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.


Turtleback Mountain 2021

Nothing better than a nap in the reclined car seat on the ferry, waking up from the beauty sleep and being at the trailhead of a great hike in no time. Turtleback Mtn. is the oldest rock formation in the San Juans –  I believe. Who cares, we are going there for the fantastic views of the islands, the Golden Eagles, soaring in the sky, and of course for the magnificent Garry Oaks, that are endangered in our neck of the woods. Sorry you couldn’t make it.


Magnificent Gary Oak (Quercus garryana)

View From the Top

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

Baker Lake North Hike

One hearty hiker joined me for Saturday’s Baker Lake North outing.

We’ll call this one, “Lois and Clark trailblaze along Baker Lake”, as the plethora of wind-blown downed trees along the Baker Lake North trail was a challenge for Laura and I to navigate at times.  Bridges and most the trail were in great shape but our WTA friends will need more than a weekend to clear all the downed trees along the trail.  One section had a large enough patch that we ended up getting lost on our way to the continuation of the trail.  More than once we took off backpacks, tossed them over logs, and slid through gaps or slithered along on the ground getting under a downed tree.  Once we arrived at Noisy Creek Campground there were groups camping though it appeared that perhaps they rowed across the lake.  The Lake is down considerably, I’ve never seen it this low.  Beautiful day for sure, really glad we live in an area that allows us to get to a hike like this and back home that same afternoon.  Pics added to our Flickr account shortly.

Temps rested in the 70’s, very little wind Saturday, and our distance was 12 miles with a cumulative 1130’ elevation gain.  Photos on the club’s Flickr account.

Bike for Pie

It was grand to finally get out riding together today and National Pie Weekend was a great excuse to do so.  We had mild sunny weather for March 13 and no wind to speak of in the valley.  A very happy group of riders mostly in cheerful bicycle yellow jackets were raring to go.  We had the pleasure of 4 new members come out today.  After a welcome back to all and a review of bicycle safety rules for group rides, it was noted everyone had signed the new on-line sign up and co-vid waiver. 
A ride together is fun but riding in small groups is even better and my personal preference.  We broke into 2 small groups and timed ourselves about 3 minutes apart which worked very well.  We presented as 2 separate parties the entire ride.  Small groups are much more flexible, it is easier to stay together and our sweep – the last rider in each group – could quickly catch up with their pack.  Cars appreciated small because they could pass us in quick and safe order.  I think many of us remained masked while riding and all remembered masking at Schuh’s when not eating.  
Schuh Farms was bright and cheerful this first weekend of the season (open and serving pie until December holidays) and not too busy when our groups arrived.  Everyone enjoyed their many choices for a slice of pie and the coffee was delicious.  Weekend traffic is always greater than on a weekday but it was worth the increased activity to enjoy this special day together.
I thank everyone for coming out and I am very pleased to say a few people agreed to lead bike rides this year.  There won’t be more bike rides unless folks step up.  I will not be posting Bike Thursday rides this year.  I will on occasion offer rides for some weekdays and am happy to assist any new leader needing a little encouragement.  Tom and I would really like to join someone else’s ride.  Remember – lead five rides and you get a $50. REI certificate!  And that’s a good thing.

Maple Grove Hike 2020

A small but enthusiastic group left the Sedro Woolley ranger station at 8;30 on a sunny, if slightly chilly, morning. Driving to the Baker Lake road we passed through some thick mist with picturesque sunbeams through the trees, so the day was going well before we even got to the trailhead. There are some giant potholes in the road just after the blacktop ends, but it gets better. The hike was uneventful, except for having to surmount several fallen trees, but the forest was looking green and refreshed, the moss was growing luxuriantly, mushrooms were sprouting, lichen was hanging, and wisps of mist added to the general esthetic experience. Anderson creek was spectacular. We met very few people on the trail or at Maple Grove. Baker and Shuksan were both completely clear against a cloudless blue sky. The shore was steaming as it dried off after the last few days’ rain. The lake is about 20′ lower than usual and there are some enormous stumps exposed- one is at least 15′ across.After lunch, general chat, taking of pictures, and lazing about, we packed up and left, meeting a few people on the way back to the cars. A great day out, in perfect weather, and good company.OwenI took a few pictures. Here is a link:

North Butte/Lily/Lizard Lakes

Lets see, interesting and fun people, abundant sunshine, cool temps, small crowds, and nature at its finest.  Sound too good to be true?  It is real and it all happened during yesterday’s Mount Baker Club outing to Lily and Lizard Lakes.

7 fine individuals arrived at the trailhead on time, and we spent the next 4 hours exploring Lily and Lizard Lakes, North Butte, and a good portion of Blanchard Forest.  Total distance was 7.5 miles with 1400’ cumulative elevation gain.  Great pace and a great group.  Thanks for all who got to share in this beautiful day in the Chuckanuts.

Pics on Flickr if you want to check it out.  One photo was added from a 2017 hike to Cascade Pass which was discussed frequently yesterday, Marie did not know she had a furry friend on the hunt for fresh rip blueberries right behind her on the trail until we showed her this picture. 

Whitehorse Bike Trail

Whitehorse Trail has so much to offer, far more than what we all rode on Thursday.
I want to share to share a few notes with you to expand your future riding opportunities.  All of the ride photos have finally been posted just now on our MBC Flickr page.My map is also posted on the MBC Calendar page – click on Thur Oct 29 link.
This is not my usual BB# route map showing what we did.  This is the entire Whitehorse Trail from Arlington to Darrington, the overall length is about 27 miles.  The first 3 or so miles from the Centennail Trail are closed due to a very significant blow out by the Stilliguamish River to it’s embankment and damage to the trail plus the final train bridge needs to be modified for people access.  Someday this will be repaired and opened but damage is very big dollars and that takes time to arrange.  
Meanwhile we have about 23-24 miles of continuous riding to enjoy from the Trafton Park Trailhead out to Darrington.  My map shows you how to get to Trafton trailhead, just before mile marker 25.  There are a handful of roads that cross the trail providing room for a few cars, so you can ride different increments of the trail at a time.  Whitman Rd around mile marker 35 and Swede Heaven Rd between markers 43 and 44 are easy choices.  Darrington is approximately 48-49 mile marker.  Google Maps can find these road points.  The trail itself is in the Google Maps system but Google can not provide mileage on the trail from point to point.  SP&R says this can be difficult to accomplish but they are aware.
I’ve shown some mile markers on my map, attempting to correlate trail points of interest to where along highway 530 they might be.  Without signage on the highway or trail, it’s my best guess but it’s good enough to help you target your parking positions as you discover more of this trail. 
The wonderful wide hard packed gravel surface runs out at Swede Heaven Rd.  The remaining length of trail is very beautiful landscape on flat trail with some generous single track and all about single car width.  You will pass along the famous Bluegrass and Rodeo Grounds with stunning mountain scape views.  The trail ends in Darrington about 2 blocks from the grocery store. 
There is a river embankment blow out immediately west of 435th Ave NE and my map is wrong showing the damage east of 435th.  I recommend walking your bike on the very short footpath behind the barricades.  Scope out the situation before proceeding, bad weather is coming.    
Snohomish Parks & Recreation web site for this trail is very helpful and they’ve updated their information plus their map shows 4 future trailheads.  These are not open yet and there is no trail signage or services on the trail.  There are also plans for a short connection trail to an existing and very nice county campground.  There’s more camping available around Darrington.
Have a great time exploring this new and amazingly beautiful trail on bike or by foot.  Please drop me a line with any updates for my map and photos to share.  Stay well.

Smokey Church Mt

Is a trip report required if no other members come along?  Why not.  I, and one non-member guest (my naive young employee) who thought this sounded like fun, and one well behaved dog on a leash, arrived at the trailhead mid morning.There were 3 cars present in the 20 vehicle parking lot when we headed up the trail.   That, and the fact that no members wanted to join the hike should have been a hint of what was to come.  It was a long grind, though my young companion seemed less affected by the relentless upward switchbacks than I.I’ll start at the beginning:  The Forest Road 3040 was relatively short at 2.5 miles, and not in bad shape as most forest roads seem to be these days.  There is that big washout (gully) about halfway in.  Most sedans would high center, so high clearance vehicles required.  There is water running across the road.  Not a problem Friday, but with heavy rain, could be an additional issue.The trail itself was in excellent shape, especially through the 3 miles of forest.  In the meadow there were some muddy patches, but not bad.  No bugs, but for grasshoppers, and tons of sweet ripe blueberries as you climbed higher.  The wild flowers are mostly done.On the way up, we passed the 6 other hikers and one dog on their way down.  The rest of the way to the top, and all the way down, there were no other hikers at all.  The parking lot was empty except for my truck when we returned.  The round trip hike took 6.5 hrs, and included many rest stops, lunch, view gazing at the top, and time lost unintentionally videoing the top of my head, while trying to take photos.  There is that cable for the scramble to the top, but I took a little path to the right that seemed to me to be easier. The weather people promised that the smoke would clear, but from the photos you can see that to the South, smoke was evident and Mt Baker could barely be seen.  To the North, the skies were bluer and not as hazy.  I had dressed for a Fall hike, but soon it felt like a summer hike, and I wished I had on shorts and a lighter shirt.The long downhill trek did have the usual effect on my knees, but it was a wonderful day, and unusual to have a popular hike pretty much all to ourselves. 


Photos can be viewed on the MBC Flickr Album Page.

Watson Lakes Ramble

A multi-species party of seven humans and two dogs met at Sedro Woolley ranger station and then got in their separate vehicles and drove to Baker Lake road, then across the dam, with the traditional pit stop at the campground. The road to the trailhead is mostly in fair shape but the bad parts are awful, with enormous potholes. Ignoring the side trails to Anderson Butte and Anderson Lakes,  we pressed on to Watson Lakes and reached the second lake in time for lunch. The weather was perfect, sunny  but not too hot, with a slight breeze. The lake was transparent. One brave soul plunged  (briefly) into the lake . Dragonflies patrolled the shore. Occasionally a fish jumped. It was very peaceful. After lunch we wandered a little further towards the end of the lake, but failed to find a convincing trail. The trip back was uneventful, with the highlight of a spectacular view of Mt. Baker. We met a few people on the trail, mostly campers going to the lake, but it was not crowded. 

Total distance was a little over 6 miles. Elevation gain is hard to measure. The lake is almost at the same level as the trailhead but you have to go up and down two big ridges to get there. The cumulative climb is over 2500′, 

Thanks to all participants, including the dogs who behaved impeccably throughout the trip.. 

Here is a link to some pictures from the day: