Anna K. at Yellow Aster Butte:
“Fred, Lisa, Mariana and myself ventured out to Yellow Aster Butte on October 1. Our timing was perfect: no border waiting, and we did the hike in 4.5 hours vs 7 suggested by the book, with rain starting to pour when we left the trail. We didn’t get to see the view at the top, as it was cloudy. We enjoyed the last blueberries and the mix of red-yellow-orange colours. Perfect hike to do in the Fall!”
Phil A. on Skyline Divide:
“Mount Baker beckoned, and four Wanderungers answered the call with a perfect day hike along the Skyline Divide. After navigating the pockmarked road (low clearance cars beware), we set out through the woods. 450 m later we popped out into flower-peppered, emerald green, and a snow covered ridge line. From there, it was one spectacular view after the another, and an afternoon of hiking, laughing, and bum sliding. The ridge that runs towards Mount Baker seemed to go on forever, and a wise Wanderunger would do well to bring a tent to spend at least one night atop one of its numerous knolls. Sad that we couldn’t overnight, we turned back and headed to Sumas for some Mexican food.
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1200 m/-1200 m
Distance: 13.5 km (most of the trail is easy to follow, but some parts are still snow-covered).
Time: At a slow/moderate pace you can reach the ridge line in 1.5 hours. After that, you can go as far as you want. We went as far as N48° 50.527′ W121° 51.464′ before turning around.”
Stephen H. on Orcas Island:
“Three glorious days in the San Juan Islands. Rasham, Ino, and Anna joined me on this no-reservations car camping trip south of the border. Day 1: Hiking to Turtlehead rewarded us with stunning views of the Salish Sea. Day 2: A grand loop up and down Mounts Constitution and Pickett granted us more spectacular views, forest walking, and a visit to a stone tower on the former summit. Day 3: We did a short walk to Cascade Falls before hitting the ferry back to Anacortes. All of these hikes are highly recommended. Our original plan was to camp at Mountain Lake. It was full, so we took a spot at the Midway campground by Cascade Lake, which had flush toilets. One trip highlight: seeing the broken soda fountain overflow with root beer on the ferry over. Another: a barred owl hung out with us at camp for a bit. Also: all the pop music we listened to all weekend.”
Stephen H. at Pine and Cedar Lakes:
“It’s nice to have a change of scenery every once in a while. Instead of heading to the North Shore or Squamish, why not Bellingham? Pine and Cedar Lakes is one of the pleasant hikes on Chuckanut Mountain, not far from the city known more for cross-border shopping and a pizza buffet. Passports in hand, John, Yolanda, Svetlana, and Anna joined me for a fun jaunt down to the States. We took our time visiting both lakes and made a side trip to Raptor Ridge for some extra views on the way back. I predict another callout to this area will be posted in the near future.”
Bob H. on Ptarmigan Ridge:
“Ptarmigan Ridge is another great hike in the North Cascades in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington. The trail starts at Artist Point, 12 km northeast of Mount Baker summit. Artist Point is the starting point for a number of great hikes, such as Table Mountain and Chain Lakes. And a bonus… the road to Artist point is paved the entire way!! The trail is almost entirely in the open, with shaded areas in the premium. The route follows a well built trail traversing scree slopes of the ridge. There are non-stop views on this hike, including Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, numerous glaciers, ice fields, lakes and former glaciers, which appear to have a short time left; we even saw five mountain goat. Today was an amazing mid-September day, with highs in the upper 20s, no clouds, no wind and no bugs, making for an enjoyable hike. The Ptarmigan Ridge trail seems to go on for a long time. We finally had to make a decision when to turn around. This hike would make a great area for camping, as there are many locations to pitch a tent and so much to explore.
Trip stats, route and more photos on my blog, www.buntzenlake.ca/ptarmigan-ridge“
Stephen H. on the Skyline Divide:
“Seven of us crossed the border for a wet 7-hour hike on the doorstep of Mount Baker. Bob, Karen, Marlis, Natalie, Svetlana, and Teri joined me for this ramble through meadows and over knolls. While the smoke had cleared, we were surrounded by a dense fog and, therefore, had no views of Baker. We also made a wrong turn and ended up east of our intended destination. Then wasps stung two of us. Still it was a fabulous day. We shall return.”
Eugene Y. on Excelsior Peak:
“The trail was fairly gentle and well-maintained (somewhat similar to the Garibaldi Lake trail). Its lower portion (till about 1500 m) was practically snow-free. However, once we reached the alpine fields, snowshoes and gaiters became really handy as the snow was getting soft and deep.
Following the snowshoe trail, we ascended the partially covered peak from the east side. The panoramic views from the top were truly magnificent: Mt. Baker, Shuksan, Border peaks, Mt. Redoubt.
Some stats: overall, it took us about 3 hours to reach the top. There was practically no wait at the border in either direction.
And even though this was a last minute callout on a busy weekend, the hike was actually full. Thank you Dean, Susanne, and Poroshat for all your positive energy on this trip!”
Stephen H. at Mount Erie:
“You could drive to the modest summit of Mount Erie, but the Salish Sea views are presumably even more satisfying after a couple hours of hiking. Plus you’d miss out on the views from the Sugarloaf, assuming you’d hike in that way. Four of us made the trip to Anacortes and enjoyed a pleasant circuit in the woods. Sightings of hawks, climbers, and bikers added to the scenery.”
Stephen H. on Oyster Dome:
“Welcome to the Oyster Dome. Judging by the scores of people on this trail, it’s Bellingham’s version of the Grouse Grind. The Salish Sea views from the clifftop, however, were more than enough reward. We turned our trip into a very enjoyable loop by returning on the quieter Pacific Northwest Trail. Even a clearcut on the way back couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm. Thanks to Bob, Angela, and Nuria for an awesome day.”
Keith F. cycling Chuckanut Drive:
It turned out to be a beautiful weekend for a little bike jaunt down to the US and A. After organizing gear and leaving cars at 165th Street and 8th Avenue (good spot) it is a 5 min ride to the border. The plan was to bike from Vancouver but I changed the trip to Sunday-Monday as Saturday was looking really poor weather wise and wanted to get where we were going. When biking past 100s of cars to easily get to the front of the line, it is hard to not feel a little smug. Then again you must be honest with yourself and realize usually you don’t bike across the border and you usually sit with the masses of cars. But today was not one of those days: 5 min border crossings.
Using a map from a local phone book we sufficiently meandered our way around Birch Bay State Park and then around the lovely BP refinery and arrived at Bellingham. The I-5 is not the nicest stretch of road, but all the side roads we took are great. Luckily we were thirsty and hungry after biking down and we happened to land at Elizabeth Station bottle shop and bar. Good sandwiches, beer on tap, and lots of options for taking many many different beers home.
After this it was a quick shot to Fairhaven. It is touristy and nice for sure. We all relaxed on the lawn (greenest lawn in Fairhaven I reckon) in front of the Colophon Café. We then made our way down Chuckanut Drive. The weather was great and Larabee State Park is not that far down the hills. We pulled into one of the walk-in sites and set up camp (no reservation). There are few food options on the scenic drive (and the possibility they might be closed) so after biking for a bit in the night we elected to turn around as the road is tight and windy – not fun in the dark.
We slept well, it is kind of insane to think a train is going to come barreling through your tent in the night, but that’s what it is like when they pass by. We got up and went up the few hills (they are over really quick) and back into Fairhaven for some breakfast. We did a little shopping in Bellingham and meandered our way to the border and back home once again. Fun group, fun trip!
Trip by the Numbers…
- Number on trip: 4 (reduced max from 8, Rebecca, Susanna, Cheryl, Keith)
- Km’s biked: approx 160 km
- Borders crossed: 2 (US and Canada)
- Animals seen: 1 Possum, one toad (both road kill), 59 cows, 14 sheep, 5 dogs
- Animals lives saved: 13 (helped 2 adult mallards, and 5 ducklings safely cross a road North of Bellingham; slowed down on 99 and put 4 way flashers on for 6 more to way to meeting the group) I wouldn’t say I’m a Super Hero, but others might 🙂
- Fear a train might come directly into the campground in night: 4
- Insane irate driver who disliked cyclists: 1
- Insane irate driver who avoided a heart attack after he relaxed and drove away: 1
- Oysters shucked: 0 (they closed before we got there)
- Options for more trips in Whatcom County: many