Monday, September 3, 2012

God's own cathedral

Other cruisers blog about their hikes in Costa Rica or on the islands of the Caribbean, so it is entirely appropriate that I talk about the hike Jane & I made this weekend into the equally exotic lands of the Mount Baker National Forest, here in the Pacific Northwest.

This was a backpacking trip, so in addition to the appropriate clothing and good hiking boots, we carried our tent, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, stove, etc. - everything you need to live in the back country.  It was not a terribly difficult hike (at age 65 next week, that's a good thing), but still there was 600 feet of vertical required.  If that figure doesn't mean anything to you, just imagine hiking up the stairs of a 60-story building, carrying that 40 lb pack on your back.  Vigorous - that's the word for it.

But the best hikes are like that.  If they are easy to achieve, then they are crowded, and sadly they are most likely despoiled.  The ones that are worth going to are the ones that need to be earned.

This was one of those.  And it was indeed worth it.  Anderson Lake sits in a close little cirque at about 4450 feet - high enough that the snow hasn't been off it for very long.  And that perfect little mountain lake is surrounded on three sides by towering rock walls.  The floor of the cirque is a meadow, covered with grass, moss, patches of heather, and the occasional towering old growth alpine fir.  There is a small creek which drains the lake - it chuckled at us while we slept.

It is not hard to imagine that this is a place where God comes to contemplate the grandeur of His creation.

On our hike in, it was covered by clouds so we were completely unaware of its reigning presence.  But on the way out, ah the clouds cleared away, and Mount Baker showed itself in all of its glory.  Seeing this as you reach the top of a difficult climb and the trail opens into a gently downward-sloping meadow simply takes your breath away.

The cathedrals built by man are spectacular achievements...  but none holds a candle to this.

Fun fact:  Mount Baker holds the world record for annual snowfall:  2896cm in the winter of 1998-1999.


Chris said...

We were out to Seattle a couple weeks ago visiting with my Dad and step-Mother. Despite a trip to the space needle and much searching, we didn't see Ranier or Baker until our last day on the drive to the airport. That is a beautiful part of the world you live in out there. Hopefully we can get out there on our boat one of these years.

Nicole said...

Beautiful! We've certainly seen some gorgeous places here in Costa Rica, but I'll always have a soft spot for the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest. There just isn't any place quite like it.
-Nicole (and Aaron)
s/v Bella Star

bob said...

Chris -

I hope you can get out here on a boat too! Where are you from?


bob said...

Nicole -

You've seen some pretty amazing things! And now I hope you see less lightning.

Some world cruising friends of ours and ex-G dockers, Tom & Dawn of s/v Warm Rain, said that nothing compared to the grandeur of the PNW. I have little comparable experience, but this sure is a wonderful place to cruise!


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