Thursday, July 12, 2018

Heliotrope Ridge 2018

Heliotrope Ridge group today
Today sixteen Senior Trailblazers met to decide where to go today. Heliotrope Ridge was on the schedule, but we had too many to stay under the wilderness rule of no more than 12. Al decided to break the group into two, sending one group to Church Mountain, and the other group would go to Heliotrope. Six people volunteered to do Church, and the rest of us went off to hike the relatively short (under three miles one way) trail to the ridge.
On our way
This trail requires crossing many rushing streams, most of which have no bridge across them, and when the glacier melt is really strong, it keeps us from getting across the final one. We had heard that the crossing is possible, however, so we were hopeful.
Jim with waterfall
There are two magnificent waterfalls along the way, and this one sent out a cold mist as we crossed under it. It is so beautiful that we all had to stop to take at least one picture of it.
The hardest stream to cross
As we made our way upwards, most of us managed to get our feet wet. I sure wish I would have brought my water shoes, then I would probably have been able to join the six who went across the final stream. That's Paul and Louann picking their way across. I decided to stay on this side to have lunch, since I've been to the glacier a couple of times in the past. We waited over an hour, enjoying a leisurely lunch, with a fine mist from the rushing water making it quite pleasant. The others stopped at the glacier for lunch.
Coleman Glacier at base of Baker
This is the view that the others had of Coleman Glacier as they had their lunch. Louann took this picture and sent it to me when we stopped for ice cream on our way home. The moraine in the foreground was once covered with glacier, but it is on retreat, joining the global withdrawal of glaciers as our earth warms.
Finding the best way across
And here are the six on their return trip across the stream. They went down quite a ways to find a good place to cross, as the rushing water where they originally crossed had become even stronger as the day warmed up. It doesn't look all that hard to get across, but by the time we were all back to the cars, most of us had wet feet.

It didn't matter, since nobody got hurt and the worst we endured was squishy soggy boots; everybody helped everybody else as we hopped from rock to rock. Some Trailblazers are better at this than others.
See you next week, Mt. Baker
This is the view of Mt. Baker from the road. We bade it a fond farewell, and the other part of the group will visit Heliotrope Ridge next week, while we will see Baker from the viewpoint of Church Mountain. We didn't go all that far, for me around five miles, while those who crossed the stream probably made it closer to six. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful day spent with the best BFFs in the world!


  1. Such a beautiful day in Bellingham! We've been here almost two weeks and have enjoyed every minute. We plan to do Heliotrope next week so your recap is helpful. Yesterday we did the Cedar/Pine Lake loop and before that Fragrance Lake, today we walked twice around Lake Padden. Really enjoying our summer here.

  2. Crossing streams is a challenge. If you rock hop and miss you have more than soggy feet.

  3. It looks WONDERFUL. Thank you for taking us dry footers along. If I had been there I suspect my butt would also have been damp.

  4. No flowers...I wonder if Helitrope grows up on that ridge. Not one of your longest hikes but a nice one anyway. The waterfalls are so pretty:)

  5. While the terrain is similar, every trek you make is unique in its own way. The waterfalls this time are gorgeous!

  6. A gorgeous day! Sorry about the soggy feet. Oh well. :)

  7. Interesting to see the snow covered peak in the background whereas the foreground is green in the photo.

  8. Slippery, wet rocks--no I think I'd pass--LOL! But it was a beautiful day!! :)

  9. The sound of the falls and rushing water would have made for a great lunch background. Like how the two groups share pictures. Aren't smart phones great?

  10. You would definitely have to count me out on that hike. I can't manage jumping from rock to rock.

    Sure is beautiful though.


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