|First light coming through the trees|
Eighteen Senior Trailblazers came out today, on a wonderful sunny (but cold) morning to hit the Pine and Cedar trail and make a side trip to Raptor Ridge as well. This is the trail that gives you more than a thousand feet of elevation in just over a mile and a half. Here's a good description
of the entire trail. It says that this is "possibly the toughest 1-2 mile stretch in the Chuckanuts," and I have to agree. The last time I did it I thought I would never do it again, but lo and behold, there I was, happy to be there and grunting my way up the steep hill.
|Richard helping Lisa over a downed tree|
First we headed down the trail to Cedar Lake, and Al wanted to be sure we went to the Overlook, since we would most likely have a wonderful view of Mt. Baker and the Sisters. We had a couple of downed trees that we had to navigate, and after I made it across, thanks to Richard's help, I captured him helping Lisa to make it over. And sure enough, this is what we saw at the Overlook.
|Mt. Baker on the left and the Sisters to its right|
I have been here many times before, but usually we have no view at all. Today it could not have been better. The still air and sunshine warmed us up nicely, but with the sun so low in the sky all day, it never did feel balmy unless we were in full sun. Like this:
|Most of our large group today|
No wind, full sun, and happy Trailblazers posing for a picture at my behest. You can see why so many of us came out today; it was perfect weather for hiking in the Chuckanuts, and we had such great company! We are standing here looking in the direction of Cedar Lake, which was simply beautiful on this perfect December day.
|Icy boardwalk and ice-covered stick|
As we walked carefully on those frozen boardwalks to the lake, I saw this frozen stick looking quite elegant in the water. It was treacherous, walking on those boards, but I was careful not to slip. And then we walked back to the trail and headed over to Pine Lake.
|Pine Lake with a little ice|
This lake, not far from Cedar Lake, had some ice on it, as you can see here. It doesn't get a great deal of sunshine at this time of the year, but look at those golden trees on the left! Still a beautiful place to visit, even now.
|Lou Ann on Raptor Ridge|
After a short discussion, we decided to make a side trip over to Raptor Ridge, where we would stop to have lunch. Lou Ann is a fairly new Trailblazers, and I was able to capture her with the sun shining in her hair. If you look very carefully at the horizon, you can also see Mt. Rainier, very faint but definitely visible today. It's rare we actually have a chance to see it.
And then it was time to return to the cars and make our way back down those steep 1.7 miles. My knees did better today than last year, so I am very happy. By the way, I want to apologize to anybody who was waiting for my last Tuesday's post. Obviously, I forgot, and I will try not to let myself get buried so deeply in a book next week that I forget my blogging duties, accidental though it was.
All in all, I only missed one week on the trails, and my surgeon has given me the All Clear to rejoin my usual exercise routine. What a day it was, and I was thrilled to be one of the magical eighteen.