|Bob and Victoria|
Sixteen Senior Trailblazers met for a wonderful day in the freezing sunshine. Both Bob and Victoria have been traveling a bit, but are now back, looking happy and fit. You can see by the way they are dressed, it wasn't warm, even with full sun. In fact, this morning when I got up to check the weather, it was -5°C (22°F). Brrr! With proper gear, we were able to enjoy being out in the Chuckanuts. Today we went from the Lower Ridge trail over to Gates Overlook, then down the South Lost Lake trail until we met the road where we would hike back to the cars.
|Picnic table at Gates Overlook|
By the time we reached Gates Overlook, we took the time to use the bathroom and have a quick snack, although it was too early for lunch. We then headed down the Rock trail steps, with lots of sunshine to help keep us (mostly) warm. After just the short stop at Gates, we were again quite cold and walking downhill did little to warm us back up.
|Shadows and hikers on the Rock trail|
The low angle of the sun and the shape of the rocks made for an interesting shot on our way down to the South Lost Lake trail, where we walked up to the turnoff for Burnout Point. We hiked to the viewpoint where we could see Mt. Baker and the Sisters, about a half-mile longer than the view from Burnout.
|The group in front of the majesty|
On the left, you can see Melanie making sure I wouldn't miss the mountains as well as the hikers. This was where we all stopped to rest, have lunch, and enjoy the sunshine as much as we could while trying to remain as warm as possible.
|Mt. Baker and the Sisters|
Then we headed back the way we had come, until we met the South Lost Lake trail again, and continued back to the road. From there, we could decide to visit Fragrance Lake and return that way, or just take the direct route back to the cars.
|Frost alongside the trail|
In the places where the sun didn't reach, you can see how the frosty plants were decorated for the season. There were moments when I wondered if I would ever warm back up, but I always did, since we kept moving. I had my down jacket that kept me warm when I needed it, but in no time I'd be too warm and had to take it off. After a short hike, we reached the decision point about whether to visit the lake or not.
Everyone seemed just fine going back and skipping the lake, so we ended up going up and down around 2,100 feet (640 meters) during our five-hour hike, covering just under nine miles. We had fitness devices that ranged from 8.75 miles to 10.0, so I'm thinking, based on the way I feel, 9.0 is a good number.
|Me at Gates Overlook|
Melanie took this picture of me, and I wanted to include it so that all the Trailblazers have been captured for posterity on today's hike. It was a really glorious day; I was pleased by how well all my warm weather gear actually worked! You don't have many December days around here as wonderful as this one.