Artist's Point is a viewing area and trailhead at the end of the Mount Baker Highway in the North Cascades. It takes visitors into the heart of the Cascades and affords fantastic views both of Mount Baker to the south and Mount Shuksan to the northeast. It also provides a popular staring point for hikes to some of the most beautiful alpine lakes in the North Cascades.
The road to the Mount Baker Ski Area is open year around, but the last part of the road to Artist's Point itself is only open briefly each year. Many summers the road is not clear of snow until August and it can be closed again because of snow in September. Even after the road is open, however, the area around the car park can be so full of snow as to make hiking out of the area nearly impossible.
Thursday, October 21, a rather late date for the road to be open, my wife and I decided to head up to Artist's Point to see the sunrise and to do some hiking. My week was a little less busy than usual and an evening class had been cancelled, the weather reports were for a beautiful day, and so we headed off at about 6:00 am, arriving at Artist's Point before 7:30 am.
There were only a couple other cars in the car park as we got out our cameras and headed up along the ridge running toward Mount Shuksan. From different vantage points on the ridge we watched the light illuminate Mount Baker and then watched the sun finally appear over Mount Shuksan. In the process we saw the peaks to the north turn pink in the morning light and the bright illuminated contrail of jet passing overhead.
Finished with our picture-taking and ready to move on, we decided we would spend the rest of the day in the area, and so headed down to the ski area and to one of the trails there, but that's the subject of another post. That was the first time we'd seen the sunrise from that vantage point and decided we would also have to watch the sunset from there someday.
Note: in this last picture, if you look closely or view the picture in a larger size you can see a ground squirrel also watching the sunrise. He climbed up in the shrub as I was taking pictures and posed there until I made a sudden move.