|Joy, Barb, Rich, Jim, Dave, Sue, Kirk, Peggy, Carol, Victoria, Lisa, Bob |
Today, eighteen Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center to share comfort with one another after the terrible election we, along with the whole world, have just endured. Heavy hearts needed to get into the High Country one more time this year to enjoy the rare sunshine. It's a funny thing about exercise: I started out feeling pretty blue, but by the time this picture was taken, at the end of our hike, I was feeling downright happy. I took the picture while we were waiting for some laggards, when I begged for a photo op on this lovely bridge.
|Climbing toward Herman Saddle|
We hoped that we might be able to complete the Chain Lakes loop, even at this late date, if the snow cooperated. Down low, we saw none, but it was there up high, as we discovered. We started at the Heather Meadows parking lot and went around Bagley Lakes on our way up to the saddle. If we could complete the loop, we would have seven miles or so of hiking, but if it got too bad we would just return the way we had started. We had magnificent views the whole way.
|Mt. Shuksan and Bagley Lakes below|
The higher we climbed toward Herman Saddle, the sunnier it got, and the more we hoped we might be able to complete the loop. But as we approached the saddle, you can see that the snow had increased. It doesn't look too bad from here, and we were hopeful. Note the "mark of Zorro" on the trail below.
|See the Mark of Zorro above us?|
At this point we thought that it might be possible to go over the top and down towards Iceberg Lake and make the loop. We should have realized that the snow on the trail was increasing as we went ever higher, but it looks pretty benign from here, doesn't it?
|Mt Baker peeking over the horizon|
As we finally saw our first views of Mt. Baker over the horizon, we began to deal with more and more snow. New snow early in the season is not well compacted, so we kept falling through and fighting our way upwards. The saddle is in view at the middle of the picture.
|Carol, Chris (in background) Victoria, Jim|
Nope. By the time we struggled in the increasing wind and snow, we decided to have a fairly early lunch at Herman Saddle and go no farther down the other side through unknown snow depths. Plus it was almost noon by the time we got here. Time for lunch!
|Carol took this picture of me in front of Mt. Baker|
There were moments of complete absorption into the moment, since the wind up here was so strong that at times it almost blew me over. I was so pleased that my Tilley hat refused to leave my head in what had to be gale-force winds. There were moments when I felt like I had to stop just to keep myself upright as I leaned into it. And then it would subside for a bit.
|Kirk and Joy at lunch, enjoying the view|
I realize now, looking back, that I never got a picture that shows how treacherous it was on that snow as we descended. It was downright scary at moments when one misstep would mean a tumble down a very long slide. But after awhile we had passed the scary stuff on our way back, and we began to relax a little as we made our way back the way we had come.
By the time we reached the cars, we had covered around 1,300 feet up and down, and almost five miles total. But it felt like more, with the snow we had to deal with. And then it was time to head back down to our usual ice cream stop In Glacier, one last time for this season, and bid a fond farewell to the area, at least until the snow begins to pile up for snowshoe excursions.
|Bagley Lake in the foreground, Table Mountain behind|
It was a day that I won't soon forget, since I felt restored and renewed by the time I walked in the door to my apartment. Life is good, and I hope that everyone who reads this will remember how much better you feel when you get out into the wilderness. Love and light to all.