Thursday, March 26, 2015

Return to the High Country

At the Goat Mountain trailhead
What a beautiful day! Fourteen Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center with hopes that we could forget our regularly scheduled hike and instead head up to the High Country. And that's just what we did. After some discussion, we decided to attempt the Goat Mountain overlook. We piled into four cars and headed to our starting point. Although it rained all day long in Bellingham yesterday, today was forecast to be much warmer and partly cloudy. We hoped that whatever snow fell in up high would be minimal, so that we could make it all the way to the overlook.
Our first signs of snow
We walked quite awhile before we ran into any snow at all, and much of it was like this, just a dusting as we made our way upwards. In total, we climbed 2,700 feet (823 meters) of elevation today, and much of the last part was in real snow. Here's what the meadow looked like when we reached it.
Yes, lots of snow, and plenty of sunshine too
It's less than a mile to the overlook from this point, but it is steep and slow going through the snow. Some of us (like me) forgot to add our snow baskets to our trekking poles, which made the going quite a bit harder, with nothing to push against as our poles slipped through the fresh snow. But we gamely headed on up.
Sharon and Carol with Mt. Baker in the background
The higher we climbed, the better the views. If you look at the left-hand side of the picture, you can see the depth of the snow, much of it fresh from the previous day, and it just continued to get deeper. But we made it to the overlook around 1:00pm and sat down to have our well deserved lunch.
Gazing out at the view
It's quite a spectacular view from here, with all our favorite mountains visible, and here you also see three Tilley hats (Doug, Bob, and Al) on three of my favorite hikers. Mine was still hanging on the wall at home, since I really did think that all the weather would make it seriously cloudy today. I had only a baseball cap and my sunglasses to shelter me from the intense sun. It was enough, but I sure missed my Tilley hat!
Bob and Mt. Sefrit behind him
I am adding this picture to point out a curious observation: all the other pictures I'm showing you today were taken with my Canon camera. This one is taken with my iPhone 6. Am I wrong in thinking that the sky and the colors are superior? I have "doctored" all the camera pictures by enhancing and boosting the colors, but this one is just the way I took it.
Starting our return trip
This part of the day's exertions was by far the hardest for me: I was heading downhill in fresh snow, with the sun having degraded much of the sunniest parts, and I kept falling and trying to haul myself back up with no baskets on my poles. It was terrible. Fortunately, Kirk offered to lend me his (with baskets) until we got to more reasonable terrain. I was very grateful.
The lower trail is free of snow
Finally we returned to the more easily traveled trail, free of snow and giving us a chance to pick up the pace to the cars. I don't know how tired everyone else was, but that entire section with the snow was enough to make the mere seven+ miles we covered today feel much longer. However, now that I'm sitting in my favorite chair with my wine next to me, I'm feeling very grateful to have been given the chance to visit the High Country this year, in March! What a day!


  1. What an amazing hike! Oh, I need to get up in the mountains this weekend.

  2. wow, deep snow and now help with the poles. bless kirk for lending you his to aid you! i'd be exhausted!

  3. Great hike! Snow is hard to photograph...and maybe your phone is suited for sunny photos. You are going to have to have a checklist. Tilly Hat Snow Baskets water and snacks:)

  4. iPhone's pic definitely has better color! Looks like a great hike...but that's quite a bit of snow!

  5. that was a a lot of snow you had to plow through and it makes for a very tiring trip. The new snow is very beautiful.

  6. That was a lot of elevation gain for that short of a hike - tough going up and down in snow! But beautiful!

  7. What an incredible day. I am in awe at your determination. And yes, the photo on your phone did look better.
    I hope wine o'clock was blissful.

  8. My iPhone 4s is not doing well with colors lately. My daughter's iPhone 6 often takes superior photos compared to my other cameras. I can't wait to upgrade. Your photos are awesome, DJan. What an amazing day you had. I looked up your Tilley hat. I'm a real hat person and those hats look great.

  9. The snow looks wonderful, DJan you do some awesome hikes!

  10. Extraordinary beauty all the way up and down! I especially like the mountain backdrop in your photo, no matter if from camera OR phone. They're all spectacular. And what a hike!! I'd be so tired I'd have to be picked up and carried back. LOL

    LOVE the last image especially....that tree is so pretty!!

  11. What a great hike indeed - it never gets tiring to look at those wonderful views - even throughout the wood trail. The camera in the iphone 6 and 6+ are extraordinary for photos and videos. ++HD
    I woulda passed out from exertion after that hike. Beautiful Post Photos.

  12. Just looked up snow baskets. They do look handy-kind of like snow shoes for your poles. What a beautiful day and the scenery is just spectacular.

  13. DJan, what a wonderful view from where you were with your friends. You all look so bundled up and loaded with your backpacks. I'm intrigued by the tree in the last picture of the lower area. Have a great weekend.

  14. Looks like you need to pack a few more items with you for your treks. Hiking through snow is exhausting. Beautiful views up there, though. I don't know how to monkey with pictures to tweak them. I'm a point and shoot kind of gal--LOL! The phone may focus better farther away. Looked like the mountain and sky were clearer than Bob was. Anyways, glad Kirk helped you out and you all got back safe and happy. :)

  15. Great views including the trio of Tilley hats!

  16. I'm reminded of a certain trek with my sisters in waste deep snow, when I was the only one not on snowshoes. Breaking through, falling and getting back up again was grueling! We didn't have enough snow this winter to get in any really good workouts.
    Love that shot of your friend Bob, it's fabulous! Is that the one taken with your phone? I really love the next one, too. I agree, amazing what our phones can do in so many ways, especially including photography.

  17. I agree with you about the camera photo, although it's degrees of beautiful in this group! Great but strenuous hike. Cheering for you.

  18. All photos are fantastic to me. Such a pleasant way to socialize with good friends. But, I agree with you: that hike was difficult.


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