Skyline Divide (Sep 8, 2012)

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skyline_divide_coverConditions: day hike
Map: USGS Bearpaw Mountain, USGA Mount Baker
Area: Mt Baker
Reference: 100 Hikes in Washington's North Cascades National Park Region
Stats: 6.6mi, 1971' gain (round trip)

So I was thinking over a trip down at Mt Rainier (Gobblers Knob and Bajelica) but then Dani messaged me asking if I had hiking plans. We changed to Skyline Divide since it is dog friendly (no dogs allowed on trails in MRNP).

It's an easy enough trip that we didn't need a super early started. We agreed on 7:30am since we should get on the ridge early enough (I hoped) for good color). Last minute I messaged Karen and the plan was for the Crowe Clan to drive down from Maple Ridge BC and meet us at the TH or somewhere along the trail. We were hoping to find some berries for the kids.

Dani and I and Japser arrived at the TH around 9:30 but no sign of the Canadians. As we were putting the boots on they drove up and pulled in along side us at the now full TH parking area. Perfect timing.

We started hiking and hmm...lot warmer than I was planning. I had heard a weather report the previous evening and it sounded like temps would be nearly 10F warmer than forecasted earlier. So fall temps turned into full on summer temps and I was in trouble. I don't know if I didn't hydrate or eat well the evening before or maybe I'm just a heat wuss but I wasn't moving at my normal pace. Oh well...

The kids (Kasey and Ryan) were excited, at times running up and down the trail. Jasper the dog was a good distraction keeping them interested in heading further up. The lower part of the trail until it gains the ridge is steep-ish but in good shape. I was looking forward to hitting the ridge and running it north as far as we could go. With the heat...

We hit the ridge and out popped crazy volunteer backcountry ranger lady. I'm all for following regs but there is no need to badger people about non existence off trail travel rules where none exist. It was about noon when we reached the ridge so good time to take a break, eat lunch and give the kidlettes a break. Lots of people out. More than I'd ever seen before on the trail but to be expected. It's not a difficult trail the effort to reward ratio is low so crowds are to be expected.

After our lunch break we followed the ridge trail that had little ups and downs along the way. We spied a patch of snow a bit further along the ridge. I'm thinking a good place for Jasper to take a roll and for the kids to play. We got there are spent a great time just soaking in the views, enjoying the summer that didn't seemed to want to end, and letting the kids rest up for the hike out.

The flowers are mostly spent but the fall color is starting to color the slopes. Swaths of yellow and red are starting to paint the hillsides.   Bugs...a few skeeters and black flies. More of a nuisance but not really biting.
Skyline Divide Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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