At the end of August we took a couple, friends of ours, who had just moved to Washington, on a hike in the North Cascades. We did the very popular Lake Ann trail and from there a side trail to Curtis Glacier. The hike is near Artist's Point and the end of the Mount Baker Highway and is about eight miles round trip with an additional couple of miles to and from the glacier.
Lake Ann lies at the foot of Mount Shuksan and Curtis Glacier on the north slopes of Mount Shuksan. The hike first descends into a beautiful valley and then ascends through a saddle to the lake. From the lake there is a side trail that follows the edge of Shuksan arm to a viewpoint above and in front of the glacier. The trail is one of the best known in the North Cascades.
We started early and hiking down the side of the ridge were soon in an open area that was still full of wildflowers, many of which we photographed along with the stream and ponds that are such a beautiful part of the valley. We rested and had a snack at Swift Creek where the bugs were quite bothersome, before heading up again to the lake.
From Swift Creek on Mount Baker appeared to the south affording us some grand views of the mountain as well as the valley behind us. Looking back we could see Table Mountain, Herman Peak and Herman Saddle, all of which surrounded the next valley to the west, separated from our locaiton by the ridge on which we had parked out car.
As we approached the saddle that separates the lake from the valley below we had to cross quite a bit of snow, rather exiting for our friends who had no experience of snow in July. We had to tread carefully since even where the trail was not snow-covered it was very wet with snow melt running everywhere. To our surprise the lake it self was still covered with ice when we arrived there.
When we crossed the ridge to Lake Ann, Mount Shuksan was visible to our left and Curtis Glacier on the slopes of Mount Shuksan. We followed a steep side trail to the slopes west of Mount Shuksan, a trail that also provides magnificent views of the valley to the east of Lake Ann with Ross Lake visible in the distance. That trail is only a mile long and it did not take us very long to navigate it.
Hiking back we enjoyed more magnificent view of Baker and were at the car in time to be home for our evening meal. It should be noted, though, that some of these pictures were taken by my wife who has also posted pictures of this hike on her blog: http://quietnaturetrails.blogspot.com/2013/07/lake-ann-with-nathan-and-esther-van.html