|Brilliant golden color everywhere|
Today sixteen (!) Senior Trailblazers met at the Senior Center to discuss what to do with the wonderful day that was forecast: full sun after a day of rain, and little snow in the High Country. We decided to make one more excursion up the Mt. Baker Highway to one of our favorite summer haunts. This time we headed to the meadows of Church Mountain. The magnificent colors of the trees greeted us everywhere, with sunshine pouring through them, lighting up the entire day with gold.
|Part of the group on our way to the meadows|
Yes, there were a lot of us, but since we wouldn't be traveling far enough to enter the wilderness area, we didn't need to be concerned with our numbers. We knew that we would be traveling up almost 3,000 feet (900 meters) to the meadows, but instead of encountering snow, we were delighted to be in full sun, no wind, and incredible views.
|Trail to the meadows|
Today the temperature was just about perfect for hiking, cool but not cold, and Al set a moderate pace as we climbed ever upward, covering plenty of elevation. The trail was gently softened by plenty of forest detritus, making it a lovely upward climb.
And finally we reached the meadows, which you can see here were free of snow and made for easy hiking. We decided to head to a nearby ridge and not attempt to make the summit, another hard climb and with the shortened days, no assurance that we'd have enough daylight to summit. Nobody minded stopping at noon for a nice lunch.
|Dianne and Melanie among the blueberry bushes|
The farther along we went, the more blueberry bushes (those red ones) we saw. And guess what? They STILL had blueberries to gather. In fact, some of the more obsessive members of our group fell far behind as they couldn't stop themselves. I helped myself to some, but once I found the perfect blueberry, I stopped and concentrated on getting to our lunch spot.
On our way to the ridge, several people saw a mother bear with two cubs across the meadow. I looked but didn't see them. You can see Chris pointing to their location. Several people who had never before seen bears in the wilderness were thrilled to see actual bears for the first time!
We found a nice mostly sunny spot to have our lunch. We could see beautiful Mt. Baker from here, and while many people settled in for a nice respite, I got this picture of Melanie in front of Mt. Baker.
|Mel in front of Mt. Baker|
I found that the full sun made it harder to get really good pictures, but this one at least shows Melanie's happiness to be here. I also was very happy to be in such a wonderful place with such a wonderful group. And then...
|Heading back down the way we had come|
It was time to return to the cars and leave the beautiful, wonderful forest for another season. By next week, the weather is supposed to go back to normal, and we will be hiking at sea level, rather than up here in the mountains with incredibly perfect conditions. It was a magnificent way to bid farewell to another season of hikes in the High Country. Of course, we stopped at Grahams for ice cream or coffee before we made our way back to Bellingham.
We covered almost seven miles and 2,700 feet of elevation before it was all said and done. I'm now happy finishing up my well-deserved glass of wine and settling into my favorite chair. It was a great day, with excellent people, and magnificent weather.