High Divide & Excelsior Pk (Sep 7, 2015)

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high_divide_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Bearpaw Mountain
Area: Mt Baker
Reference: Day Hiking North Cascades
Stats: 10.11mi, 2275' gain (round trip)

I had been up the High Divide trail earlier this year. That previous trip, in June, was very different Back then it was hot, sunny, hot, and clear blue skies. Today it was cool, misty/cloudy, full of fall color... We didn't get the grand views I was hoping to see. I wanted to show this trail off to Steve. But...it was still a great trip. I really liked the cooler temp and the low clouds gave the trip a near vibe.

We got a bit of a late start but that was OK. This trail is easy. I wasn't sure about how the parking would be on a holiday but we got to the trailhead a bit before 11am and it was fine. Lots of hunters about (ran into one that had got himself a grouse). The trail starts out in the forest and then breaks out of the trees in the basin area below Excelsior Pass. Lots of color out...there were no hucks but there was plenty of the reds, yellows, and oranges that make this area so pretty in the fall.

We didn't get any grand views. The low clouds stuck around the whole day. Most of the ridges were out of the clouds but the upper flanks of Baker we hidden.

We headed east along the ridge (towards Yellow Aster Butte) but stopped shy of where I'd turned around earlier in the year. We seemed to be heading into the clouds so we decided to turn back and hike up Excelsior. We had a nice long stay up there watching the clouds below us whisp by.

About 5pm Steve mentioned the time...wow...it was getting late...so we headed down. One advantage of a late exit from the trail...we completely missed the holiday gridlock north of Everett!

Note: The road to the TH is overall not too bad. The first 7.5+ miles is good paved road. Then there is another 2.5-ish miles of a mix of broken up pavement and gravel. At about 10 miles the road goes to completely gravel. We drove a Jetta to the TH. There are a couple of spots with bad potholes but nothing we couldn't drive around.
High Divide Slideshow


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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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