|Magnificent straight trees|
|Born June 25, 2023|
|Magnificent straight trees|
|Born June 25, 2023|
|Linda and Helen on the trail|
|Beautiful Mt, Baker|
The trail starts on a mountain road that continues on to Twin Lakes, but after five miles of bumpy road, we reached the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead. We saw an incredible number of cars that had arrived before us, in the vicinity of perhaps fifty, and this is on a weekday! Apparently a lot of people realized that the weather is going to change soon and took advantage of today's perfection to hike on a favorite trail before it is gone for the season.
|A gaggle of hikers on our way up|
It could not have been more perfect: the skies were clear, the full sun was not too hot with a delightful breeze blowing, and everybody was in just the best mood as we headed up a rather challenging 2,000+ feet of elevation. This group tends to follow the rules and we stayed together, until three of our hikers decided to stop part-way up and rest there, while the remainder of us went off to our lunch spot, about a mile farther up the trail.
|No wildflowers left, just spent fireweed|
|John peeling an orange in front of the top|
|Mt. Baker, Helen, Tammy|
|Mt Shuksan of the left, Baker on the right|
I did want, if possible, to capture both of our beautiful mountains in one shot, which I managed as we started back down. Everybody made it back down without a mishap, except for me: I slipped on a rock and hit my knee, hard enough to cause a pretty good sized hematoma, but it didn't stop me from continuing back down to the cars. Since I was in a car with two retired nurses, I was given the treatment, a good wrap with an Ace bandage and admonishments about what to do when arrived home (RICE, of course, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
And now I am home, still sipping on my glass of wine as I write this post, with a nice hot shower awaiting me after I'm done here. It was, without a doubt, one of the best times I've had on this hike, and I once again thank all my wonderful fellow hikers for a really GREAT DAY.
|Pumpkins and mums|
|More fall flowers|
To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization. —Arnold J. Toynbee
|Mt. Baker from High Divide|
|Happy Wanderers today|
|One of our many stops|
We didn't do that today, though, so it was over before noon, but we all had a really good time. We were all ready for rain, as it has been forecast for the afternoon, and we did have a few sprinkles, but nothing much, really. It was overcast but pleasantly warm and humid. At every junction, our leader Persis asked us to stop and wait to regroup. Quite a large group to keep track of, any way you look at it.
The last time I was here, there was a huge amount of pollen in the air and on the surface of the lake, but today, as you can see, the water was still and clear. We then made our way to the junction that would take us around the larger loop, which also has some elevation (not much; we had less than a thousand feet today).
|Persis and a huge old growth tree|
Since we didn't have Leanne with us today, our leader Persis did a good job hugging this tree in Leanne's honor. There are many such trees in this magnificent reserve, which doesn't allow horses, dogs, or bikes on the trails, to keep from disturbing the natural environment.
|Such a beautiful place|
We are so fortunate to have such a magnificent acreage to enjoy so close to town. We were all sad to say farewell for now to our environment, but we all look forward to visiting this place again soon. It's open year round.
|Information about the reserve|
It was nice to visit with my new friends, the Happy Wanderers group, one of the three Senior Trailblazer groups to choose from. This one is the only one on Tuesday, and both of the other groups gather for a hike on Thursdays. I'm still up in the air about whether to hike later this week, since I had quite a strong reaction to the second Shingrix shot and still have a very sore arm. In any event, today was a delightful way to spend my Tuesday morning!
|Side entrance to Cornwall Park|
|My favorite color|
|Apples getting ripe|
Research indicates that self-compassion is one of the most powerful sources of coping and resilience we have available to us, radically improving our mental and physical wellbeing. It motivates us to make changes and reach our goals not because we’re inadequate, but because we care and want to be happy.
Who doesn't want to be nice to ourselves? Well, it turns out that most of us would never treat a friend the way we often treat ourselves when we make a mistake or are ashamed of something we've done (or not done). I know I am much harder on myself than I am on others. So I've decided to treat myself better, more like I would treat a friend. Maybe before it's all over, I'll have forgiven myself for past actions that make me wince when I recall them.
How about you? Do you easily forgive yourself when you've made a mistake? If so, please feel free to share that information in this safe space. I'm tired of figuratively kicking myself!
|Group 2 today (me behind the camera)|
|At the top of the Two Dollar trail|
|Our dense beautiful landscape|
|Looking out at Samish Bay|
|Heading back down|
|Sunrise yesterday morning|
So, I drove today to the coffee shop and then went off to the Senior Center to meet my fellow Happy Wanderers for a nice around-town excursion. But when I arrived, I learned that our leader had decided to cancel our hike because of possible lightning in the area. However, it didn't happen, but then again, neither did the rain. We received a disappointing .05 inch of rain last night. Barely enough to wet the streets, and certainly not enough to keep the wildfires that surround our area in check.
Fortunately for me, there were seven of us who didn't get the message that the hike had been canceled, so we went off together for a quick walk in the nearby neighborhoods. We did make it all the way to the Barkley area, where I knew there was a grocery store that would allow me to pop in for a quick bathroom break. A couple of my fellow hikers are familiar with the area, so I did get to see a home where the owner was busy revamping his front yard.
|Rocks with some painted ones interspersed|
He was busy tearing out some green grass and replacing it with rocks like these, a few small plants, and his wife's painted rocks mixed in throughout. He said that if any of the rocks grabbed us and we wanted to take one, to feel free. We didn't, but I sure did enjoy looking at them. You have to take your time and enlarge the picture, if you want to get the full display. He said he is looking to make his entire garden into one that no longer requires so much water to be beautiful, and he definitely is making progress in that regard.
I was a little sad that we didn't have a wonderful hike like we had last Tuesday, but it was understandable that Barb didn't want to take any chances with the weather. We have another chance at a bit of rain this evening, so perhaps we'll get more, if not a real soaking like we'd prefer. It seems like everywhere these days there is either too much or too little precipitation.
I'm worried for my sister's home in Florida, where she lives a few miles inland and a little south of Tampa. This hurricane Idalia looks very scary, with it projected to make landfall tonight. Looking at the projections on TV, it looks like the storm surge will be substantial, although I do hope everyone is able to stay safe.
I just saw a text from the person leading our usual Thursday hike, and he's suggested that we modify it because of unsettled weather for the next few days. So, I might be going on another hike if he decides not to drive all the way up to the Artist Point. As he says, there might be some local rain to play in, rather than driving seventy miles for the same chance. We'll see. Keep your fingers crossed for Florida to make it through this upcoming storm, as will I.
|Falling leaves and overcast skies|
Today I decided once again to skip the long drive for the Thursday hike, since I had such a nice time on Tuesday and didn't feel the need to drive two hours each way for a four- or five-hour-long hike. Plus I woke this morning to another orange sun, although the air quality is in the good range, there is a lot of smoke in the air from distant fires in British Columbia and even a few here as well.
Yesterday I went to a Senior Center monthly meeting, my first time in what is called a "low vision" support group. It made me thankful for the sight I still have, and now I'm beginning to understand what I still have to deal with in the future. Most of the people in the group are suffering from macular degeneration, as I do, or with side effects from strokes. Most of these people use a cane and no longer drive. Next month we will have a speaker from WTA (Whatcom Transit Authority) to find out about special transit and, for those who don't already use it, the regular bus schedules that are offered seven days a week.
I've been using the bus system for years now, since once you reach 75, you receive a "gold card" that allows you to ride for free. Those over 65 but under 75 pay half fare, and those with disabilities have other arrangements as well. I'll learn more next month, but I am feeling very glad to have others to talk with about how they manage, and what's available for those with vision impairments of all kinds.
Right now I am able to function quite normally, and I even drive short distances in bright sunlight. I'm able to use a regular laptop and my iPad normally. I use my Kindle and readers to see larger print, but I need to take breaks often, as my eyes get tired very quickly. After a few minutes of rest, I can pick up a book and continue reading. Gone are the days when I could read for hours at a time and never even notice a problem. I do notice that computer screens are easiest for me to use, since the type is illuminated from behind the letters, and that makes all the difference. It was fascinating to see how others have adjusted to their diminishing sight. And it was encouraging to learn about what options are available to us as we age.
It also makes me very happy that the one ability that doesn't seem to have diminished is my ability to think, write, and contemplate. That doesn't mean I am as mentally sharp today as I was twenty or thirty years ago, but then again, I am doing everything I can to eat right, exercise, and use my brain in new ways. I've learned how to solve sudoku puzzles lately, and although I can't say it's fun exactly, I sure do like the feeling of accomplishment when I've completed one. And of course I love Wordle and play it every day. How about you? Are you enjoying stretching that aging brain? If so, what tricks do you have that you're willing to share?
|Where to go first?|
We stopped at the bridge to decide whether we wanted to go to the top of the peak first, and then make our way around the lake. That's what we ended up doing. I don't think I've ever been on this hike in the summer; it was a usual winter hike for Group 1. Frankly, it was quite lovely and enjoyable and not too taxing.
|Up and up|
You might notice the person on the left, Joe, who has been recovering from back surgery and wanted to see if he could do a Happy Wanderers hike before tackling a longer and harder one with Group 2. He did fine and was quite happy that he's making such good progress.
|Our viewpoint from the top|
We took the South Ridge trail along the ridge until we reached this spot, only to find that a fierce wind was blowing hard, keeping us from staying there for very long. Much of the view across the Skagit Valley was obscured by clouds, but you can see that we did get a chance to see a good distance anyway. I think Mt. Baker would have been visible if the clouds had parted.
|On our way back|
We decided after retracing our steps to this spot, to take a trip around the lake before heading back to the cars. That's my newest friend Cindy smiling in front. She almost looks too young to be a Senior Trailblazer, but I allowed that she is really eligible. She has a great sense of humor, too.
|Admiring the lily pads on Squires Lake|
And then we were back at the cars, everyone in a really good mood and discovering that we covered somewhere around 5.6 miles in total and gained and lost around 1,100 feet. Not a bad day for the group, and I made even more new friends today! I'm hoping for many more days outside enjoying my forest bathing.
|Looking at Mt Baker from the Boundary Way hike|
Don't get me wrong: I am still a little sorry I didn't go, because I enjoy the company of my newest hiking friends, and because I feel a bit like a wimp. We have been having way too hot weather for my liking, and this morning the final straw that made me decide not to go was when I looked at the temperature in Glacier (partway up the Mt. Baker Highway) where we used to stop for ice cream in the old days. The temperature at altitude was five degrees warmer than down here at sea level! Nope, I said to myself, the hot weather is still around and I am not ready to exercise these old bones in the heat. I'm sure they had a good time without me, darn it.
|Ward and Linda in 2009|
This lovely picture of two of my favorite people was taken in front of the peaks that separate Canada from the United States and are called Boundary Peaks because of it. Plus it was really nice to reminisce once again about these two hikers who also don't venture out on these long treks any more.
Instead, I went to the coffee shop as usual and decided to take the Zumba class at the Senior Center before heading back home to spend some time with my guy before making a quick trip to the grocery store. I was again surprised to see that a few of my usual items have increased in price. When will that ever end? In any event, I made it back home and have enjoyed catching up on reading the latest posts from my virtual family. Now it's early afternoon and I'm wondering if the hikers have returned yet. One very large portion of my mind was with them all day, anyway. Hope they had a good time.
|Whatcom Falls, day before yesterday|
I did want to show you the full picture of the usually roaring falls taken on our hike last Tuesday; I did post another picture, but I realized from a couple of comments that, even though they are sparse, they are still very lovely. And also to remind myself that I did get a little "forest bathing" this week, didn't I?
|In Whatcom Falls Park|
|Ina and totem pole|
|"I think we want to turn here"|
|What's left of Whatcom Falls|