Thursday, September 4, 2014

Heliotrope Ridge on a perfect day

Nice little waterfall on the trail
Ten Senior Trailblazers set out for Heliotrope Ridge on a day without a cloud in the sky. I've done this hike on days when we couldn't see much because of the fog, and times when we couldn't get across the creek. But today, we traveled up the much-used trail to get up close and personal with two of Mt. Baker's glaciers. The Washington Trail Association has a good write-up about the trail here, and I've added an excerpt from that link that says it very well:
As you travel through stunted evergreens, the incredible hulking Baker makes its presence known. Soon encounter the first of two challenging (potentially dangerous) crossings of braided Heliotrope Creek. Plan on getting your feet wet in icy-cold, rapidly moving waters. Be aware, too, that if it's a hot day your return will be even more difficult because of melting snows from above.
We were all together, still, when we reached the first of those challenging stream crossings, but some of us decided to cross, and others didn't want to. (We had also run into three of our friends who were hiking separately. They also decided not to cross.)

Some crossed, some didn't
 I didn't think I'd cross over the stream. Al is busy giving walkie-talkies to the group who will go up the climber's route instead of crossing the stream. It wasn't easy, and thinking of the return route I wasn't sure I was making the right decision, but I made my way across anyway and kept my feet dry!
Pretty flowers at one of the stream crossings
And it was worth it, as we got closer and closer to Coleman Glacier and Mt. Baker, the most amazing pictures caught my eye. It looked as if we could simply mosey up Mt. Baker if we wanted, but it was actually several thousand feet above us. I can see why the people use this area to summit the mountain.
The summit of Mt. Baker, with glacier ice in the foreground
Doesn't it look like you could saunter up there on a nice day? It's much farther than it looks, but the glacier! We were above it, looking down at Coleman Glacier, and it was so close we just gaped at it in awe. So beautiful!
The glacier, Mt. Baker, and Rita
Look at that massive glacier! And we were not far from a very nice lunch spot, but we needed to climb a little more to get there. I was beginning to tire, but I kept trudging along, following my friends to a nice place for lunch. Full sun and incredible views made it possible for me to continue. Time for lunch!
Al and Mike enjoying lunch, others behind them
It was nice to stop and fortify myself with a nice lunch while we stopped to enjoy the amazing views. Al pulled out his binoculars and spied the rest of our group on the other side of the ridge, having lunch as well. We confirmed all this with the walkie-talkies and decided on how we would rejoin them. I used my telephoto and got this shot of the others. They had a great view, too, just different from ours.
There they are! Farther away than last week's mountain goats
The best part is that, since we were line-of-sight with our companions, the walkie-talkies worked great. We all left our lunch spots at the same time and got back together to continue down the trail to our cars. For once, it all worked perfectly.

And now I am sitting in my own living room, the day's work done. I had a great day, as did all the other Trailblazers. I would like to leave you with this picture of me, taken in front of the glacier and magnificent Mt. Baker.
What a great day! Me in front of a glacier and a mountain
I took a few pictures of my friends in this same spot, and once I get this published I will send them their own wonderful pictures taken in front of our old friend Mt. Baker and one of her many glaciers.


  1. you weren't kidding about not a cloud in the sky! clear as a bell! so glad you all had a good hike!

  2. wow pretty amazing pictures of the glacier rising up behind you...hey part of wisdom is knowing when you have no business crossing those streams...ha.

  3. Wow! The glaciers are formidably beautiful!

  4. What perfect weather for a perfect view of the glacier and the mountain top! Great picture of you, the intrepid mountain climber! Whoohoo! Sounds like a wonderful day. Thanks for bringing us along! ;)

  5. I probably would not have crossed that creek, but am glad you did without getting wet. Nice day!

  6. Oh my. Oh my oh my.
    What a glorious day. Thank you.

  7. Wow....stunning views! Gorgeous sky! And incredible glaciers! Wow...just plain wow.

  8. What spectacular pictures! And a great day. Amazing how close you got to the glacier.

  9. Mt Baker does indeed look strollable.
    In the right mood, you probably could stroll right up there! :-)

  10. I'm in awe! That glacier covered mountain is an amazing sight.
    I'm so glad you were there at the right time to see it so clearly - and share it with us, too. :)

  11. What a stunning, adventurous, sometimes risky, gorgeous etc etc. hike this was. As always on many of your hikes I wished I had been there. Troutbirder - the mostly flatlander, occasional small hill and bluff hiker....:)

  12. Wow very impressive Mt Baker! What a beautiful hike you had yesterday! It is hard to comprehend the amount of snow and glacier still up there:)

  13. You do look close and that glacier is just incredible. How smart to take walkie talkies for when you split up.
    Dry feet and a beautiful day. Perfect.

  14. What a gorgeous day! You got some spectacular shots DJan, I love the ones of the glacier.

  15. Right on! You usually don't get that close to Baker. I know you're still a long way from it but it's a beautiful view.

  16. What a glorious day! You sure do make every day.. every hike.. every mountain count, don't you? Thanks for sharing your perfect day.

  17. Wow! that's up close and personal with the mountain. Wonderful!

  18. That is totally a great shot of you DJan in front of the glacier and Mountain. The stream you crossed looked like it was swiftly moving unless you found a spot to cross where it didn't flow so fast. What a lovely view at the top of Mt. Baker- just beautiful. This indeed was a lovely day.

  19. Oh my gosh! These are gorgeous photos. I'm so amazed to see that glacier behind you. The air looks so crystal clear.


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