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July 01, 2001
WOW! I've been wanting to do this hike for quite awhile. Another beautiful day in the North Cascades, another spectacular hike. The trailhead was busy at 9:15 this morning, but most of the cars there were climbers and campers who had been there awhile, judging by the register.
|The first 2 miles before the fork in the trail are wonderful. A nice forest walk with lots of interesting trees and moss and ferns, plus huckleberries out the ying-yang. There are about 4 streams to cross, some of which would be quite treacherous if a) you don't know what you are doing, and b) if it was running at high volume. There are waterfalls and lots of streams to contend with as well. Not that they provide difficult crossing, but they force you to pause and look at them and sigh happily.|
The GT map shows the first major set of switchbacks to start at one point right before a stream crossing, but the old trail there is closed, and instead, it switches back about 10 times before you actually cross it. However, even though this was only at about 4300ft, we did see a marmot sunning himself on a rocky patch of the old trail.
trail is 60% snow covered after the junction with the
climbing route, but still quite manageable.
that point, you get views of the high meadows,
waterfalls, Mt. Baker, and the Coleman Glacier. Not to
mention the Chromatic Moraine! Once you get up to the
ridge, the trail is very crumbly, and goes straight down
to the glacier below.
There were some climbers practicing up on the glacier, so we stopped below them right at the edge of Coleman.
I walked up to the glacier and stood in awe for a couple of minutes, then we stepped away to have lunch on a rock.
10 minutes after leaving that edge, it came thunderously crashing down right on the spot I was standing at previously. I was humbled. Sitting on that rock looking down and over to the glacier, listening and watching the waterfalls cascading down the mountain to our left, and looking straight up the glacier above us to Baker... man. I felt small and insignificant. As it should be.
We packed up and headed back down. It took us awhile because my stupid knee was screaming at me after a whole weekend of hiking, plus my new boots were giving me a couple of blisters. The trip down was crowded. Popular spot, even for those goobers who hike in snow with thin socks and sandals...
Wonderful. Marvelous! A MUST-SEE! Critics agree! Two thumbs up! 5 stars! The comedy smash of the season! An action-packed thrill ride!!
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