Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sauk Mountain and Sauk Lake attempt

Trailblazers on Sauk Mountain, taken by David Ragozin
(Update 19 July) Well, will you look at that! A picture of the entire group sent to me by a passerby, who had a wonderful camera and offered to take a picture of all of us with it. I have two taken on my iPhone where we are all in shadow. I added this after I wrote the post because it's so good! Thank you, David! Here's the description of our hike:
Foggy start with my fancy new hatband, pic taken by Rita
Both of the Senior Trailblazers groups headed up to Sauk Mountain today, 12 in our group and 11 in the other one. We drove for almost two hours to get to the trailhead. This is a beautiful hike, but it's very short one after a very long drive from Bellingham. Today, however, was incredibly special, even though I realized that I had forgotten my camera! All pictures are taken with my iPhone. We started in dense fog, as you can see from the picture above (at the trailhead), which lifted rather soon. We haven't actually done this hike since 2009, and it was foggy then, too. Here's a link to that hike.
Coolness evaporated with the fog
It was very pleasant hiking steeply uphill over 28 switchbacks... until the fog lifted and the sun came out. The dew on the plants and the fog made it very comfortable, since one traverses across the steep hillside with little letup for almost two miles. The dew on the flowers made this lovely little spiderweb catch my eye:
Dew-enhanced spiderweb
I moaned about having left my camera at home, but I kept snapping shots right and left with my iPhone, hoping for the best, and I'm quite pleased with what I was able to capture. As we continued our upward climb, we gained a view above the fog layer, and then beautiful Mt. Baker appeared!
Peekaboo Mt. Baker at the edge of the clouds
The views of the mountains continued to become more and more stunning, as we climbed closer to the summit. And then when we reached the place where we would descend more than a thousand feet downwards to Sauk Lak. We began heading down, down to the lake. We knew we would be leaving the views behind, but our plan was to make it to the lake and then head back up to the summit for lunch.
Heading down towards Sauk Lake
But it was not to be. After we had lost about 500 feet of elevation, we were in steep snow-covered terrain, slippery and not easy hiking at all. We had a conference and decided to head back up to the summit of Sauk Mountain for lunch, skipping Sauk Lake for today. Everyone was in agreement. Although it was already noon, nobody wanted to hike back up 500 feet of elevation on a full stomach, so up we went.
Views were astounding everywhere we looked
By the time we climbed back up and got to the top, some wanted to stay right there for lunch (which they did), but four of our members went on to the actual summit, where an old Forest Service lookout once perched. In 2009, I didn't go to the top, but this year I gathered my courage and went to the actual summit with Jonelle to join the other four. Everyone else stayed just where I did last time. I'm glad I went, but it was really a bit scary crossing the snow with nothing to stop me if I fell. The views were tremendous, and I got to stand at the summit with Jonelle.
The three of us: Jonelle, me, and Mt. Baker
After we rejoined the others and descended back to the cars, we had an incredible view of the Sauk/Skagit Rivers below us in the Sauk Valley. The last time I did this hike I didn't appreciate the incredible views like I did today. Today the views were stunning, just stunning.
The Sauk and Skagit Rivers converge here
Although it was a long drive for a short hike, I don't think there was anybody who was unhappy about having made the decision to join the Trailblazers today for this hike. I know I am very happy to be sitting here, wine glass empty and post almost finished, after the day's activity.

Those who are wondering about yesterday's skydive with Jonelle, we got weathered out and will make another attempt tomorrow to jump out of a perfectly good plane together. To think that we could have this adventure today, and tomorrow a completely different one, well life doesn't get much better than this!


  1. There's something about a summit that you can't resist. Things have to be pretty bad before you give up. Wind is one of the biggest challenges besides terrain that is just too steep.

  2. thanks for the note on jonelle - you two are still taking risks together, whether across snow on a mountain side or in the air. :)

  3. Oh. Oh my. How absolutely beautiful. Megathanks - and good luck to you and Jonelle for tomorrow.

  4. wow...good on you for summiting...that it awesome...a bit scary even to read it...nothing to catch you...geez...smiles...sounds like a fun trip though...lovely pics too

  5. See! I knew it all along. It isn't the camera. It's the photographer behind the camera who makes all the difference. Look at these shots!! My goodness; they are spectacular. Beautiful views. I'm jealous beyond words, but you know I am very happy that you and your friends had this opportunity to experience the beauty God created.
    Lovely, Jan. Simply beautiful....

  6. What a lovely hike. It's great that your hat stayed on top of your head and did not blow away.

  7. Stunning views! So nice of the passerby to take a picture for you all. Your phone did a good job. Love the sparkling spiderweb and the fog. Actually seeing the clouds from above is something a prairie person never tires of.

    Glad you and Jonelle will still make a jump whenever the weather allows. :)

  8. The photos came out great! What a gorgeous spiderweb. And the hike looks like fun...

  9. So the jump is landings for both of you. Your phone took great photos..such a beautiful hike:)

  10. Rita took a fab pic of you :-)

    I love the effect of the white fluffy clouds against the gorgeous blue sky.

    Thanks for the tour.

  11. Stunning vistas. It looks like a glorious day.

  12. I'm pleased with the pictures my iPhone takes too! I've used mine in a pinch and haven't been disappointed. Your pictures ARE stunning!

  13. I do all my pictures with my iPhone now. The quality is really good. You got really good photos, too. And, it's so easy to carry in my pocket. I'm doing a lot with Vine videos too, which is easy on the iPhone.

  14. You definitely have the spiffiest hat in the group. I think your phone took darn good pictures. Sorry Jonelle didn't get to make her jump. She does have a spirit of adventure to match yours. Kudos to you both.
    I'm with Brian--nothing to catch you??? Yikes.

  15. This is really a beautiful hike! You are up at a pretty high altitude. I love the shape of the trees up there.
    I'll be looking for a skydiving update. I'm just catching up to your latest adventures, and Jonelle's!

  16. You are one determined lady, aren't you D-Jan. Too true, the views are spectacular. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  17. Whoa!!! I can't believe the beauty you've captured with you iPhone! Incredible clarity, awesomeness all the way around.

    I LOVE fog, so they're extra special for me. Wow.

    ...and good luck with the jump. Anxious to read about that part of your life in the near future.

  18. You seem to have such wonderful adventures! I love the shots above the fog. We had the same experience this spring visiting Shenandoah NP.

  19. Oh my, I love your shots of the low clouds and all the green trees against the blue sky. It looks like a great day for a hike even with the fog. I love the spider's web.


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