Saturday, September 3, 2011

Julie Andrews, Paging Julie Andrews!

The summer is zooming by, school is upon us, and it's time to squeeze every drop of fun and adventure out of the remaining good weather.  Kerry and Grandpa Grasshopper took the boys on a little adventure today.

They start in the forest - the Mt. Baker National Forest - winding through the trees, going up, up and... yep, more up.

North facing slopes don't get a lot of sunlight, hence the 'decor'.

Their hard work is rewarded as they approach timberline.
For those of you not familiar with high altitudes in cold climates, as you get higher the trees begin to be smaller, and to thin out and open up into meadows.
Eventually you get high enough that the growing season (when the ground is snow-free)
is too short and no trees will grow at all.  Just a little science for ya :D

Because we've had such a cool, wet spring (and early summer) everything is delayed in the high country.  Flowers that bloomed in spring 'down below' are just now covering the meadows.

Grandpa gives Gunnar some encouragement.

Look back down, and think how far you've come!
And how much elevation you've gained under your own power.

And...




wait for it....




you break out of the trees.....





and WA-WAAAAA!




Mt. Shuksan looms before you.

Dwarfed, by the nearer and larger Mt. Baker!

Scan the meadows... Julie Andrews must be lurking here somewhere.
Or just drop to the ground for a well-deserved rest :D

But watch out for the horse flies and mosquitoes, and other pests.

Admire the alpine flowers :D

The very hardy alpine flowers.

My favorite?  The purple/blue lupine.  Smells wonderfully sweet.

Hike along the ridgeline to get closer to The Mountain.
And yes, that is snow.  This area has probably only been 'open' (snow free) since mid-August.
Yah.  Let that sink in, my southern friends.

Ask another hiker to take a group shot, and smile :D

Admire my handsome boys...
Wyatt,

Tate,

and Gunnar.

And yes, they were all wearing the same shirt.
I tell them to wear something bright when they go hiking, so they're very visible.
It's a mom thing.

Daddy has obviously been working hard :D

And Grandpa is doing what he loves... taking pictures.
(These were all from Kerry's point-and-shoot.)

Play in a snowbank while Daddy takes a bunch of pictures to make a panorama.
Go on, click on it.  It's worth it.
Can you tell why they call this place Skyline Divide?!

And then, finally, head back down the trail.

Mom left some cookies in the truck for you :D

10 comments:

Ruby said...

Well, you have the right name for it, but I for one can vouch that not all "Julies" can hit the notes!
Your local photos always awe me. The majesty and beauty of God's creation in that area is glorious! and I appreciate the little science lesson, knowing not a thing of the way things grow in that climate. Enjoy the rest of your break and have a wonderful educational year!

Ann said...

Oh my goodness. I could just soak up the pictures all day long, but then I'd be far too tempted to pile in the van and drive across country to truly see it in person! That is absolutely gorgeous!

leah said...

Oh, Julie - that is spectacular scenery. Of all the things I miss from the west coast, I miss the mountains the most. We have rolling hills here, but nothing like the amazing alpine heights you get out there. Just amazing..and beautiful!

Q said...

Those photos are gorgeous. Some of them are almost so perfect they look like a photo of a person layered over a backdrop. GORGEOUS!

That second photo looks like something out of Fangorn Forest. Fun!

Crystal in Lynden said...

WOW!!!! Where is the trail head for this hike? My boys are just starting to get old enough for me to think about planning some of these adventures. Beautiful pictures!!!!!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Isn't it gorgeous? We think we live in God's own country... least this time of year ;D If any of you want to come to visit, I highly recommend August and early September. Absolutely the finest.

Crystal, I probably couldn't describe it very well but if you call or stop in at the Glacier Ranger Station they'll direct you. The hike is not long in miles - a couple of miles in, and back out the same way you came, but it is a LOT of elevation gain. And being a ridge top, you need to carry water.

You know your kids best, but if you left early in the morning when it's cool and took your time with the uphill... well, I think a lot of kids could make it :D

tammy said...

simply amazing! I've never seen scenery like this outside of a picture - absolutely stunning!

Felicity said...

Oh Wow!! I just love these photos! The scenery is spectacular. I also enjoyed the 'science lesson'.
I'm still amazed by the snow lying on the ground and the fact that everyone is in such summery clothes...In my mind - if you're around snow it must be cold!
Your boys are very handsome - you must be proud!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Yah, I know, the whole shorts-tshirts-snow thing is mind boggling. And it's definitely cooler on the snow than on the grass next to it!

The thing is we get so much snow up in the high country (like world-record-setting snow fall: 1140 inches (95 feet or about 30 meters), so it takes a long, long time to melt. Which is awesome for us because there is plenty of water all year long. The snow-melt fills rivers during our dry summers.

In fact, I used to work at a ski area near Mt. Baker that routinely closed in late April or early May, not because they didn't have enough snow, but because people got busy with other things... summer things. Those last few weeks of skiing we could get some balmy weather and you'd see people skiing in shorts and t-shirts sometimes!

I know, it's weird. You get used to it here. :D

nosmallthing said...

Wow. Those photos are take-your-breath-away gorgeous. Just incredible. I especially love the flowers. :)