Friday and Saturday, October 5 and 6, son Edward and I went on what will very likely be the last hike of the year. The weather had been beautiful, sunny and pleasantly warm, through September and October and we decided we had better take advantage of it.
Edward, who has not done much backpacking the last couple of years, decided that we should hike in the Twin Lakes area north of Mount Baker. This area is part of the Mount Baker Wilderness and the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Mount Baker sunrise
We left early Friday morning and after negotiating the rather rough Forest Service road to Twin Lakes were on the trail with our packs by 7:30 am. We hiked up and over the ridge north of Twin Lakes and headed for Mount Larrabee and the Pleiades Overlook.
trail with the Pleiades in the distance
The trail ends at the Pleidades Overlook on the shoulder of Mount Larrabee, about four miles in and with an elevation gain of 1,845 feet to an elevation of 6,740 feet at the trail's end. We planned on camping somewhere along the trail, but changed our plans later.
The morning was cold and there was a lot of frost in the ground along the trail. We saw the sun come up over the peaks to the east and welcomed its warmth while hiking on, first over Low Pass and then over High Pass to the overlook which we reached about 9:30.
moon over Low Pass
Mount Larrabee was the visible ahead of us and to the north all along the trail, but as we came up from Low Pass we began to see Mount Baker to the south and behind us and the Pleiades Overlook provided more fabulous views of Baker and the surrounding mountains.
Mount Larrabee and High Pass
Mount Baker from Pleiades Overlook
Mount Shuksan and Winchester Mountain from Pleiades Overlook
Mount Baker and High Pass from the Pleiades Overlook trail
North Cascades from Pleiades Overlook
Pleiades Overlook trail
After admiring the views from the Pleiades Overlook we hiked back down to High Pass and from there took a side trail to the old abandoned Gargett Mine, where we found the old mine shaft and some old rusting equipment scattered around at the shaft and on the slope below.
looking up to High Pass from Gargett Mine
old mining equipment
trail to Gargett Mine
snow and ice near Gargett Mine
The autumn color was at its peak, especially the wild blueberries, and we enjoyed both the color and the fruit. There were not a lot of wildflowers still blooming, but we photographed those we found including the seed heads and flowers of the Western Pasque Flower.
Western Pasque Flower
Returning from the mine we had our lunch at Low Pass and then headed back to Twin Lakes where we had decided to spend the night after hauling our packs around all day. Back at Twin Lakes we set up camp and explored the area around the lakes including other old mining sites.
Lower Twin Lake
weathered stump near camp
Upper Twin Lake drainage
Lower Twin Lake
Indian Thistle seed heads
Great Purple Monkey Flower
Mount Baker over Lower Twin Lake
trail along Lower Twin Lake
Upper Twin Lake
old mine shaft
blueberries at Twin lakes
After supper and before dark we hiked back down the road to a spot where we could watch the sunset with Mount Baker as the main feature of the landscape. The sky was cloudless and the sunset was not spectacular but we did get some decent pictures.
Around a fire that night and before bed we enjoyed some extra treats including some small bottles of wine, crackers and cheese, chocolate and some Starbucks instant coffee. In bed by 9:00 we slept soundly intending to get up early the next morning to see the sunrise.