Monday, October 31, 2016

Chain Lakes

October 10 was forecast to be a sunny day and we have not had many of them lately, so I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and go hiking in the Mount Baker area.  However, the sun never appeared, though the day was dry and the hike pleasant.  In fact, one of the few hikers I met asked where the sunshine was.  She, with her dog, had apparently had heard the forecasts, had the same idea and suffered the same disappointment.

I decided to hike the Galena-Chain Lakes loop, which takes one up from Austin Pass and Bagley Lakes through Herman Saddle and around the back of Table Mountain to Artist's Point and back down to Austin Pass or the other way around.  The hike was not difficult, a total of eight miles with 1700 feet elevation gain, most of that up from Bagley Lakes to Herman Saddle.  We had hiked to Herman Saddle several times but never all the way.

The disappointment of the hike was that neither Mount Shuksan nor Mount Baker were visible through the mist and clouds, except for occasional glimpses, though I did see Mount Shuksan on my way to the trailhead at Picture Lake.  The autumn color, however, was very good and the clouds made for some very atmospheric shots.

Picture Lake and Mount Shuksan

Mount Larabee and the Border Peaks

Bagley Lakes

autumn color on the way to Herman Saddle

 glimpses of the surrounding peaks


more autumn color

Western Pasque Flower seedheads

more peaks and clouds

 at Herman Saddle

Iceberg Lake


Sitka Mountain Ash

 more autumn color

 Hayes Lake

Iceberg Lake again

Cascade Aster

 the streams that connect Hayes Lake and Mazama Lake

 Mazama Lake

Table Mountain

 where Mount Baker should have been

up again to Ptarmigan Ridge

Ptarmigan Ridge

 on to Artist's point

 threatening skies

 Stika Mountain Ash

Mount Baker Wilderness sign

 around the back side of Table Mountain

 nearly to Artist's Point


Artist's Point


 looking back across Upper Bagley Lake to Herman Saddle

 headed back down to Austin Pass

Table Mountain from Austin Pass

autumn color at Austin Pass


  1. Many of these shots prove that photography on foggy or rainy days can produce more interesting photo opportunities than sunny days.... Those peaks shrouded in varying amts. of clouds are just awesome to behold! Sunny day shots of this area just lack that mystery and intrigue factor.

    It's interesting that the blueberries in your area still had fruit on 'em.... All the ones I encountered along my recent hikes were picked clean. They do share the beautiful red color they add to the landscape, though... In PA, they're slightly less vibrant -- trending toward dark pinks -- but make such nice carpets in woodlands covered in a myriad of autumn golds and copper =)

    Superb set of photos! Hope you bring most of them over to ipernity....

    1. Thanks for the nice comments, and I whole-heartedly agree about foggy, cloudy, even rainy days. The only difficulty with hiking in that weather is that damp and camera equipment are not very compatible.

      The blueberries were very nearly past their prime. Some of them were soft and even starting to taste a bit off. It was a fabulous year for them, though, and we rarely hike the back country in October without finding more than enough to satisfy.

    2. Yeah, it can be tough on cameras.... I've been known to stick my camera in waterproof housing or opt to leave the expensive stuff at home & take a top of the line point and shoot instead (they tend to be more sturdy and forgiving in rough weather). I have one that has all the basic features of a DSLR without the fragility & bulk of one.

      Just had to come back and have another look at this series =) So beautiful!

    3. I have a Canon 7D which is waterproof to a degree, but I still try to keep it dry and keeping rain off the lens when taking photos is an ever bigger problem. A point and shoot is easier to maneuver in that kind of weather and I should get a good one again.


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