We stayed in a condo near the small town of Glacier, WA and drove to trailheads near Artist Point each day. During previous visits, we had some lovely hikes, but were impeded by snowed-in trails in August of 2010, and rain in October of 2015. We felt lucky to have a good weather window this trip.
September 12 – Bagley Lakes
The cloud level was just above the Bagley Lakes – no mountain views today, and a bit of rain, but not many people either.
First we hiked partway around Upper Bagley Lake:
We turned back and walked along the southern shore of Lower Bagley Lake:
We returned along the north shore of Lower Bagley Lake,
then climbed back up the glaciated basalt surface, having completed the 3 mile loop, clouds lifting just a bit.
On our drive down the road, we stopped at the Picture Lakes – no mountain views today, but plenty of colorful wildflowers and foliage in the surrounding meadows.
September 13 – Ptarmigan Ridge
When we arrived at the Artist Point trailhead, Mt Baker was out, though hiding a bit behind fast-moving clouds.
We started along the first mile of trail that is carved into a high cirque, toward the saddle where the Ptarmigan Ridge trail begins.
From the saddle, we dropped down into another cirque, then back up to Ptarmigan Ridge, heading toward Coleman Pinnacle.
Once over that saddle, we hiked toward Coleman Pinnacle.
We were high enough to look down on Goat Lake,
but the mountain remained elusive. One shoulder peeked out, giving us our best view for the day.
Meanwhile, I was also admiring the foliage colors, and the sea of lily seed heads. This must have been an amazing wildflower meadow a few weeks ago.
The clouds became thicker, so we decided to turn back, after 4.5 miles.
Returning along Ptarmigan Ridge…
We hiked 9 miles, 1500 feet for the day. We had packed food in our car, just in case the sunset looked promising – one never knows in the mountains.
September 13 – Artist’s Point Sunset / Huntoon Point
We rested for a while in the trailhead area, and were rewarded with more cloud clearing, and some beautiful sunset views. We walked along the Huntoon Point Trail for about a mile, watching the sky, the glaciers, the reflections in the several ponds and tarns along the way. A lovely evening.
September 14 – Chain of Lakes
The mountains were out at the trailhead under a higher cloud cover, rain pending…
Knowing it might rain by afternoon, we started out on the Chain of Lakes Trail…
From the saddle, we had a better view than yesterday of the Ptarmigan Ridge trail.
We passed by four lakes in the basin…
We followed the side trail around Hayes Lake, toward Arbuthnot Lake, and found shelter under a few trees to eat lunch just as the rain began.
The rain was beginning in earnest, so we turned around to retrace our steps, walking quickly as conditions got worse.
By the time we were hiking back up the scree slope, I was getting pretty tired, after three days of hiking. I paused, and heard a whistle, and saw a marmot down on the rocks below the trail.
We still had more than a mile to go in the pouring rain, no more photos today. But we were very happy with our three days of hiking, and seeing the mountains, and came up with a new list of trails to return to, not just here, but along other trailheads in the North Cascades.
September 15 – Billy Frank-Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Halfway through our six hour drive home to Portland we took our lunch break at this wildlife refuge at the southern end of the Puget Sound. We walked about two miles, to the beginning of the boardwalk that extends for another mile out into the Puget Sound.
Thus ended another adventure, leaving me with tired legs, and a new list of places to hike next time.