Closing Winchester 2022

So that all club members are in the know, three of us secured the lookout for winter today.  

 – The shutters are cabled down tight while the door will be left secured but unlocked.  

 – An opening limiter was installed so that the door will not open around the corner, damaging the door and the lookout.  

 – An interior hook and eye latch was installed so that when folks are inside the lookout they can secure the door from the inside so that it doesn’t blow open during the night.

 – An exterior slide bolt was installed to complement the two hook and eye latches on the outside of the door.  If the latches are thrown the door should be secure.  We asked a couple that was staying up there whether the latches were closed when they arrived and they confirmed that they were.  Let’s hope that continues until, and throughout, winter.

 – Several signs were installed asking, pleading, begging for the latches to be thrown upon leaving.  One of the signs is on the outside of the door as another gentle reminder.  Note that these were quick turnaround signs and we expect to formalize them, correct all grammar and spelling errors, and mount them permanently come summer next year.

 – We also agreed that opening and closing of the Lookout will become club events going forward.  The Lookout is in the Wilderness so only 12 club members will get to enjoy each of those events so we expect the competition to be fierce!

We had a great day on the mountain, the weather cooperated and did us such a favor that coming down was tough.  The photos attached show the smoke from on top, and then on the way home.  I think that we did much better up there than Bellingham.

Today’s report could have been called the “Forgotten Hat and Two Right Shoes” hike but we will leave that story for the opening party.¬† Two members of today’s party have sworn secrecy and the other was personally involved so identities should be secure ūüėČ Photos on the MBC Flickr Page.

As always, I hope to SYITM (See You In The Mountains)


Jim Gizzi

Winchester Lookout Work Party

6 folks willing to brave the Twin Lakes road at 7 in the morning, and the haul of materials up Winchester Mountain, made a day of it on Saturday, and what a day it was!  

The weather was as spectacular as it gets, the huckleberries were turning colors, the smoke held off and the views were everything that Winchester had to offer, which is considerable, but we had work to do.

The old door was removed in chip chop time and the assembly, dry fitting, cutting, dry fitting, cutting some more, dry fitting some more … and several more times ūüėČ  resulted in a well fit, solid, latchable door to the lookout.  Primed and painted I might add.

An inventory crew went through every inch of the lookout documenting its contents, and weeding out quite a bit of old paint cans, stain cans, other cans and more cans.  They then decided that said weeded out stuff needed to come down the mountain so we made a pile, and it was huge!  Whew, we hauled stuff up, but down too, hmmm, as the day wore on it became obvious that maybe there was another solution.

There were folks staying in the lookout, folks staying on the flat ground on top of the mountain, folks walking through the lookout, around the lookout, asking for the restrooms and …well, you get the idea.  More of them on the trail coming up and, happily, they all needed to go down (except those staying of course).  We quickly decided to use the old adage, “It can’t hurt to ask”, so we did ūüėČ  The number of people that agreed to pick up an item from the pile and deliver it to one of the three white pickups that could be seen from the lookout was amazing, really!  Everyone was happy to help in some way and they did.  The pile of unused, unwanted, unrepairable and just unneeded stuff moved from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the mountain.  It made the people carrying the stuff down happy, and it made the people that would have had to carry the stuff down happy, win, win, and all were happy.

That was really the theme of the day, all were happy, and the lookout now has a door that will protect its inner door through this winter.

Oh, the drive down was a bit nuts at 3 in the afternoon on what might be the last nice Saturday of the summer but hey, it was well worth it for a day on Winchester Mtn.

Next year the list will be longer and the projects will be larger.¬† We will reach out to the club members for help several times through the summer, so if you have not been to the Lookout, it is a treat, and hauling stuff up does not necessarily mean that you have to haul it down ūüėČ

Photos on the MBC Flickr Page.


Jim Gizzi

Racehorse Landslide & Racehorse Falls 8-21-22

Eleven club members and one guest gullibly believed trip leader George Mustoe when he promised an easy day hike to an interesting geological site. He failed to mention a stretch of trail that is so steep that it requires a rope for access, or all the various rocks and logs and bushes that make the hike memorable. As a reward for our efforts we got to see 50 million year old tracks of giant ground birds, three-toed horses, tapirs, and some small crocodiles. And there were lots of fossil plants, including spectacular palm fronds. 

The leader was mostly interested in eating his expansive lunch, but he now and then interrupted the gluttony to mumble comments a time long past when the region was a subtropical forest that existed long before the uplift of the Casacade Range. As a closing event, three of the hikers had the ambition to follow George on a ‚Äúshort, easy‚ÄĚ hike to Racehorse Falls. He failed to mention the need to clamber over logs and rocks, and to ford the creek on stepping stones, but the participants appreciated the mini-adventure that led to a very scenic destination.


Photos on the MBC Flickr Page.

Litter Patrol Summer 2022

It was 79 degrees when we kicked off about 10:00, and 85 at the finish.  But it really was not that bad.  We are lucky that miles 37 – 39 of the Mt Baker Hwy are shady for the most part, and pleasantly, the Nooksack is often in view.   The most exposed area is around milepost 39.

We found the usual assortment of cigarette butts, paper, plastic, cans, and bottles.  But the happy news is that it was a very light collection.  I attribute that to the high mountains only now becoming snow free.  And, that hikers are more environmentally considerate than skiers and snowboarders.  One exception was down a bank where someone had cleaned out all the junk in their car they did not need anymore.  It took me 15 minutes for that alone, but both teams finished in about an hour and half.  Of course, nothing of value was found.  And no one wanted the large pair of men’s pants on the side of the road.  

One double edged sword was that the DOT had recently mowed a wide swarth of grass and brush along the Hwy shoulders, on both sides.  Was great for walking and spying trash, but if they hit an aluminum can, that one can became numerous razor sharp pieces.

I took a photo of the E. Church Mtn road sign so that Fritz can find it when he next attempts that hike.  It is located between mileposts 38 and 39.  About 5 miles up that forest road is the trailhead.

On the way home stopped briefly at the Horseshoe Bend Trail to cool off my feet in the Nooksack.    The river is running kind of high and fast, and full of gray silt.

Thanks to my volunteers Suzanne and ALBERT JAMES FILOSA.  Sorry Al, just poking fun at how your name shows up on the signup sheet.  The next litter patrol will be mid to late October.  I already have several interested members, but if you would like to get on the waiting list for next year, let me know. Photos on Flickr.


Wildlife Tracking Workshop

Ten of us met with Ryan Johnson at the Deming Eagle Park this morning for a Wildlife Tracking workshop.  Ryan  scoped out the area while most of us were still at home drinking coffee and doing Wordle.  Because of his dedication, we were lucky enough to see coyote prints and scat, beaver and crow tracks and signs of rabbits and deer.  If we can remember just a smidgen of the capacious knowledge Ryan shared with us, we won’t mistake domestic dogs for wildlife on our next adventure!

Ryan is always such a pleasure to spend time with.  His knowledge of the outdoors is both deep and wide and his curiosity is infectious.  If you missed signing up for these workshops, look for another in the fall or find him here:

On a disheartening note:  Two in our party returned to their cars to find windows broken.  (I’m so sorry, Susan and Gary!)  The advice I’ve been reading is to put your registration papers, insurance cards and garage door openers in your pack when hiking.  

The world is a crazy place.  I’m so glad for time with all my MBC buddies!  Thanks for a wonderful Saturday morning.

Look for pics on Flickr soon!

Happy Trails,


A Walk in the Woods – Fenton Preserve

On Tuesday morning seven members were joined by Abby and Hank (Representatives of the Whatcom Land Trust) to explore Fenton Preserve.  We were told about the history of the Preserve and Whatcom Land Trust. We walked on several trails. Unsuccessfully sought salmon in Haynie Creek. Last week’s floods scoured the creek bed with no salmon evident.  Lots of fungi.  An eagle aerie viewing led to talk about when and if they will return. 
Hank was especially helpful as he has been a Steward at the preserve for years full of knowledge.  We returned to our cars around noon very thankful to have had such a beautiful morning. One eagle flew overhead to add to our enjoyment.  Every time I have been on a MBC outing the collected knowledge of the group is so impressive as well as the various interests exchanged while sharing stories.  Photos can be viewed on the MBC Flickr Album Page.

Dennis and Judy Doyle

Litter Patrol – Fall 2021

A lovely October morning, mostly sunny and 41 degrees upon arrival at milepost 37 of the Mount Baker Hwy. ¬†Brilliant yellow leaves everywhere glowing in the sun. ¬†Joining me were two members new to the litter patrol, and new to me was a “no show”.
It was an extremely light trash haul (Yay!), barely filling two of the DOT supplied bags with the usual collection of cans, cigarette butts, paper, plastic bottles, and plastic bits of all shapes and sizes.  AS USUAL, NOTHING OF VALUE WAS FOUND!  Some of the light load was due to fallen leaves everywhere hiding a lot of sins until next year.  I did forget to mention in my opening safety and pep talk to Team 2, that they did not have to swoosh around in the leaves looking for hidden treasures.  But I admired the dedication!  Their proudest moment came when they uncovered a tattered, tar covered old traffic cone abandoned after recent roadwork.
As the leaves fall in our slice of heaven (not talking about pizza), it is obvious just how close the Nooksack River is to the highway along miles 39 to 37.  Sometimes just a few hundred yards away.  Some may think of the River as docile, but in my Flickr photos, you can see how the powerful current washed huge trees downstream when the the River is raging.
Also in the photos, there is one that looks like Steve mixed up my order.  Not so!  In support of the MBC efforts my sister who lives in Delaware patrolled her neighborhood.  I think she gathered more trash there than we did in the two miles of the highway.  Good work, Sis!
I would like to thank Carol and Betty for their enthusiasm and upbeat approach to the litter patrol.  The next patrol will be in April 2022 when I think the trash haul will be more significant after a winter of ski bound traffic.  I always found it odd that there are always more beer cans and bottles on the way up to the mountain, than the return.  But we will deal with that in April. More photos on the MBC Flickr Page.

Litter Patrol – Spring 2021

It was as sweet a Spring day as you could want for a litter patrol of miles 37-39 of the Mt Baker Hwy. ¬†Temps were in the low to mid 60’s, sunny, with a light breeze. ¬†With the Club President in attendance, everyone was on his best behavior.
After a long winter, the first litter patrol of the year has always been the heaviest, and today did not disappoint. ¬†Two teams of two fully filled six and a half bags of bottles, cans, paper, plastic, ski hats and gloves, cigarette butts, and some yucky stuff. ¬†But as usual** nothing of value was found. ¬†Well, Fritz did make off with some kind of magnetic sun shield for a car. ¬†The most unusual find was a fully inflated inner tube: ¬†really fat, with a tiny center hole–perfect for snow sliding.
In my last October report I noted the dirty Club sign and my intention to clean it.  After scrubbing it with a brush and soapy water this morning, I realized that the surface was actually damaged.  Group consensus was that someone with a shotgun took exception to our sign.  
Thank you to Prez Michael D, Mike R, and Fritz for gangbuster litter patrolling today.  Next patrol will be in mid July
**other than a few coins over the years.

Intrepid Cleanup Crew

Washington DNR Interactive Recreation Map

Discover DNR recreation. WA DNR has more than 160 recreation sites and 1,200 miles ‚Äď and growing ‚Äď of trail. Their campsites are available first come, first served at no additional cost for vehicles with a valid Discover Pass, making it easier than ever to find your new favorite outdoor destination.¬†Reservation campsites are available at the Margaret McKenny Campground in Capitol Forest and the Elbe Hills ORV Campground in Elbe Hills.

Find your next campground, trailhead, or day use by clicking the button below.
View map full screen

Litter Patrol July 2018

Trip Report

The summer litter patrol of Mount Baker Hwy miles 37 – 39 was held Tuesday.¬† It was sunny and warm–the kind of day in the mountains that so often moves the Club President to look to the heavens and belt out an Italian aria!¬† Sing it Michael!¬† The highway traffic was light, as was the usual collection of beer/soda cans and bottles, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, and assorted bits of plastic and paper.¬† Grass and underbrush along the road may have hidden some litter, but I like to think drivers are rethinking their lazy habits.

To the numbers:

0¬† –As usual, nothing of value was found.

1¬† –Old bamboo Tiki torch.¬† White Nationalists may claim it at the DOT Maple Falls dumpster.

–Ambulance, lights flashing, going east.

2¬† –Teams of two volunteers.

–Actual time in hours, more or less, to patrol one mile, there and back.

3¬† –Sunning garden snakes.¬† One slurping from a Pepsi can (sugary kind).¬† Took the can, left the snake.

4¬† –Partial bags of litter collected.

–Enthusiastic volunteers.

5:45¬† –A.M.¬† Alarm clock sounds off.¬† Hit snooze.

6¬† –Bicyclists heading uphill.

8¬† –A.M.¬† Loaded up, on the road.

9:30¬† –A.M.¬† Patrol teams assemble at mile marker 37.¬† Group photo.

33¬† –Degrees.¬† What the Nooksack River felt like while soaking feet after the patrol.

78¬† –Degrees upon arrival at milepost 37.

86¬† –Degrees when done.

88¬† –Miles, door to door.

1743¬† –Miles from St. Louis that Melinda traveled just to participate in the patrol.

3035¬† –Wooden forest road sign toppled by age and moisture.¬† The road doesn’t really seem to go anywhere.

Thank you to Valerie, Melinda, and Sue for making it a fun day.  The next litter patrol should be in mid to late October, before the snow flies.

Photos of the fun can be seen here.