Church Mountain Hike

August 11 – Saturday – Church Mountain Meadows Hike

Fairly strenuous, about 2500′ elevation gain and 6 miles round trip to the meadows. Gung-ho hikers may want to go the extra mile and 1000′ to the peak, but should make their own travel arrangements. The trail switchbacks steeply up through old growth forest, finally emerging at open meadows below Church and Bearpaw ridges with views south and west from our lunch spot. Meet at Safeway parking lot at Orleans and Sunset, for an 8 am start. Contact owen.bamford@gmail.com for more information.
Trip Report
On the 11th a small group did a practice hike from Taco Bell to Starbucks. Today (12th) a slightly larger group of seven hikers set out for Church Mountain. The weather was cool and misty, the forest was green and damp from rain yesterday, and the occasional openings in the forest gave inspiring views of thick cloud filling the Nooksack valley. The trail is in excellent shape. Pressing on up the switchbacks, we finally emerged on to the meadows. Attractive little creeks, with artfully arranged clumps of flowers, emerged from the high cloud-obscured cirque and crossed the meadows before disappearing over the edge. Somewhere a marmot whistled. We stopped for lunch at the usual viewpoint  on the meadows shortly before the trail heads up to the summit. The clouds occasionally lifted enough to see the steep meadows above us, but by the time we had finished eating the clouds were down again and we couldn’t see anything much, so we headed back to the cars. On the way down the sun finally appeared, but the tops were still cloud-covered so we probably hadn’t missed anything. We met an optimistic hiker on his way up to camp at the meadows, hoping to see the Perseid meteors.
Distance was only about 5 1/2 miles, with an elevation gain of just under 2500′, so we were back early. Some of us stopped for icecream at Maple Fuels. Thanks to all who came, for your company and for not whining about the lack of views.
Owen