Our chapel youth group - None the Wiser - had a bit of an adventure recently. The plan was to meet at the chapel, carpool up to Artist's Point, and do a hike, shuttling some of the vehicles to the down-hill end of the trail. That sounds good, doesn't it?
But it didn't quite work out that way. Apparently on the way up, the church van caught on fire. Well, something like that. Maybe the brakes? Maybe something rubbing on the rear tires? Everyone is fine. Thankfully, it was an inconvenience rather than an emergency, which it easily could've been, had the brakes been involved on the return trip - a long, curvy, steep descent. But the caravan of vehicles never managed to regroup. Thus Kerry, Wyatt, Tate, and a girl from the youth-group ended up doing the hike by themselves.
It's an amazing hike - about six or seven miles, mostly level or downhill (okay, some uphill), mostly in open country (near timberline), with absolutely stunning views. The only thing that would've made it more beautiful would've been a clear, rather than hazy sky. But still...
If you look closely at the rocky hill in the background, you'll see that it's columnar basalt. If you're not a geologist, that means that it was once lava and cooled slowly into columns, which are often hexagonal. It's pretty cool.
Okay, yes, there is a bit of uphill to a saddle, but the trail is clear to follow.
And yes, those are patches of snow you see. In August. This area set a world record in 1999 for the most snowfall - 1140 inches - in a single season. That's ninety-five FEET of snow. Or twenty-nine meters, if you're metric.
It's a lot of snow.
Of course, all that snow has to go somewhere. And as you might guess, that somewhere is down. Down the path of least resistance, which might be... the trail, at times.
From the saddle you can look (roughly) west toward Mt. Baker...
... and east toward Mt. Shuksan.
The trail then winds down to Bagley Lake, and the road, crossing yet another snowfield on the way. You could slide right into the lake if you were adventuresome... or incautious. ;D
The catch is, you come out about two miles and a few hundred feet in elevation lower than where you started. And the youth group caravan had gotten separated. What to do? Just hitch a ride back to the top with someone. And wouldn't you know the first people they approached ended up being friends of ours? Acquaintances from a former church with the missionaries who'd been house-sitting for us while we were on vacation!
Coincidence? I think not. ;D Things may not have gone as planned, but all went well.