Thursday, October 13, 2022

Ptarmigan Ridge 2022

The trail taking us to the Ridge

Today Melanie and I drove all the way to Artist Point to hike the Ptarmigan Ridge (more than 70 miles). It was likely that we would have to deal with the smoke that has wafted up from the southern part of the state, where the Bolt Creek fire in Snohomish County, just south of Whatcom County where I live, might impact our air quality. It did, but we were at a very high altitude. Artist Point is at 5,000 feet elevation, and as we drove upwards we saw the visible air quality improve. 

Mt. Baker from the trail

What surprised me the most is that when we began our hike from the parking lot, although it was mid-October, the air was actually HOT. It had to be at least 70°F early in the morning. I don't think I've ever experienced anything like this at this time of year. Usually it's cold, at least 25 degrees cooler than this to begin an excursion into the mountains at high altitude.

Mt. Shuksan in the haze

We hiked from Artist Point to the junction that gives us a choice of whether to go up to Ptarmigan Ridge, or to Chain Lakes. We chose the first, because it's been a favorite of mine for years, and after the fiasco on Goat Mountain, I wanted to see if I was up for the six-mile round trip that would take us up and down around 1,500 feet. Melanie was willing to turn around any time I might need to. But we made it all the way to the viewpoint, and we were able to spend some time there having lunch before heading back down the way we had come.

Lots of fall colors

We were a bit on the slow side as we climbed up to the ridge, because (for me) it was so warm that I just don't do well anymore in heat. But we did finally make it there, I was so pleased that I was able to manage the steepness and rocky terrain.

The ridge

This trail winds around until you get to a viewpoint that used to be a stop on the way to the rest of the trail, but now I am just happy to be able to get three miles on the trail. You can go much farther, but the viewpoint is a good turnaround spot.

Mel, me, and Shuksan

We prevailed on a fellow hiker to take a picture of us with Shuksan behind us, for posterity, and to help me remember a really fabulous day in the wilderness with a super good friend. I couldn't have done it without her help, and now I am home, happy and delighted with my latest set of pictures, and not feeling half bad, either. It was probably our last wilderness hike of the season, so it was a great way to end it. 



  1. You forgot to mention my Buckwheat Cookies…I’m just sayin’

  2. I am so glad that you did it. I looked at that steepness and knew that I would be defeated before I started - even without the heat. Colour me impressed. Again.
    You totally deserve wine o'clock tonight.

  3. That does look like a fabulous hike.

  4. I like ridges and ridge walks. Of course, I don't do that any more.

  5. On Thursdays I wonder where you are hiking. The names of the locations are familiar now. This was a different one and what a treat! Well done, Jan. Love that photo of the two of you!

  6. Beautiful views of the mountains, especially Mt. Baker. If 70F is too hot for you, then you would not do well in Hawaii.

  7. Laughing about Mel's Buckwheat cookies. They sound like they deserved a mention:)
    So glad you had such a nice hike and that the air quality wasn't too bad. Some shots show the haze but the one of the two of you looked pretty clear.

  8. My gosh, this was a real change of scenery but some striking photos, DJan. I enjoyed Mel's buckwheat cookies comment too. :^)

  9. It was a change of scenery... and although beautiful in it's own way, I have to say that I prefer trees, moss, fern, and waterfalls. And it did look a bit steep. Glad you had no problem.

  10. What great photos. Lots of Autumn colors and high altitude scenic views!! Lovin' the photo of two best friends!!!!

    70°?!?? That's hot for this time o' year for your neck of the woods!

  11. Mel and you are such wonderful friends. Why the last wilderness hike this year?

  12. I enlarged all your photos to look at them, DJan and they are beautiful! What an awesome hike with an awesome friend you had.


I really appreciate your comments! If you see a word verification box here, just ignore it. I don't use the darn thing and Blogger is trying to get us to use it, I guess. Ignore it and your comment will still appear.