back down to our cars after a four-mile snowshoe trek we discussed maybe stopping for a beer on the way home. I'm telling you right now: I am one of the most fortunate people in the Universe for finding this place to live. I never knew when I chose Bellingham for my retirement home that I would be so perfectly attuned to its alluring mountains, coastline, climate, and senior hikers. I pause for a moment to say thank you!