Saturday, October 28, 2017

Washington Pass

"From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised."

Traveling from Spokane to our home in northwestern Washington on October 9th we timed our trip so that we arrived in Washington Pass on the North Cascades Highway just before sunrise, and though it was very cold, went to the overlook to watch the sunrise on the Liberty Bell Group of peaks.  These peaks are some of the most dramatic in the North Cascades, standing all alone far above the pass and road.  In the photos, the peaks are in order from left to right (east to west) South Early Winters Spire, North Early Winters Spire, Lexington Tower, Concord Tower and Liberty Bell.

Back in the parking lot we took a few photos of some ice-covered huckleberry bushes and then went out way, well satisfied but very cold.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Railroad Grade

"the mountains are His own"

On September 2 I did the first and long hike of 2017.  Before surgery in May, I had not had opportunity and after surgery did not feel like hiking.  This hike to Railroad Grade was very nearly too much for me and we did not hike again until 2018.

Railroad Grade has nothing to do with trains.  The trail, which follows the edge of a glacial moraine, is named for its gentle grade and is one of the approaches for climbing Mount Baker from the south.  I hiked there with my wife and three others.

We went as far as the climbers' camp and enjoyed thee spectacular views of Mount Baker or Koma Kulshan, the White Watcher and Easton Glacier which left the moraine up which we hiked.  The trail is about 7 miles with 2000 feet of elevation gain.

 first views of Baker

Purple Monkeyflower


beginning of the Railroad Grade trail
(the first 2.5 miles are part of the Park Butte trail)

Park Butte

Sitka Mountain Ash

Gray Jay

Northern Checkerspot

Mount Baker
(Easton Glacier on the left and the trail along the glacial moraine just visible)

on the moraine and looking back

on the moraine and looking forward

Sitka Mountain Ash

 Park Butte across the valley

 Twin Sisters

more trail

near the climbers' camp