A select group of 5 hikers met at 7:30. Some members may be surprised to learn there is such a time, but it’s nice to get an early start, if only to make sure you have a place to park at the trailhead. And you may have the trail to yourselves, at least on the outward leg.
The road varied between smooth two-lane blacktop and narrow rough gravel, with everything in between. The worst was the heavily potholed blacktop, but there wasn’t too much of that. The trail is mostly in good condition, except where impatient hikers have cut across switchbacks, and for one partial washout just before Glacier Creek (?) where we had to step smartly across a gap. The first two creek crossings were easy, but general consensus from previous reports and from someone we met was that the Heliotrope Creek crossing (the last one before the glacier view ridge) was impassible. That was OK because we intended to go up the climbers’ path anyway.
The path is almost steep enough to need climbing gear, but we bravely ascended to where the ridge widens and levels out with stunning views across the Roosevelt glacier and waterfalls pouring down from the Baker summit icefields. There were even a few flowers and butterflies (Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, for those who care about such things.) We had lunch, basked in the sunshine, and absorbed the glorious views. Then we carefully picked our way down the path, rejoined the main trail and made good time back to the trailhead, passing a surprising number of people starting up the trail mid-afternoon. The parking lot which was empty when we arrived, was almost full when we returned.
So, another great, memorable day in the mountains, with perfect weather.. Photos posted on the MBC Flickr album page.