The Cascades – Mount Baker

[simage=2818,200,n,left,]Now that we have our Canadian passports, popping over the border to the USofA is a lot more appealing and quicker than before. Mount Baker Recreation Area is only a couple of hours from Vancouver and so is a tempting option, given that we often see glacier-covered Mount Baker from downtown on a clear day.

Our first visit to the Mount Baker area was over the Canada Day long weekend. This wasn’t the ideal trip, it poured with rain the whole time, the mosquitoes were the size of crows, and both of us were injured from various biking misadventures and could barely walk! We gave up and went home early. However, the campgrounds were lovely, and the small village of Glacier offered good coffee and home baking at the Wake and Bakery¬†for a break from camp food, which was especially useful seeing as we ran out of camp stove fuel and needed to go out for breakfast on our second trip!

Attempt #2 was in September. This time the weather was better, and bugs had gone, and we were in good hiking shape. Day one saw us head up to Yellow Aster Bute. The hike starts up through forest but you soon find yourselves contouring around the peaks in the open. In the event that there were no clouds, you would see great views of Mount Baker across the valley. The hike ends up above an alpine bowl full of interesting small lakes, and good camping spots.

On the next day we started at Artist Point and tackled Ptarmigan Ridge. This is an easy hike that leads you up towards Mount Baker. There isn’t much elevation gain, and the route mostly contours along the ridge. The view of Mount Baker get more spectacular the further you go, and there are also great views towards Mount Shuksan, and across the North Cascades ranges. The further one goes from the carpark, the less people, so it is really worth starting early and getting out as far as you can. There are a few snow patches to cross for added fun. We got back to the car last afternoon and were back in Vancouver on our side of the border by 7 pm. An ideal change from the Coast Mountains, we’ll definitely be back next season.

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