Fourteen Senior Trailblazers drove the 65 miles from Bellingham to Schreiber's Meadow trailhead in a light, gentle mist to hike the Railroad Grade trail. No sign of the sun. We hoped that we would be hiking in something other than a downpour, and in that sense we were very lucky. It was only a light sprinkle when we started out, and as you can see from our clothing, it was not warm, either.
Once we reached Morovitz Meadow (seen here), we had donned our rain gear. You can see Mikey Poppins in the back with his bumbershoot, a sure sign of precipitation. We were also aware that unless something miraculous happened to clear the skies, we would not see the wonderful views that awaited us. However, I saw that if the sun had been out, the wildflowers that have only recently escaped from the snow that covered them would have been glorious. As it was, they were only moderately magnificent.
This is the trail leading to Railroad Grade, which is an interesting formation and has nothing to do with railroads. This trail leads the hiker up to a view that reveals a sheer drop-off on the other side from the retreat of the Easton Glacier many years ago. Since on this side of the meadow it is also somewhat steep, the trail goes upwards along a very narrow path. Last year we had incredible views, which you can see here. The second picture on last year's post is taken from almost the same place as this view I took today.
Even though you cannot see what is on the left side, it's very impressive. The first clue you have that something is different is the sound of Rocky Creek roaring a thousand feet below. We turned left and started to follow the trail. This is what it looked like below us today.
The fog closed in not long after I took this picture, but I started up the Grade heading up towards what is left of the once-massive glacier. However, realizing that since I had done this last year and the payoff of more incredible views had kept me going then, no such enticement was available to make me go today. Four of our intrepid group did keep going upwards, however, while the rest of us retreated to find a nice warm place out of the rain to have lunch. I got this shot of those four heading back down to join us. I don't think they went very far, either.
That's Al in front, with Mary (our newest Trailblazer on her first hike today), Frank, and Fred behind him. By the time I had finished my lunch, I realized that being damp and cold made me glad I had brought my (a) gloves, (b) fleece, and (c) raincoat. I got them all on and managed to warm up quite a lot. It took several of us by surprise, since last week it was really hot and sunny with lots of bugs, and this week it was rainy, cold, and almost bug-free.
I was almost the last person back to the cars because of these! The blueberries are beginning to ripen, and some of us stopped to pick and eat them on the way back down the trail. In a week or so, there will be so many ripe ones that some people might find it hard to continue to their destination. They were definitely the tastiest I've had this year. Some people call these huckleberries; I don't really know the difference. (Too bad it's so far to this trailhead.) We managed to hike six miles and ascend 1,700 feet of elevation. Given the hard hikes I've done the last few weeks, I realize that I don't even feel a teeny bit sore right now. Monday's hike is supposed to be one of the hardest this year, so I guess I'm as ready as I will ever be. I'm looking forward to it.