Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thornton Lakes

Only four Senior Trailblazers showed up to drive the 84 miles south of Bellingham yesterday and take in the sights at Thornton Lakes. I am standing at our high point of 5,050 feet, the ridge, with Thornton Lake still frozen below me. In the cirque behind are two smaller lakes, both of which have the name "Thornton," which we could not see. The view was spectacular, wouldn't you say?

Once we drove past the town of Marblemount, we turned off the main road onto a well-maintained steep side road for five miles up to the trailhead, which not only goes to the lakes but also to Trapper Peak. We met some hikers at the junction who tried to make it to the peak but were turned back by snow and some treacherous spots.
Picture taken by Mike
Our goal was only to make it to the ridge above the largest lake. We did consider hiking along the ridge, but the snow was making the hiking more of a chore, so we called it a day once we got to the gorgeous view in the first picture. A few of the stream crossings were not exactly easily forded. In this one you see Al doing what I also did: shinnying across on our behinds. Although it was possible to walk carefully across, like Fred is doing, a slip would not have been fun and could have been disastrous. Just because I jump out of airplanes does NOT mean that I am fearless, believe me.
Most of the trail (the first four miles) are in lush shady forest, as you see above. Mike (in the white hat) had just asked Fred to dip his hat in the stream below so he could pour ice-cold water over his head and down his t-shirt. Although you can't see it in the picture, there IS a stream there, and Mike is actually gasping from the cold water that is now running down his torso. The day's temperature was delightful, but whenever we reached some full sun, I realized how very hot we would have been without all those trees.
Driving down to this part of the North Cascades for a hike meant that we were unsure of the names of the peaks we saw. This one I believe is called the Horsemen, and I love its jagged ridge and sharp peaks. It was simply an amazing day, filled with adventure because of the new terrain and sights (and stream crossings). I would return there again in a minute. Although the ten miles we covered were not really difficult, for some reason I was very tired and sore by the time we reached the car. Our total elevation gain and loss was 2,750 feet: moderate when compared to some of our other hikes, but plenty for us yesterday.

When we drove back to Marblemount to find a place to have dinner, we learned that a downed power line had caused the entire town to be without power since 11:30am, so we drove on to Rockport and went to the only place in the little town to eat, the Rockport Pub. It was quite satisfactory, and by the time we arrived back at the Senior Center just before 8:00pm, there was no chance I would write a post yesterday. Just getting home and relaxing was enough to tire me out! Today, however, I have gone to the Y and taken my Strength and Tone class and made it home in time to write this post. Mission accomplished!


  1. Omigosh, Djan, that is SO BEAUTIFUL...!

    Honest to goodness, I don't know where you get your energy. :-)



  2. I am familiar with the Bellingham area as we have friends who live in Canada and own a cabin (I say beautiful house!) in an area close to Bellingham. I love Washington state and northern Oregon. It is so green and lush there. And all that energy you have...amazing.

  3. talk about a reward for the effort...what beauty...come on i thought you were fearless....smiles.

  4. Wonderful, DJan! Glad you had a good time with friends. It seemed odd to me that you would be wearing a shirt without a jacket when there is snow in the background. Very odd!

  5. Nice and green - my kind of hike.

  6. It's rather hard to believe that there's that much snow and it's warm. Beautiful view of the frozen lake. Thanks for going to all the effort on this hike to show us such great pictures.

  7. You look quite pleased with yourself. You should be. This place is beautiful.

  8. The mountain views are just spectacular!

  9. Wow! What a breathtaking view! Worth the whole day's journey. :) What a blessing that you can travel and climb with such good company to boot! And we get the vicarious benefits of your excursions, too--whoohoo! Thanks for taking us along. :):)

  10. Another gorgeous day for you! I got a chuckle out of your comment about not being fearless! I would have gone across that log on my rear also, not worth a dunk in the water and sloshy clothes!
    I love how detailed your descriptions are and directions on your hikes. Someday . . .

  11. Oh wow, that is a gorgeous view DJan. It looks like you are finally getting some nice weather over your way. I love to see the lush green forest, it's getting very dry over here. We are having quite a few fires this week, one is over 10,000 acres already.

  12. Fabulous Photos - nice job and most imformative post. Are u sure you are not a Canadian Girl Guide in disguise, cause u sound just like our pack. he,he

  13. A new place to hike must seem like an adventure and it shows in your writing! I would have sat down for that creek crossing too. If you are already on the ground or very near it..it is impossible to break anything.

    Great photo..so much snow..hard to believe since it is August:):)

  14. Gorgeous and dramatic scenery. Just hiking vicariously with you left me exhausted!

  15. the view is amazing!!
    and you look like you have conquered the world :)

    I love that "what can I do to help?" was the first thing you commented on about the strike
    you're a wonderful soul Djan, thanks


I really appreciate your comments! If you see a word verification box here, just ignore it. I don't use the darn thing and Blogger is trying to get us to use it, I guess. Ignore it and your comment will still appear.