Sunday, October 12, 2008

Railroad Grade (Mt. Baker) 10-12-08

Managed to convince my sister and brother-in-law to drive up from Pierce county this morning for a beautiful day on the south side of Mt. Baker.
They brought their energetic 9-month-old puppy along for his first real hike also.
Due to his age they were worried about the distance so we limited the trip to visiting the Railroad Grade instead of the Park Butte Lookout.

Round Trip for our route was almost exactly 6 miles and just shy of 1,800 feet of elevation gain.

The 'Railroad Grade' trail is a great trail because of its varied terrain and fantastic mountain views. Here is a short video of what hikers see as they first gain the 'Railroad Grade':

We also crossed paths with Slugman and Daisy the Wonder Dog. It was great to meet you Slugman and we hope you had a comfortable night on the mountain.

Fresh dusting of early season snow on the Black Buttes:

Twisted & Downed Tree:

View of Survey Point from the switchbacks along the trail:

Remains of snow from earlier this week:

Rudy & his Rude Roo Bag, pretending his 'stuff' doesn't stink:

Crater & Steam on Mt. Baker:

Approaching Railroad Grade, with Black Buttes in the distance:

Zoomed View of Park Butte Lookout from the Railroad Grade Trail (we were about 1 mile as the crow flies from the lookout when we reached the Railroad Grade):

The Black Buttes are the internal remains of a volcano that was larger than Mt. Baker (so I hear):

View of Cathedral Crag from the RR Grade Trail:

Railroad Grade Trail follows a Lateral Morraine up to the Easton Glacier on Mt. Baker:

Looking back toward the Park Butte Lookout (atop the ridge, about 1 mile as the crow flies):

Rudy watching a Robber Jay eat his lunch:

Back into Upper Schriebers Meadow:

A point of the Black Buttes:

More of the Black Buttes (did you say "enough already"?)

I'm really glad that my brother-in-law drove today because when we returned home we found that my car had a flat tire.

Thanks everyone for making this another enjoyable and memorable day in the North Cascades!

My next outing is scheduled for Saturday, November 15, 2008.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Prelim Plans for Sunday 10/12/08

The plans for the upcoming dayhike continue to change. With kids. Without kids. Not hiking at all.

Wait a minute - the forecast shows sunny skies?

Definitely going hiking.

Not sure if I have any buddies for the day or not (adult or kids... ) but feel free to contact me if you're interested.

Would like to head someplace new (like Yellow Aster Butte) but with the recent snow activity and solo, they'll probably have to wait until next year. If that's what it boils down to, then I may get the pleasure of visiting Railroad Grade or Park Butte on the south side of Mount Baker which is always an awesome destination. It doesn't seem possible that my last trip there was more than two years ago!

If the sunset on Sunday is as colorful as what we saw tonight then it would be worth staying late up at Park Butte for some fantastic photo opps before racing the darkness back to the car.

Planning to depart Mount Vernon at about 8:30am on Sunday.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Denny Creek & Keekwulee Falls 10/5/08

Today Rob, Steve and I enjoyed the scenery along Denny Creek - especially the view of Keekwulee Falls and the splash of fall color.

The trail was relatively quiet this morning, but on our return from the Hemlock Pass area we started to encounter more people. Still, there were quite a few less than I anticipated. Probably a combination of the season and the weather forecast. I hear this place is a zoo in the summer.

At the trailhead a crew was working to erect a new trailhead sign. Looks nice and strong.

Before crossing under the I-90 elevated highway, 8buck observed this cool looking mushroom along the trail.

A while later we noticed this 'scaled' vertical cliff with a strange circular shape where the layers of rock have fallen out.

Met some friendly Robber Jays and found a blue tank top in a tree above the trail.

We also noticed a white spot in a distant tree across one of the talus slopes. Here is the original photo (full zoom) and then the photoshopped/cropped/enlarged 'white spot'. I figured it was an eagle, but it's in a peculiar postion - like it has its head under its wing.

Someday I'll head back out here and visit Lake Melakwa - when the weather is a little bit better.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Itinerary for Sunday 10/5/08: Denny Creek

The dayhike plan for this Sunday is something like this:

Meet Steve G. at the Lynwood Park & Ride at 7:45a.m. and head down to meet Rob in Maple Valley. Load up the gear and head out I-90 toward Denny Creek. We'll hike under the I-90 Westbound lanes and follow Denny Creek to Slippery Slab, Keekwulee Falls, Snowshoe Falls, Hemlock Pass and possibly Melakwa Lake.

Depending on weather and 'all that' we may make a side trip to visit Franklin Falls and/or other local sights along the I-90 corridor between North Bend and Snoqualmie Pass.

Should be back to Rob's by dinner time or so, and in cell phone range long before then.

Hopefully the weather will be pleasant and we'll get some nice fall color images.

Happy Trails!