Excelsior via Damfino Lakes

 Three hikers with excellent taste wandered through the woods to the pass.  The best flower fields are in the meadows just before climbing …..also the last running water.

Shuksan and Baker in glorious repose across the valleys…..

   The beauty, and relative ease of this hike makes it popular and well traveled.  Wander for miles in either direction to escape the crowds.

Many hikers on the way up, as we were headed out….  and many coming in from the highway.    

The road is in the best shape its ever been….. no potholes, gulleys and drops all smoothed out….. still long,  winding and dusty.  Be aware the trail is open to dirt bikes, and motorcycles up to the junction with boundary way…..  

 Disclaimer:    excellent taste of the 3 hikers in question, was tested, and approved, by an independent panel of local  judges.

Including horseflies, mosquitos, black flies, and other biting critters


Heliotrope Climbers Route (Hogsback)

Six intrepid hikers, together again after our Park Butte junket, joined me for the hike up Heliotrope Climbers Route on a beautiful sunny day. The wildflowers were abundant and in full bloom. After the turnoff to the hogsback, we scattered like a flock of crows, two eating lunch early, three climbing up to the first snowbank across the trail, two venturing up as far as the climbers camp. A few pesky flies were held at bay by the breeze above treeline, but returned to sample me on the way back, giving me a chance to try out my new bug jacket and hood. Although we started back at different times, we reunited along the return trip, thus proving that my strategy of leading from behind (or really, not needing to lead experienced hikers at all) can be a successful one. One driver had the misfortune to suffer a flat tire from all the potholes, but managed to get back home. It was a gorgeous day to be out in the North Cascades. Some pictures soon on Flickr.


Heliotrope Flowers

 A mellow wander through the trees…. till breaking out into the open….and hufflepuffing up the climbers trailsweet scent of flowers…. so many flowers….spaced for slow progressthe better to enjoy mountains,  views  and  waterfalls

and goats on the glacier…..and huge streams of water flowing out under the snowthe last stream before the glacier.. could be crossed early in the dayand yep the hiking poles on the way down very handy….. all that loose stuff….


Park Butte Hike 2021

Park Butte never disappoints; another great day hiking in the PNW with the Mount Baker Club. Thirteen members joined me on my hike in the National Recreation Area. Some of us checked out the old fire lookout, some of us enjoyed the beautiful views from the tarns, and some of us did both. Nevertheless, we stayed together as one happy hiking group. 
What does it take to make this great hiking experience? Come to think of it, actually a lot! It is obvious that we need to be blessed with the beautiful land of the PNW. Then the National Forest Service has to do their part in developing and maintaining the recreation and wilderness areas. The Skagit Alpine Club has to keep the Lookout in good condition. Oh my god, then all these busy trail maintenance people. When we were there, groups from the Forest Service, WTA, Backcountry Horsemen from Skagit and Whatcom County, and a trail maintenance crew from the Pacific Scenic Trail were working the trails. Last not least we need the nice people from the Mount Baker Club to round out the great hiking experience. Thanks to all of them.

Pictures are on the MBC Flickr album page. See you on the trails,Fritz

Island Girls MBC outing- San Juan Island

What a lovely day for an 18 mile bike ride. Seven MBC riders hopped on the Anacortes ferry and rode off at Friday Harbor, headed to American Camp. Although it was windier than expected we braved that wind, riding into it as we left Friday Harbor. With just two ebikes in the group we seven did a loop through downtown to be introduced to San Juan Brewing for future reference…just in case. The day was sunny and slightly cool so after a quick coffee break for some Fidalgo brew we rode to American Camp Visitor Center. Built just two months ago after having to use a small “temporary” building for 60 years, the new visitors center is quite nice. The park rangers are very proud. From there we hit gravel and rode the trail down to South Beach. It was beautiful but the 12 mph winds kept the group from riding the hills up to the Vista point or the lighthouse. After lunch we headed back to the main road and went left down to 4th of July Beach, one of Janet Boyhan’s favorites. It is now a favorite of the Island Girls as well. The beach stretches quite a ways and the view is completely different on that side; easterly versus the ocean view at South Beach. The water was clear and gorgeous; what a delightful spot. Next trip we will have lunch at 4th of July Beach without the hard wind we experienced at S. beach. We got a bit of a push from the wind as we rode back to Friday Harbor taking a detour onto Argyle Way which led us back down to the ferry. Of course some of us managed an ice cream stop, enjoying Lopez Islands treat, while two others had beer and wine to finish the trip. What a joy it is to get together  again, riding, chatting, getting to know a couple of newer members.  A grand time was had by all.

Photos posted to MBC Flickr Album.


Goat Mountain Hike 2021

Another great hike in the mountains. Seven strong MBC members tackled Goat Mt on a sunny July Friday. Great views of Mount Sefrit, Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker were to be had. Was that Excelsior Peak and Church Mountain over there? A little breeze kept the flies at bay during our lunch break at the lookout. Yes, the bugs started to be annoying at the last part of our hike. After lunch we pushed a little further up the mountain, to finish the official trail at about 5,500 ft. and 4.2 miles up the mountain. The top was not in the cards today. The trail is in excellent condition and the forest road to the trailhead is like the Autobahn, no potholes to be seen. Thanks to my fellow hikers for another great hiking day.

Pictures are posted on Flickr.

Off to the next hiking adventure,


Early Church Mountain Hike

Four strong MBC members venture out to check the condition on Church Mtn. A bit more snow still in the meadows than anticipated required some trail finding skills after crossing the bigger than usual Dearhorn Creek. I temporarily lost the trail beyond the creek but after some readjusting we were able to get back on track and reach the end of the trail at 6000 ft elevation safely. Great hike, great company, great views, and great weather. Thanks to the fellow hikers for a great day.

Photos can be viewed on flicker.


Diablo Lake Hike

Should we or should we not – continue the hike and finish it at the suspension bridge? That was the question at our lunch spot overlooking Ross Lake and the Ross Lake Dam. We had some 2.75 miles climbing 730 ft behind us in beautiful summer weather. Solstice couldn’t be better! Everybody in the group of 4 enjoyed the hike in warm temperature but not too hot so far and everybody was in good shape. Continuing would mean to add another 1.2 miles and a drop down of 650 ft before we turn around and walk the whole way back. The promise to see a nice waterfall was the deciding factor and we all voted for continuing – and in the end were glad we did. Everybody in the group finished the 7.9 mile hike with a smile on their face and was looking forward to getting into the Diablo Lake on the beach behind the parking lot for a swim. It was very refreshing (maybe a bit on the cold side) and exactly what we needed to start our drive back to Bellingham. I indicated that hike as one of my favorites at the hiking announcement and it did not disappoint this time either. I hope the group agrees with me and I thank them for joining me and being so positive of expanding it to the full experience.

We realized that the turquoise water of Diablo Lake is much more pronounced compared to  Gorge or Ross Lake. Why is that?

The pictures will be posted on Flickr shortly.

Thanks, Fritz

Guemes Island Bike Ride

Ten happy riders jumped aboard the Guemes Island pedestrian ferry and in minutes began their adventure.  The weather was beautiful for a bike ride, a balmy 66 when we landed. We took South Shore Road, which is counterclockwise, and ended up at the Guemes Mountain trailhead in no time.  This two and a half mile hike is worth a trip to the island every time. The locals have left hiking poles and a dog leash or two for those who’d like to use them. The views at the top are 360 and spectacular and we strolled and played amongst the dragonflies and birds. After a leisurely break we mounted our steeds and rode on.  This hilly little island has lots of beautiful gardens and artwork around neighborhood homes.  The detour down to Guemes Island Resort for lunch on the beach was an added attraction. While it’s not a long ride, we did get in about 15 miles. It was a wonderful way to spend a beautiful day.


Earth Day Bike Ride 2021

A group of nine riders  joined together at the Bow Fire Department parking lot and did a 23 mile ride to celebrate Earth Day. Through the Bow Cemetery,  down Worline past the sculpture garden yard, through some peaceful, beautiful country, then around  Samish Island we went. Although somewhat cloudy the ride was quite lovely. There were a handful of eagle sightings, and birdsong floated along with us on Samish Island. There was also a crazy chicken lady photo session or two.  A few took a food and beer break before heading home but all returned to our cars with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts.

Photos on the MBC Flickr account.