Park Butte and Mount Baker Wandering
With winter fast approaching, I wanted to get out for a possibly last weekend of wandering among the fall colors. I’d been to the Mount Baker/Schreiber’s Meadow area before, but not in the fall. Upon packing at the trailhead I’d realized I’d forgotten to bring extra fuel for my stove. I had only enough to boil about one serving of water, if that. So I figured I’d camp lower around trees to make a small fire to cook with. As I climbed up near treeline, I met the final hiker in the area who informed me the lookout had a stove, gas and a bunk. Better yet, there was nobody else on the trail so the lookout would be all mine for the night.
I reached the lookout in white out fog, wind and lowering clouds. It was cold and there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground so I hurried inside. Out of the wind and clouds, I looked around at the simple yet stocked lookout. I learned that it is maintained by volunteers of the Skagit Alpine Club and was in relatively great shape. It was built in 1932 and people have been coming for years to admire the views and lofty location. Darkness was setting in and the fog was thickening along with the drizzle. I only hoped the forecast for clearing was accurate!
Around midnight, the clouds began to break and within an hour or so Mt. Baker was in front of me under a nearly full moon. I went back to sleep with the bright white light shining in all night and woke just in time for sunrise. WOW, what a place to watch the day begin! It was clear so sunrise wasn’t overly colorful, but still, a great view of Baker glowing under a small cloud cap. I took many photos and drank two cups of coffee, sitting on the deck that overhangs the cliff below. The wind had died so sitting in the sun was comfortable and the view was amazing.
As hikers appeared below, I packed up and got ready to leave. I met a nice guy, Mark, at the lookout and talked about a great summer of hiking for a while before heading down. I first stopped by the tarns on the side of the lookout for some great reflection photos of Baker and great views to the Cascades to the East. Then it was time to slowly wander down, taking more photos as every turn the mountain rising above the fall colored meadows was strikingly beautiful.
I wandered slowly down the trail, being the last one up there and enjoyed a nice beer in the parking lot in the quiet, cold atmosphere. It was a great trip and if that’s all I get until winter, then I’m happy:) Enjoy the photos! EE