Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mt. Erie and Sugarloaf 2014

On the trail, heading to Sugarloaf first
Today twelve Senior Trailblazers met on a rainy morning, with hopes that the weather might be a little better south of us, where we were scheduled to hike up Mt. Erie and Sugarloaf in the ACFL (Anacortes Community Forest Land) area. We've done it several times before, and last year it was in the rain. But this year? We lucked out AGAIN: four hikes in a row, and all in the wettest March we've had in ages. We managed to stay dry.
View from Sugarloaf
Usually we hike up Mt. Erie first and visit Sugarloaf second, but today we reversed the order. This is the view from Sugarloaf, and as you can see, it wasn't a beautiful day, even if we were not in the rain. Dark clouds threatened, and a light breeze at this point made up all put our jackets and gloves back on, which we had removed while we were hiking.
Looking out at the view
Since it was already after 11:00am, Al suggested we all have a quick snack before we headed off to Mt. Erie, which meant a descent before we would begin the climb to the summit of Mt. Erie. Although there is actually a paved road to the summit, there are also plenty of hiking trails to get us there as well.
Leaving Sugarloaf, on our way to Erie ahead
It sure didn't look like it would be very pleasant on the summit of Mt. Erie (as you can see in the picture above), with the top of the mountain shrouded in fog. But what the heck, it wasn't raining on us, and we would reach the summit a little after noon. Off we went.
Looking down at Campbell Lake, Rosario Strait in the distance
And what do you know? By the time we reached the summit of Mt. Erie, the clouds, still threatening, had cleared enough for us to have a lovely view as we enjoyed our lunch. There were even spots on the water that showed full sunshine in some places.
Sunshine on the water
We looked out at the bay and saw Ala Spit, a place we have visited before, jutting out from the end of Hoypus Hill, just to the north of the sunshine. You can see that there were still plenty of dark clouds overhead, but we had comfortable temperatures and a very nice lunch spot.
Bald eagle
An eagle drifted lazily overhead, and try as I might, this was the best shot I could get. As soon as I would pick up my lunch and begin to eat, he would return, and by the time I was ready to capture him, he was headed away from me. His white head and white tail feathers are not visible here, but we knew for sure we were looking at a mature bald eagle.
Returning to the cars
By the time we were heading back to our cars, the sun had begun to show through and light up the forest. Our day's exertions were less than in previous weeks; we covered almost eight miles and went up and down around 2,300 feet. I was tired but could tell it was not as strenuous as the previous few weeks. We had a good day, although we did see a monster in the forest.
Can you see the monster?
As we made our way back through the forest, Peggy pointed out this mysterious creature, maybe a serpent from days of old, with strange wings on his back. From every angle he was striking, so I decided to end my post with his visage to remind us that, if we look carefully, there might be rare and unusual beings observing as we visit their forests.


  1. very cool moss/wood monster! glad you had another good hiking day! i really like the smile on the lady's face in the first shot - pure joy. :)

  2. The last photo made me chuckle. Everyone pictured seems to be smiling, so I guess this hike went well.

  3. Your last comment is very interesting. Use your imagination when you're in the forest.
    I think I saw one very sharp hairpin curve in one of your photos.

  4. It's all so much more fun when it's not raining! I had sun breaks and a few sprinkles on my afternoon walk.
    I love that Guardian of the Wood.

  5. Oh I can hardly wait to get out exploring! Love the monster too.

  6. ha. it looks like a groundhog disappearing into its hole...some all have all the luck, weather clearing just for you..

  7. That is a fantastic view from the summit, I'm glad it cleared up so you could share this shot with us.

    The Moss Monster seems to be welcoming you to the forest. Maybe he helped keep the rain away today.

  8. Your dragon at the end of the story is just so terrific.

  9. Wow, wow and wow. Here be dragones...

  10. What an extremely beautiful hike - the weather gods were cooperating and you actually got some really beautiful photos up and down the mountain. All the moss, the view from the top, the monster and the colours of spring emerging - how nice is that. Many parts of the Maritimes are struggling with approx 54cm of snow from wildest snowstorm to hit area for quite a while, especially this late in the year. Oh, 54cm = approx 21 inches. Just means I shall climb snowbanks for a while longer instead of trails n hills. The winds were different with this storm too, more like hurricane weather with snow?? Have a wonderful day.

  11. The last photo...I see a dragon landing in the forest!

    And the sky in the first photo...deliciously tempestuous in my opinion. That's the word for the day...tempestuous. LOL

    By the looks of the smiles, each had a glorious hike.

  12. What a scary monster. Good thing you had a large group of hikers with you...;)

  13. Those lake views are stunning. Worth the walk. I am always impressed that you all not only hike but you also tote back packs. I know from my own brief trek up a mountain that carrying even a little extra weight really makes a difference.
    Glad it was daylight when you spotted that monster.

  14. Lovely day all around. I do indeed see the monster but first I saw it as a smiling beast.. that center area looks like a great big goofy but happy smile.

  15. I could definitely see the winged serpent monster! Looks like a good group and a good climb. So beautiful there! :)

  16. I was struck by the smiles in the first photo. I would be smiling too doing what you all are doing.

  17. As always, beautiful photos that suck in the voyeur hikers!

  18. Campbell lake looks beautiful in your photos. I enjoy seeing the photos from your hikes, but this one had some really nice views.

  19. I love the views, the emerging sunlight, and the monster. Yet another rewarding hike!

  20. Your photos are so spectacular. I would love to experience something like that but gather I would hold up a group of fit walkers.

  21. Yes that most certainly is a forest monster! Lovely hike! The Eagles are very active here again too...they are hard to photograph:)


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