Four of us played hooky yesterday and enjoyed a 10 mile roundtrip hike to Noisy Creek. Pre-hike we walked the Horseshoe Bend campground where the MBC is holding a camping trip in July to check out the digs. Our group campsite is on a point in the Northernmost section of the campground on Baker Lake in a cozy cove. Recommend that campers bring kayaks if you’ve got them.
We left the car at 10:30 as low clouds hung above us, during the next hour the clouds burned off and we were left with a truly classic Northwest Spring day. Temps from 60-70 helped our stamina.
Though this trail meanders along the lake without climbing significantly until you begin the hunt for the granddaddy of all trees, we managed to climb (and drop) approx. 1600 feet total and put on 30,000 steps, more for Ms Beason of course. Many streams and creeks were crossed, some on bridges, some on foot. Water was flowing with vigor as the snow above melts rapidly thanks to a few warm days.
At lunch at the Noisy Creek campground espanich was espoken exclusively for a while, such a treat to find 4 of us who all speak and understand Spanish. Defining the words “propina” vs. “idea” became a typical latino conversation rife with emotion and passion.
Over 132 identifiable shades of green were reported along the trail, remarkably different from our Whistle Lake/Mt Erie day where a nearly equal number of shades of gray were reported and logged.
Reports of a large, very large Douglas Fir were proven accurate, the granddaddy of all trees was found near Noisy Creek. Check out the photos on flickr. Go to mountbakerclub.org and under “Members Login” click “Mount Baker Club Outing Photos (Flickr).
Dinner and beverages post-hike at Birdsview satisfied.
NOCA Bike Trip Report & Access Update
Rainy Day Greetings Fellow MBC Members,
A group of six members, previous members & guest set off behind the gated North Cascades Highway yesterday and enjoyed a beautiful warm blue-sky cloud-free day. The sunny warmth released delightful spring scents and the budding deciduous foliage still allowed unique views along the way. By common agreement we all had lunch at Canyon Creek Trailhead. Despite the enjoyable rushing waters beside us, we could hear various bird calls in the cool open forests and even from the other side of the stream. We discussed hiking the trail to see how the two nearby cabin ruins were after yet another winter but decided that the biking was reward enough on this day. On the leisurely return we discovered several new points of interest as well as lingering at those viewpoints providing dramatic mountain and lake views. On the drive home we once again had to wait at the long construction zone between Newhalem and Marblemount but thankfully it was much shorter than our morning experience.
Special thanks to Steve and Jennie our official Sasquatch Trackers who found not one but two crossing locations. Now experienced with what to look for we found a THIRD crossing. I wonder how many more there might be? Steve has generously uploaded photos on our club’s flickr page which will give you some idea about the ride and photo evidence of the Sasquatch Crossings.
Further down valley, as we approached Sedro-Woolley on the homeward drive, we saw dense clouds spilling over the foothills to the south. By the time we passed through Sedro, less than 20 minutes later, they had continued expanding all the way to the north skyline, filling the sky with roiling dense clouds, some tearing themselves apart as they sped over the mountain peaks. It made us appreciate the beautiful calm day we had been fortunate to enjoy.
Latest report from Wa Dept of Transportation is that the warm weather has brought down much of the snow in the loaded avalanche chutes that have been preventing highway clearing. The work crews had to retreat several times and set off explosive charges to allow for safe re-entry to these locations where they expect to have to clear the same stretches of road two or more times before it will be safe to allow public travel. With the variable weather we are experiencing they are still not officially committing to an opening date.
Best Wishes to you all,
Outings Report: Heather Meadows Snowshoe (Conditions & Avalanche Observations)
Wednesday, April 25th, six members enjoyed a warm sunny beautiful blue-sky cloud-free day wandering the hills and slopes of Heather Meadows. The snow surface was crusty hard but grippy in the small pools of shade but for the most part was relatively firm with occasionally breaking crust and a shallow surface layer of sun warmed snow. Conditions seemed perfect for snowshoeing but none of us felt skiing would have been pleasant at this elevation. The fairly flat former ski runs (the ski resort had finished its season the previous weekend) would have made fun ski touring and skating but the skiers we encountered were all returning from higher elevations and cruising back to their vehicles. Before leaving we surveyed what will become the various Ski-to-Sea routes in about a month especially the down-hill skiers climb up the north slope of Pan Dome.
We saw our first avalanches spilling off the eastern slopes of Mt Herman as we left the parking area and throughout the day various avy slopes and “tongues” continued to grow but despite our stadium like lunch seat near the center of the basin we never got to enjoy seeing a big climax release. A large deep recent release off Table Mt had stretched almost across the basin floor and ended somewhere near the snow route and summer trail to Herman Saddle (Chain Lakes Loop).
It was a very enjoyable day and a reminder of how wonderful spring snowshoeing can be but also how important practicing proper avalanche avoidance continues to be whether snowshoeing or early season hiking. The only spooky part of the trip was driving on the highway past the steep slope just below Heather Meadows. It still has a lot of snow on it.
Wishing you wonderful Spring outings,
The first of three 2018 litter patrols was held on Tuesday along the Mt Baker Hwy, miles 37 – 39. The Spring patrol is usually the heaviest, after a 6 month layoff.
The Good: -A beautiful sunny day.
-Little traffic on the Hwy.
-The brush along the road has not fully opened, allowing us to see all the litter left behind.
The Bad: -About eight bags of junk, mostly the usual collection of aluminum cans, beer bottles, cardboard, plastic, some clothing, road reflectors, and a few car parts. The worst of the bad…a soggy pamper. People!!
-Keeping with tradition, nothing of value was found.
-In places, the road was dusty from all the winter sanding.
The Unknown: -What are people thinking when they throw this stuff out the car window?
The next litter patrol should be in mid July.
The first photo to follow is of my crackerjack volunteer crew. Thanks to Penny, Owen, and Sue. The second photo shows me wondering if I was going to make it back to milepost 39, where I started.