|Looking out at the view|
Only eight Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center to start our hike up Canyon Ridge. I'm not sure why, but it might be because it had been almost five years since our last time on this trail, and we might have forgotten how nice it can be on a sunny day. Since that's all we've been having for many months now, you can see how dry everything has become. All the flowers are long since gone, and even the late-summer fireweed has gone to seed. We last hiked this in October 2010 and you can see here
what it looked like back then. Although it was October, the blueberries had just gotten ripe. But today... well, more on that in a minute.
|Mt. Baker was a little hazy today, but still beautiful|
We didn't have a cloud in the sky, but there was a distinct haze as we looked across at the mountains. Apparently we are getting smoke from the wildfires in California, which is being lifted up over the high pressure ridge that has been keeping all the sun and warmth around here. But one thing that is very positive about all this heat: the huckleberries and blueberries are already ripe!
|Brought to a standstill by all the berries|
There have been many years when we have seen little to no berries, but we really did luck out today. In fact, it was hard sometimes to keep going on the trail, as you can see from the scene above. You may wonder about the difference between huckleberries and blueberries, so here's a little tutorial.
These huckleberries are high on the plant, usually at about eye level. And this year they are incredibly sweet and succulent. Usually they are nowhere near ripe at this time of year, but today they certainly were. And then, down low to the ground, are the blueberries.
The blueberries, although abundant, were small and nowhere near as sweet this year as in past years. Perhaps it's the drought, but it didn't seem to keep many of them from producing berries. We managed to pick plenty of both before we reluctantly returned to the trail.
|Bob and Jacqueline show their stained fingers|
It was fun to stuff these little guys in and reach for more. See how small those blueberries are? When you compare them to the juicy large huckleberries, I'd say you get more bang for your buck from the huck. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) But finally, we made it to our lunch spot after about three miles. This is where we always stop.
|Our lunch spot|
Al led us to this lovely spot, but you might notice there is no shade. I took it for as long as I could, and then I retreated into the woods a little ways to find some shade while they continued to bask in the sunshine. That's Mt. Shuksan in the far distance, faint but still visible.
|The brown foliage in front, and a view of our trail|
If you look carefully at the mound directly in front in this picture, you can see the faint trail showing where we ascended to this spot. But frankly, it's much more visible in the 2010 pictures
. In October, much of the foliage had turned colors, where today they are pretty much just brown from the lack of moisture.
|Mountain ash berries|
It was hot today, but not brutally so, as we've had on previous hikes this year. We also had a fairly short hike of just under six miles round trip, with an elevation gain and loss of 1,600 feet. Plus some of the time we were in the trees, so it turned out to be a very enjoyable outing. It's a little disconcerting to see all the dry foliage, but it's still very beautiful and a wonderful way to have spent my Thursday.