The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


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Mt. Baker: Heliotrope Ridge Hike

August 2017 – yes way back then – I took a long weekend trip to get back to the Cascades. It’d been two years.

Day one I chose a trail that was too busy for my taste but fit the required logistics.  In 6 miles or so round trip I was able to perch above the Coleman glacier and be nose to nose with Mt. Baker  via flower studded meadows. During my last visit to Mt. Baker she was shy and stayed shrouded in clouds the entire time.

Not this time.

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I was itching for views that go on for miles and miles and I found them.  Numerous small streams were crossed.

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The views opened up and meadows were found.

There is one helluva obstacle on this hike.  Heliotrope Creek must be forded. I mustered up some vitamin-brave to do so. The water was swift and icy-cold.  Someone had strung a safety line across. It was handy but I did not rely on it fully not knowing its strength or condition. Poles were helpful.

The water to my knees, across I went. I yelped in icy pain. It was scary. But I made it. Looking up the creek:

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It took some time to get the feeling back into my feet.

It was so worth it.

Today, the sky was bluebird clear. There she is! So thrilling!  And how about that flower-studded meadow?

I believe the fuchsia pink flower on the right and above is Red Willowherb and the orange one might be a saxifrage.

Selfie.

A climbers trail to summit Mt. Baker is way off to the right of this frame. While stopped on the ridge overlooking the glacier I could see dots of people moving upward. Mt. Baker is 10, 781′ tall.

Water and glacier sculpted rock ran with rivulets of water were everywhere.  So lush!

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Pearly Everlasting?

Pink Monkey flower. I think.

My end goal was a picnic perch on the flank of the Coleman Glacier. There were people climbing it, looking like ants from my perspective. Note I’m not referring to the buffoons below me loudly carrying on. Some people are clueless when outdoors.

Isn’t the mountain striking?

Glacial ice:

Some sort of thistle?

A lovely yellow flower that looks like the 100’s of other yellow flowers in my plant book.

Cow Parsnip. I think.  I’m taking a stab at plant names using several guide books.

Here’s one of my favorites, lupine. My last trip up here was in 9/15 and it was a frightfully low snow pack year. The lupines and other usual flowers were long done (water starved) or barely bloomed before I arrived.

I was glad to catch some this time. I’ll show you more in the next post of this series.

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