|Most of the group today|
Fifteen Senior Trailblazers set out to do a scheduled hike of the entire Chuckanut Ridge. We have done parts of it this past winter and spring, but today we did the whole enchilada: 10.5 miles and 2,700 feet up and down. It was cool and cloudy for most of the day, perfect conditions to keep us moving.
|Melanie was today's hike leader|
Since Melanie had volunteered to lead this hike, she started us out at the North Chuckanut trailhead and took us up the Hemlock trail to the North Lost Lake trail and then to the Chuckanut Ridge trail. There's a fair bit of uphill to this spot, but then when we reached the actual ridge, it was a lot of steep up and steep down.
|The exposed roots mark the start of the hard part|
At this point, we had been hiking for a couple of hours, on our way to Gates Overlook, where we would stop for lunch. Although you can't see it, the breeze kept us cool as we struggled upwards, and then downwards. Not far from this spot, although we had been climbing and descending, Al pointed out that our actual elevation gain was only 100 feet from where we started!
|Can you see how far down it goes?|
I tried to capture a picture that shows how steep the ridge trail is here, but it didn't work all that well. You simply do not want to step out to the left, because that would be the end of you. Magnificent but worth taking care, for sure.
|Showing the steep drop-off to the right|
Once while I stopped to take a quick bathroom break, I captured the others waiting and another attempt to show the ridge. You can see our trail and what a beautiful day it was. Everybody was in a very good mood, as well.
When we got to Gates Overlook around noon, we had a partial view of Bellingham Bay, and many empty stomachs. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch, with several picnic tables to accommodate us, and then we started back down.
|Melanie, Chris, Rich at the junction|
At this point, we came to a junction that would take us back down to the cars, but it was a bit longer than the way we had come up, allowing us to avoid the worst of the steep ups and downs on the ridge. You can see the signs behind this threesome showing that we had choices to make. Our leader (along with some direction from Al) got us going in the right direction.
|Some view on our return|
On the way back, this spot was completely socked in earlier, but by mid-afternoon began to clear a little. We still couldn't see Mt. Baker, but several other hiking areas had begun to emerge from the clouds.
|Our beautiful trail in the Chuckanuts|
Our trail was well marked and well maintained, as you can see here. We covered, as I said earlier, more than ten miles and more than half a vertical mile up and down. And still, I feel so much better after today's hike that I thought I would, that I can chalk up this day as a WIN. What better way to give an old hiker a good day than to be able to cover this distance in the presence of so many friends, and still feel good at the end of the day? Yes, a very good day.