christopher575 (christopher575) wrote,

Shifting the goal posts

This last weekend was my annual Mt. Baker trip. A quick recap of the previous trips:

2016: Stayed overnight in a tiny house in Deming which was not enjoyable, took a wrong turn and climbed Table Mountain instead of following the Chain Lakes Trail I meant to explore.

2017: Stayed overnight in a tiny condo in Glacier which was a little better, took the right trail, but was overwhelmed by wildfire smoke after a couple of miles.

2018: Realizing I hated packing up completely before the hike and driving straight home from it, stayed two nights in a larger condo in Glacier. Having been working through physical therapy for plantar fasciitis, decided not to overdo it and did a short trail by the condo. Drove to Bellingham for entertainment and realized it'd be a lot more fun to stay there instead.

So for this year I found a nice Airbnb in a cool area in Bellingham. It was bigger than I needed at two bedrooms, but it had a hot tub and sauna which were nice amenities for after a hike. I used the second bedroom as my dressing room.

After some waffle fry poutine and wine for dinner at a local brewery, I went to sleep and got up at 3am to start getting ready. Saturday was the morning I decided from now on I should probably eat breakfast at the trail head. Normally I'm up at 4am and usually don't eat breakfast until 8am or so. On hike days like this, I'm spend the morning wishing I could get out the door faster but it's hard to eat very quickly.

It didn't matter too much in terms of crowds or anything, though. There weren't nearly as many people there as I saw two years ago because the entire mountain was fogged in. I never actually saw Mt. Baker at any point during the day.

I consulted the map and set out to attempt the full loop by heading down the Wild Goose Trail, which eventually connects to the Chain Lakes Trail. I didn't get very far before I decided I didn't want to continue. I wouldn't have minded going up this scary staircase, but down was out of the question.


Looking at the map again when I got back to Artist Point (where we park and four trails start) I decided I'd be happy if I could get as far as Iceberg Lake, the biggest of the lakes up there. And here's what much of the view was like after that.


Normally when you're on this trail, the incredible view of Mt. Baker distracts a bit from the steep terrain. So I guess it's a little less scary when you can't see anything.

One thing that's weird to me is how muted the outfits were that most people wore. If you happened to fall off the trail and roll down the hill, wouldn't you like to be easy to spot? I saw maybe three other people total wearing bright colors like mine.


Turning the corner toward the lakes improved the view.


I ate a Kind Bar while enjoying the view of the lake before heading back.


The Artist Point parking area was somehow even foggier hours later when I got back to the car. I still have an unprocessed time lapse on the Brinno because I was hoping it'd clear up while I was gone. I'll get to it the next time I use the Brinno.


Here's the hike. Note you can see how I turned around when I changed my mind. You can also make out Table Mountain as the high point I start to wrap around, that's what I accidentally climbed up to my first time out there.

Neither night at Airbnb was super restful. The first night could have been much worse, though. I thought about sleeping with the patio door open for the fresh air, but am so glad I didn't. I woke up to find the whole room lit up by the motion sensor light outside. Two raccoons were fighting and/or mating and if they came inside while I slept, it would have been a disaster.

There's a ballroom next to the Airbnb and a wedding was held there Saturday night. I was fine with how late the party went, but unfortunately the noise of them breaking everything down and putting it away was much more annoying and went well into the night.

All in all, it was a very nice trip. I think it's time to start exploring other hiking spots, though. I definitely want to stay in Bellingham again, but it's an hour and 45 minutes from there to Artist Point. It took a while for my body to warm up and really enjoy the hike, which makes sense on a day you spend as much time in the car as you do on the trail.

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