Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Heliotrope Ridge at Mt. Baker

Last Thursday, The Mr. and I decided we wanted to hike at Mt. Baker. The Mr. has a favorite trail there that he tries to do at least once or twice a year. You drive on a skinny, winding, twisting road until you reach the trail head.

The crazy road and the trail head sign. Click for bigger photos.

Armed with energy bars and water, we started off at the Heliotrope Ridge trail head. The first major attraction is the footbridge. It is made from a log, and topped with split logs. It's easy to cross over as long as you don't look down! (Which, as you can see, I did.) We passed over several waterfalls by foot, which make things interesting. I got my shoes completely wet at least three times, but it didn't make any difference to me. I just wrung my socks out, put my shoes back on and kept going. Each waterfall was so pretty and there were so many opportunities for great photographs.

The log footbridge.

A hole through a rock at the bottom of a waterfall.

Up on the mountain, once you get out of the heavy trees, it is really only late spring/early summer, because of the deep snow pack Baker received in the wintertime. The area is rocky, with shorter trees and lots of color. The flowers are blooming all over the place and huckleberries as well as other plants are bearing fruit.

Our first glimpse of snow. At this point I had no clue
that we were actually hiking TO that snow!

One of the waterfalls where my feet got very wet.

Wildflowers along the path.

We made it to the lookout point over Coleman Glacier in an hour and 20 minutes. I had never been this far on the hike before and was completely blown away by the closeness and huge size of the glacier. To your right, up above is the top of Mt. Baker. Cascading down the side of it, is Coleman Glacier. I really couldn't comprehend the size of it, as it looks like it is just a stones throw away from you. It looks like you could reach Mt. Baker fairly quickly too if you tried, but I doubt it is very close at all!

Coleman Glacier and Mt. Baker.

The glacier seems to slide down the side of the mountain and has many deep crevices and caverns. If you look closely, you can see climbers on the ice. As the ice continues down the side of the mountain, the glacier flattens out a bit, then becomes cracked with crevices and canyons once again before disappearing over the side of a cliff. You can see waterfalls on the other side of the glacier, from the slowly melting ice and snow. Everything there is so pretty and words fall short of explaining it.

Click on these for large versions, and you can see the climbers.

On the way back down, I stopped and took mushroom pictures, because I think they are such a comical plant. I saw so many different types of mushrooms, ranging from 1 inch to 12 inches and bright orange and red, to white or black, funnel shaped, cone shaped or round. We never really had mushrooms like these in Saskatchewan, so I thought they were fascinating.

If you are ever going to do a hike at Baker, this is the trail I suggest. The link I posted in the second paragraph gives stats for the hike (distance, height etc.) and directions to the trail head. It is an amazing experience and something I wish to do more often.

The photos are best viewed at full size, so if the above photo's aren't "clickable" for you, you can visit the album below. :)
Mt. Baker Hike- Heliotrope Ridge and Coleman Glacier


  1. That sounds beautiful! It reminds me of one we have done a few times here up the side of Mt Hood to a place called Mcneil Point. It gives that same effect of being soo close to the top of the Mountain. God's creation is amazing.

  2. Wow, what a feat!! And just think a few years ago you could never have enen thought of such a hike, you go girl!

  3. Wonderful photography Coralee, you have a nice gift....i would love to do that hike with you two sometime - it looks beautiful! You two sure have an exciting life, there's always something for you to "blog" about!


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