Thursday, July 30, 2020

Heliotrope Ridge

Me and waterfall
Today marks the first day this season when we made it up to the High Country. Melanie, Dianne and I headed up to Heliotrope Ridge off the Mt. Baker Highway near Glacier. When we started out, we noticed how warm it was, but still rather pleasant, since we were at a higher altitude than in Bellingham. This is the first stream crossing out of three (other than the one that has a bridge over it at the beginning of the trail). It was easy, and the water coming off the waterfall was simply delightful. But it turned out to be the only  crossing we were able to make.
Second stream crossing
Now this might not seem to be all that hard to cross, but after spending considerable time trying to find a way to cross without getting our feet wet, we watched several other hikers trying to cross, too, and nobody made it across without putting on water shoes or going barefoot. I had brought water shoes, too, but Dianne had not. We decided to turn around, retrace our steps, and instead go up a side road and look at wildflowers.
Mt. Baker
We also had a wonderful view of Baker, since we couldn't get near the glaciers on foot, we had to admire them from afar. That's goat's beard in the foreground, a lovely and very prolific plant in bloom right now.
We saw plenty of lupine, one of my favorite summertime flowers, on the side road. That's a lone Indian paintbrush looking very red, too. By the time we were snapping these pictures, it had grown very hot indeed.
Tiger lilies
We also saw lots of these pretty tiger lilies, which were everywhere along the side of the road. Although there were plenty more flowers, I was getting very hot and wished we could get back into the car where there was air conditioning. By the time we made it down to the town of Glacier, the temperature had reached 95°F (35°C), way too hot in my opinion. We also hadn't hiked very far, having been turned back from the trail, only having gone maybe four or five miles, before calling it a day.

But still. It was the first trip into the Mt. Baker wilderness this year, so I am happy that we managed to make it before the end of July. Next week we will try again, and hopefully it won't be so hot.


  1. You walked a long way for the heat.

  2. Stream crossing are dicey. However, I never fell but I did get wet. Barefoot is painful as some of the streams come out of glaciers.

  3. I'm glad you stayed safe. That's way too hot for hiking, but you did get to see wonderful wild flowers.

  4. Hot? Lol (I have to laugh, sorry)

    Oh so beautiful! Even tho you had to take a different approach, (and the water is beautiful)...I love seeing the flowers!!

  5. Ok, now that is hot. Glad you got to see Mt. Baker again but sorry the water penned you in a bit. Smiled at the lonely Indian paintbrush invading the Lupines.

  6. Four or five miles is a lot to many people.

    What a beautiful area! The wildflowers are spectacular!

  7. Beautiful photos, but sorry you had to endure such high temperatures.

  8. That would be a scorching climb in those temps. Maybe getting wet wouldn't have been so bad. The right shoes really matter though.

  9. Beautiful flowers. 95f is way too hot.

  10. Your view of Mt. Baker is my favourite of these.

  11. Dear DJan, the summer flowers remind me of my perennial gardens in Minnesota. I so enjoyed their beauty. Even enjoyed weeding them! When I moved back to Missouri, I decided, because of knee problems, to plant just a shrub garden. It's in front of the front of my house and welcomes visitors, but, oh, I miss the color of lupins and dragon lilies and astilbe and bleeding hearts. Ah, well.

    It's wonderful that you can get out and walk. That is such an important part of your life. I think the vistas stretch your mind. That's what I see in your Sunday blog postings: a mind that grows into a beautiful human being. Peace.

  12. Your wildflowers are just lovely! Lupines in August...must still be cool up there. So glad you got to go to the Mountains:)

  13. Goodness so hot!
    Lovely photographs.

    All the best Jan


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