Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ridley Creek 2016

Black Buttes on the left, Baker in the center
Fourteen Senior Trailblazers met to hike up the Ridley Creek Trail. Although this was my third trip up the hike called Ridley Creek, it was the first time that I actually had mostly clear skies and a view. Here, we are crossing the creek bed of the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River. You can see it looking rather benign in the lower right of the picture. I'm sure that in late spring it is much larger, but it's not as benign as it looks.
Crossing the log at the Nooksack River
It doesn't look all that bad, does it? Well, even though I've crossed it before, I was completely taken aback by the vertigo I experienced halfway across. I felt a sense of panic that I might fall and just... stopped. I took a breath and refocused my gaze on the log instead of at the rushing water below. Three of us had difficulty, but we all made it across without incident. Four of the Trailblazers had decided to go ahead of the rest of us so that they could hike up to Park Butte, making it a ten-mile day instead of a bit more than seven for us. It also made the ten of us "legal" by wilderness standards.
Fall colors in the meadow
The trail climbs steeply until we reach a lovely meadow, which was filled with fall colors and... blueberries! (Some call these huckleberries, but they were good whatever they are called.) Sweet and abundant, they slowed our progress, but it was worth it. Every one was sweet and delightful.
Mazama Park
Finally we reached our destination, Mazama Park, a mere three-and-a-half miles up in just about perfect weather. The other four went up to the Fire Lookout at Park Butte, another mile and a half. If you look closely at this picture you can see the trail winding up the hillside above these hikers. We, however, called it enough right here, so we sat down to have lunch after admiring the view.
Baker in the background
It was warm with high clouds and no wind as we enjoyed our lunch. Unbeknownst to me at this time, I received a text message from Chris, who was sitting at the Fire Lookout having lunch and looking down at us. She had coverage because she was able to catch the signal from the ski area, but we were too low to get a signal. I listened to her message on the way back.
Me in front of the Sisters
I quite like this picture that Melanie took of me, in front of a gorgeous mountain range, fall colors, and clouds. It was a pretty wonderful day, and although we thought we might see the Fab Four who did the longer hike before it was all over, we didn't.
Heading back the way we came
And then it was time to head back, covering the same tracks we made on our way up. A little more than seven miles and around 2,600 feet up and down. Not an easy day by any means, but the weather and the company made it a day I'm glad I didn't miss. Next week I'll be on Vashon Island and will miss the Thursday hike. I'll be writing about our Lavender Hills Farm retreat instead.
Lesley crossing the creek on the way back
The return crossing of the Nooksack was better and easier for all of us, even if it wasn't exactly a "walk in the park," as they say. It was a fine day, and now it's time for me to quaff the last of my wine and say "thank you" to all my wonderful friends for such a great day!


  1. the log crossing would unnerve me. just loved the views and colors you saw, though!

  2. The log crossing would probably get to me as well.
    Loved the views, and that you had a wonderful day. Again.
    Looking forward to hearing about your retreat. Have fun.

  3. I love seeing the fall colors appear in the high country. I'm going out hiking tomorrow to see if I can find some too. :)

  4. Another beautiful hike, once you get across the scary crossing!

  5. I think I've crossed a few log bridges in my day. as you say this is the first time it bothered you. Crossing with a heavy backpack is a little tricky. You are getting in some beautiful fall hiking.

  6. yeah no, couldn't/wouldn't do it. You brave woman, you!

  7. There are so many eonderful trails for your group to explore and enjoy! Love your pictures!

  8. You hike in such spectacular places! I don't remember this hike from previously, but it looks wonderful. I would certainly hesitate at that bridge though myself!

  9. I always hate hoping slippery rocks. When we were in Sedona, I just gave up and walked right through the streams. Of course, they weren't fast moving rivers like that. But, I've made my way across those, scaredy cat style, plenty of times. Thanks for letting me know you'll purchase my book on Amazon! I hope it makes it there. I'm at 88,000 words and almost done.

  10. Not sure I could ever cross the log, but what a day for you all. You ended up scattered in clusters, but I'm sure everyone had a great time. Looks like perfect weather. :)

  11. Boy, I would be afraid to cross that creek on such a narrow bridge.

  12. Great pics, DJan. I love the fall colors in the meadow!
    And of course the bridge crossings must have been exciting/fun...

  13. Way to go on the log bridge. I fear I'd have been scooching across on my butt. What a beautiful day and hike.

  14. Another great hike, I see some fall color. I wondered if they were huckleberries too, I wonder what the difference is. No bears in that neck of the woods but an abundance of food.

  15. You are so brave to cross the rushing water. I would have stopped right there and had a melt-down. I cannot do water.

  16. That's a gorgeous hike, but ummmm.... crossing on a log is not my idea of fun. Arrrghhh...


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