It was a hair-brained idea given the fact that my to-do list is a mile long. However this might be the last day like this in 2016. The weather forecast shows lots of rain and wind for the next four days. Snow in the mountains too. So the girls and I threw together a little bit of stuff and headed to Blue Lake. Our dog friend Wyatt Ann is staying with us and she’s not in such good shape but she was a real trooper, having great fun on the trail.
Blue Lake is close enough that a person can get to the trailhead and do the hike and get home and only use up half a day. Unless she lollygags. And this time, I did not. That to-do list was waiting at home.
Ice on the creek.
Ice dripping out of a log.
First view of the golden larches
Here comes Sky
Here comes Luna
Across the highway to the north
Snow on log
Ice crystals coming out of the ground
Underwater and ice
Here comes Wyatt Ann
I like hiking!
They are thinking about someone’s lunch
Too many shadows for a good image
The back of Liberty Bell
Sky jumped into this ice covered pond near the end of the trail.
She had to break the ice to swim and when she got out she was cold.
Is better than any day spent at the computer.
My life revolves too much around a computer, that’s for sure. Any opportunity I have, I try to get away from it and yesterday was a good day for it. The weather was sunny and pretty warm for September. The fall colors are well underway. The girls and I went to Harts Pass where we enjoyed a good hike in the fresh air and changing colors of the sub-alpine larch trees and small, ground-hugging plants of the high country. We were watched over by numerous migrating raptors. We also walked through the silver forest that burned in 2003. Few of the snags have fallen to the ground and there are even few new trees to take their places. Most of the growth is in grasses and forbs and small willows.
It was a good day.
There was a group of friendly pack horses and mules
We hiked here
Anemone seed heads linger from early summer
I’m almost certain this is a Red-tailed Hawk
Sky found a wildlife camera and may have made some selfies!
See the attractant on the tree in the middle?
These little brushes should capture hair from the target animal. Not a labrador, that’s for sure.
A short ways to the ridge
Nice looking dog
Look! I found a stick!
There was a flock of these American Pipits foraging on the snow
This tiny succulent plant was growing right at the edge of the snow field
Looking towards the Methow Valley
Looking north up the Pasayten river valley towards Canada
Looking west, Snowfield Mountain on the left and Mount Baker 2nd from the right
The Pacific Crest Trail
Colors in the silver forest
Last weekend Marcy and I hiked to Windy Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s a pleasant hike – never steep – with outstanding views all along the way. In addition to the fantastic views of the North Cascades a hiker gets to see evidence from the mining adventures dating back to the 1890’s. Given the rough and narrow road that we have to drive nowadays to get to the trailhead, it is amazing to imagine miners traveling to these distant mountains on foot or horseback and hauling immense loads of equipment too. One spot in the road is called Deadhorse Point and scares the beejebers out of some folks in cars.
Guthrie, Marcy’s dog blew out his knee last year and is just a year out from surgery and injuring his other knee. It’s good to see him running and grinning with the other dogs. Even with three dogs we got to see a little bit of wildlife including lots of ground squirrels and a few grouse.
As we finished our lunch and got ready to head back, we heard a familiar voice and saw a friend from the Okanogan. He had scaled nearby Tamarack Peak and joined us for the hike back to the parking area.
The weather was cool and sunny – perfect for a late summer hike on the PCT.
Slate Peak can be seen from the beginning of the trail
I have forgotten the name of this mountain
The yurt is used in the winter for helicopter skiers
He’s a handsome fella!
We have such a long wildflower season
The way back
Ground squirrel with nesting material
Dusky or Sooty Grouse?
What a place! We left the house at 8 am and drove for less than an hour on a paved road to a trail that took us to this gem of a lake! And we had it to ourselves. Amazing!
It was the last fun adventure in what has been a lovely staycataion – sharing good times with old friends and visiting some of the highlights of our neck of the woods. The time was interspersed with some work (one wedding and some gallery stuff), a couple of big rain storms and the resulting washed out road that serves our little neighborhood and dealing with a contractor for the repairs. But mostly it was lots of fun with Mary and then Kim and our beloved dogs. Let’s do it again soon!
White heather catches a patch of sunlight
Sun shining through native rhododendron
Sky says ‘quit looking at that creek, the lake is right up here!’
Ziggy wonders about Sky and her obsession with fetching
Luna enjoys the water, calmly
Lots of little trout jumping all the way out of the water to catch the bugs
This is the life!
Throw it again
Nature at its finest
Even Luna gets into the spirit of fetching
Clark’s Nutcrackers called back and forth
These last couple of weeks I’ve been very lucky to share so much time in the mountains celebrating summer with dear friends and our dogs. On Wednesday Kim and I took our dogs up above Harts Pass and did an afternoon amble around a basin below Slate Peak. It’s a wonderful wildflower walk with lush green meadows and meandering streams. We climbed out of the basin to visit the lookout and take in the 360 degree views of the North Cascades. My dogs got to be in snow again in August. Last year I could not find any for them late in the summer. It is my goal to find snow for my dogs every month of the year. Luna loves snow. It’s a great relief to see it lingering into late summer once again. What a gorgeous day!
Pink monkey flower
Western anemone seedhead and lupine
Getting that close up flower photo
Cooling her feet
Canada is out there, not too far away
Layers of mountains of the North Cascades
Ziggy makes my dogs look small