Monday, September 14, 2009

Skyline Divide Trail

Our warm-up hike was the Skyline Divide Trail, in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The trail begins with two miles of steep switchbacks, climbing about 1400 vertical feet through a dense, old-growth forest. Here is Suzy near the top, where the trees started to thin out a bit:

After a couple miles, you climb out of the forest and onto the ridge -- the Skyline Divide -- and are instantly greeted with spectacular views of Mt. Baker, a glacier-covered active volcano, and countless other rugged peaks everywhere you turn.

Tennyson really liked the ridge because he could get out of the pack and run around like a crazy person. (There's a trend here.)

Suzy was particularly glad that I was carrying the camera, so that I could take a million photos of her and post them all over the web. Here is my beautiful bride with the lovely Mt. Shuksan in the background.

After reaching the ridge, you can continue hiking along the Skyline Divide toward Mt. Baker pretty much as long as you want.

After a couple miles on the ridge, we decided to drop down into a valley to wade our feet in a small stream. Yes, that's snow. And the water was about 5 degrees (Kelvin). It did make for a terrific spot to eat cherries, and cashews, and pistachios, and all of our other favorite hiking snacks.

And that's where we turned around. About a 10 mile hike, with about 2100 feet of elevation gain (then loss). A great little hike -- though we would recommend doing it in early July (for the wildflowers) or mid-September (for the full Autumn effect - we caught just the beginnings of the color changes).

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