Thursday, August 31, 2006

Another day...

This is a short blog, mainly as an excuse to put a couple more pics up. The Sunset is a picture of Bellingham Bay; taken from Boulevard Park, (a popular park in Bellingham, right down on the water). The other two pictures are from the Chain Lakes Hike.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mt. Shuksan in Summer

Just a beautiful shot from "picture lake." (Mt. to the picture of Mt. Shuksan in winter).

Chain Lakes Loop

We just got back from the Chain Lakes Loop. The full loop (9.0 miles) starts and ends at the Artist point parking lot. You take off towards chain lakes and once there, you continue up the saddle around Table Mountain. Once you hit the top of the saddle you have amazing views of both Mt. Baker and Mt Shuksan. It's awesome. Then you continue down the mountain towards Heather Meadows. To do the the full loop, you then hike up the Wild Good Trail from the Heather Meadows parking area. That's a tough hike...only 2.5 miles, but lots of elevation gain. We cut this last part out by leaving a car at Heather Meadows thus, our loop was about 7.5 miles (Artist Point to Heather Meadows by way of the Chain Lakes trail). I know if you're doing the math at home the figures I gave you don't exactly add up. That's because depending on your source, the exact mileages on this loop and the hikes that make up the loop, differ. So, I'm estimating in part.

The hike was amazingly beautiful. You start out heading right towards Mt. Baker. At about 1 mile you can veer left towards Ptarmigan Ridge or veer right to the Chain Lakes. We heard reports from people on the trail that a small black bear had just crossed; we didn't see him. The lakes are beatiful for sure but be prepared for lots of bugs.

Once you start leaving the lakes, the trail heads up towards the saddle (lot's of "blue-leaf Mt. Huckleberries"). Make sure to bring lots of water as there isn't much shade on this loop.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Visitors from the South

Julie and I were just treated to a visit from my parents (who live in Bellevue). We had a dandy time with them ("dandy" is kind of a lame word, sorryh). We went to three restaraunts: 1) Tokyo Grill in Barkley, 2) Milano's in Glacier and 3) La Fiamma (sp?) in downtown. All were a hit I think!

One of the things my Mom loves to do is take drives to we decided to pile into the car and head up the mountain. As you can see from the pictures, we made it all the way to the top. It was a beautiful day at Artist Point, although with the sun kind of in my face it made picture taking difficult. Still, my Dad, who is a history teacher (including Washington State History) remarked that "[he] can't think of a more beautiful place you can drive to anywhere in the state."

We had a blast, ate some good food, talked about the grandson's (my nephews...who live in Papua New Guinea) and "did" Bellingham.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bellingham Flyover

Recently, a man passed away in our church. He happened to have more hours flying for the US Air Force then any other pilot. In his honor, they did a flyover at his graveside.

Thanks for serving.

Lake Padden - Owls

My wife and I did a little walking around Lake Padden and came across 3 owls. It was awesome!

Heliotrope Ridge

Hike: Heliotrope Ridge
Date Hiked: August 7th, 2006

In three words, Mountains, Waterfalls & Wildflowers. Ok, if you count that "&" as a word, that's four words. This hike was both one of the most amazing and frustrating hikes of the season. Amazing beauty, frustrating because we weren't able to cross the last creek and missed out on the view of the glacier. Big Bummer.

So, we found the trailhead just as described. This hike featured some amazing views of waterfalls as you hike through the forest. In addition, after about 2 miles you start to catch some glimpses of Mt. Baker and the Coleman Glacier. We found what we guessed was the "Kulshan Cabin" site (2.0 miles) although if you're expecting to explore some "ancient ruins" of an early settler cabin, you'll be disappointed...(granted, we did not explore the area much).

At 2.2 miles there is a junction...stay "straight" (left) to go on an "easy stroll" to an overlook of the Coleman Glacier. From here on the views are amazing! However, what we found was an impassable creek. We spent about 1 hour hiking up and down along the water's edge, hoping to find a way across...and to be honest, we probably could have made it but caution won out and we stayed on this side. A few people we ran into made it across but one group confessed it wasn't safe and another group had gators, trekking poles, and were obviously a little more experience then my wife and I.

To overcome our disappointment in not making it to the glacier, we decided to go back a few hundred feet and take the "climbers route." That was a great decision! Although steep, (and note that this trail features loose footing in lots of places), a very short hike up the climbers route reveals an startingly better view of Baker then what you can see from lower elevations (see first picture up above).

This hike was amazing in beauty, but if we were to do it again, we would leave earlier in the day than we did. The water levels were still high and one of the creeks we crossed on the way, (about 2:00 PM), forced us to get wet on the way back (about 5:00 PM). Still, as you can see from the pictures, this hike is well worth it.

Other notes: the hike spends about the first 1.5 miles hiking through a forest that was very 'buggy.' Bring some bug spray or plan to get bitten.

Racehorse Falls & Bear Sighting

If you're looking for a very short hike the whole family can do, but still has a little adventure to it, then this is your hike. It's only about 1/2 a mile to the Falls, which are beautiful! We went there in the spring so the trail was a little wet, but that meant more water over the falls. The falls are beautiful and a rope swing shows evidence that it is a popular play area in the summer.

Bonus - on the drive back from the falls, my wife and I saw a black bear on the road. It was surreal! We stayed in our car...mostly, except for my wife who's excitement overcamer her common sense...she started walking towards the bear. Fortunately, he took off to greener pastures (see picture at right).

On the way home we stopped at the fish hatchery and saw some more beautiful wildlife including a beaver swimming at full speed. Sorry, no picture...but I did catch this Cardinal? in a tree.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mount Shuksan in Winter

Mount Shuksan in the winter! Julie and I were given a pair of snowshoes for Christmas a couple of years ago (thanks to my wife's sister and husband) and we love them. Sure, we were skeptical at first, but after we went once, we were hooked. I love the snow and I love hiking and that's all that snow-shoeing is; hiking in the snow!

I'd like to tell you that this picture was taken at the end of a 10-mile hike in a remote part of the Mt. Baker Wilderness but the truth is, it was taken from the lower ski area of Mt. Baker back in March. Mt. Shuksan is an awesome sight to behold!

Welcome to my BLOG

A little about this blog: I am a 35 year old full time music pastor at a church in Bellingham, WA. In my spare time, I love to hike and be outdoors. In addition I am a "passionate, amateur photographer" and I love to mess around on the internet...hence, this blog.

I moved up here in November of 2005 (from the Seattle yes, I'm a Northwest native) and was immediately taken with the beauty of Bellingham and in particular, the Mount Baker area. My wife and I love to do many things together among which are 1) hiking and 2) snow-shoeing.

I hope that this website is helpful to anyone who reads it in terms of providing information on hiking in this area. I DO NOT claim to be an expert of any kind and the thoughts and opinions on this blog are solely mine. Your comments are welcome! One more thought on these blogs - I often will not go into all the details of "length of hike, how to get there, etc" as all of these details are available on other websites most notably, this one: (click here).

Hope you enjoy this BLOG!