Thursday, October 10, 2019

Ridley Creek 2019

Trailhead sign
Ten Senior Trailblazers made the decision to head up to the Ridley Creek trailhead today, hoping that we would be able to make it to Mazama Park. We didn't make it, but we had a great day anyway.
The bridge across the Nooksack River
Our first task was to get across the river, in order to start our hike. This was not all that easy, because of a recent snowstorm and then clearing skies, causing very cold temperatures and icy conditions. It was terrifying for me, actually. My friends helped me by carrying my backpack and poles across the bridge, while I made my way very carefully across. Nobody fell, and all was well as we began the trek.
Our trail today at the beginning
It is a lovely trail, but it is very steep for most of the distance, until you get to the meadow. We trudged along, with the first part of the trail being in good shape, but many areas were challenging. I struggled with the steepness, but my knee held out just fine.
Icicles showing how cold it was
I had forgotten how precipitous this trail is, but the part I didn't look forward to are the several deep ravines that must be navigated on the way to Mazama Park. We ran into more and more snow and ice as we got higher and higher. We had to move slowly with so much difficult terrain, and by the time we got to the last one, we decided it wasn't a good idea.
The trail as it get more difficult
Although it isn't easy to see in the picture, it was covered with deepening snow and icy patches and wasn't a safe situation. Plus we were beginning to get worried about the amount of daylight: we didn't want to be getting back to the cars near sunset, so we agreed that it was time to take a nice lunch break.
Obscured mountains
We backtracked a bit until we got to a nice place in the sun where we could have lunch. A long log was brushed free of snow, and everyone made themselves comfortable. Although it was cold, the warm sun and lack of breeze meant we were happy to stay for awhile.
Our "lunch log"
It was so nice and warm that I didn't even need to put my coat back on while we spent close to an hour enjoying ourselves before heading back the way we had come. It was sad that we didn't get to see the view that can be seen from Mazama Park, but it was a wise decision.
Getting back down a ravine
This ravine required us to be extremely careful, as it was icy and steep. Some of us went down it on our rear ends, rather than try to keep from slipping. That way, if someone fell, they wouldn't have far to go. Although it wasn't very elegant, it worked, and nobody fell. Then it was a simple task to go back down the rest of the trail, leaving the ice and snow behind.
Return trip
Here we are making our way back down to the cars, with most of the really tough terrain behind us. It was now just a slog, being careful of our knees and not hurrying. Because of not going the entire way, we had plenty of sunlight and didn't have to worry.
Our return trip on the bridge
We did have to make our way back across the bridge, but after a day of wrestling with the icy conditions, it seemed easier on the return. Most of the bridge was no longer icy, but everyone was still quite careful, not wanting to end up our day with a "situation." We ended up hiking around 6.5 miles in total, with an elevation gain around 2,100 feet, depending on whose device you were willing to believe.

In any event, I am now home, it's getting late, and I'm tired, but all in one piece, as are all my fellow hikers, and the day could only have been better by us having another hour of daylight. And less ice and snow. Everyone is happy.


  1. Snow and ice conditions make hiking risky. If it's powder snow OK. But wet snow and ice is a problem.

  2. I am so glad that you, and all the hikers stayed safe. And love the magic you shared.

  3. Sheesh! Thank goodness you guys were all OK. That bridge is so so scary!!! I'm so glad you're home safe now.

  4. You are so much more adventurous than I...or than many people, for that matter. Glad it was a safe trip for everybody. :)

  5. Sounds to have been a real challenge. Even tho it was treacherous, there was a lot of beauty around you & good friends. That's what counts!

  6. Glad it worked out safely for everyone. You knee is in great shape again by the sound of it!

  7. Glad your knee is back to 100%!


  8. That "bridge" barely qualifies as one. Glad you all made it safely and a dunk in that water would have been brutal.

  9. I don't like icy conditions. My relative slipped on ice and broke her wrist. Almost a year later, it still hurts.

  10. I'm not sure I'd call that a "bridge"... but glad you all had a good day and made it home safe and sound.

  11. Sounds like treacherous conditions. We also have snow and ice now and I haven't gone on a hike in it. Glad everyone made it out and back safely.

  12. Interesting. I live in Mazama, over in the Methow Valley, but had never heard of Mazama Park.

  13. I would have had to skip this hike. I'm glad you were all careful and safe. It sure did get cold fast.

  14. Snow and ice make for difficult conditions...glad you and your knees are okay:)


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