Bottom of Blue 4.13.19

8 miles rt about 800 ft gain total

I first started hiking about 15 years ago when my in-laws got Miranda, the Airedale shown in the header. They were older and she needed a lot of exercise. She wasn’t the friendliest dog so I started finding places that there would not be any humans and that is all she wrote. It is easy to get in the must summit, must do big miles mentality but sometimes I remember to just go poke around and look. Today was one of those days.

I grabbed my dog date Snipes and headed out to Blue Mnt parking at the DNR gate on Mosquito Lake Road. The day was lightly overcast but it managed to stay dry all day. I had been up here many times with Miranda and I brought Barley out here once on the road that runs parallel with Hutchinson Creek. Today at the first junction I headed up the hill with the intent to check out Lonesome pond. I have never visited this specific wetland so I wanted to see what it was all about.

who ever put in this gate had a sense of humor!

We walked out the road gradually gaining about 800 ft elevation until I saw an old social trail that headed toward the lake/pond. At first the trail followed an old road and the tread was still easy to see even though the small alders were growing up in it. Once at the end of the road we headed off through an older clearcut, the old tread just visible here and there until it wasn’t. There were many big trees down along the edges of the clearcut that we had to maneuver over and around but I could see the water so I just made my way toward it. There was lots of signs of elk but none there at the time.

As we got closer to the water I could see an old structure probably used by fisherman/people but it was obvious it hadn’t been used for quite some time. It is really just a platform covered in blue tarp which I will need to go pack out sometime in the near future, I have a thing against micro-plastics in wetlands.

old structure
Lonesome Pond, looking out from sturcture

Since the way in was unpleasant, we stayed in the trees working out way toward the road end and since no time out side really happened unless there is blood, I did scrape my thigh pretty good climbing over a downed tree.

While I had never gone out to Lonesome pond before, I had walked out to the end of the road and the trail that connects over to the old grazing area. Either the trail is unrecognizable or I missed it by a hundred feet or so (I think this was the case) but no matter, I made my way across a wetland and over to the ridge where I remember the trail going. I did pick up the tread once on the ridge and followed it to the large open area with the old tub. There were plenty of trees down but it was still easy to follow the trail once on it.

Once through the open area we headed over to Ferguson Pond. I had been here before looking for amphibians but had startled the elk heard that were bedded down there and they mucked up the water for me…and scared the shit out of me! I was new then.

Even though I had been there before I overshot the old trail by about a quarter mile and just kept walking along the old road toward the river until I recognized where I was (you can come up this from Saxon Road) and turned around. Open water at
Ferguson Pond is getting really diminishing as the invasive Reed Canary grass is taking over. That stuff is horrible and chokes out everything else creating a thick thatch that closes in wetlands. Sadly it is everywhere and really hard to get rid of.

Ferguson Pond

Ferguson Pond

From Ferguson I headed out on an old road that I knew would lead me to Hutchinson Creek that I would need to cross to access the road to walk out on. Sadly the whole area leading to the creek was overtaken by the second really invasive plant taking over our wetlands, Japanese Knotweed.

The creek was full so we pushed down stream until I found a spot I could cross. I decided to go through with my boots on and just hike out the two miles in wet boots. I had to assist Snipes due to the depth and current but the crossing was easy and soon we were walking out on the access road. The city of Bellingham used to get some of it’s water from the Nooksack River and there is a diversion up stream from where I was. The pipe system is still in place and this is the road that was used to maintain the pipeline. There is a pumphouse at the end of the road and this is where we came up onto the road. The walk out was short and easy. We took a break at the old dnr campsite and enjoyed my beer while Snipes kept watch.

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January 2019

Due to personal reasons, this has been a very hard start of the year. I haven’t been able to travel more than a few miles from home but I still got some local hikes in.

Teneriffe (not local)8.3 mi
Alger Alp5.3 mi
Short Hovander4.1 mi
Lookout via Cain Lake7.3 mi
Burnout from Larabee9.5 mi
Stewart, small loop from Y Rd 1.93.3 mi
Eagle Ridge Loop3.9 mi
Lime Kiln (not local)7.8 mi
River Meadows Park (on way home form Lime Kiln)0.7 mi
Deming Mnt to old lookout site10.2 mi
Blue Mnt summit11.5 mi
Repeater Rd 1.183.8 mi
1000 puddle 1.197.1 mi
Brown Pow Surf and Turf Loop9.9 mi
Blachard Gambol10.1 mi
Lookout looking for cabo 1 (missing dog)5.3 mi
Lookout looking for cabo 25.6 mi
Stewart from Mirror mi
Stewart from guard shack5.9 mi

While February also started out slow, it should be picking up from here. I hope to start having time again to do things like updating this here blog. No proof without pictures!

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For the last few nights before bed I have been sitting down and planning my hikes for next year. Not my after work or can’t leave town ones, but the others…

I am making two, no, three lists: new hikes, hikes to revisit, and my tried and true up on Baker. I sometimes think that I don’t really hike that much but as I prepare for next year it brings to mind the ones I did this year and I realize I did get hikes in this year…some would say quite a few. I tend to revisit places I have been that draw me back, in this upcoming year I am going to try to add more new hikes. Hahahaha, I just read this paragraph of me whining about not going new places and then remembered I did go to Africa and summit the worlds tallest free-standing mountain, Kilimanjaro! I am an awkward human!

For my next summer break adventure I plan on hiking the John Muir Trail (JMT) in California terminating with a summit of Whitney. While I am down in that area perhaps I will go over and attempt the Wind River Range again. I was there last year after hiking the Teton Crest Trail but the smoke from the forest fires was so thick that my poor asthmatic lungs could not take it and I left and went down to Uintas and went up King Mountain, the tallest peak in Utah. That was a stunning area, highly suggest it!

Teton Crest Trail
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Yep, This Happened!

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Oh Ruby Ruby- mid July

view from Ruby

I had had Ruby on the bucket list for a long time.  I first read about it in an old hiking book then found the approach on  I decided to make it an over-nighter. Parking is at the end of the road in the Colonial Creek Campground, NW Forest Pass required.  The trail starts along the beautiful Thunder Creek where in just over 2 miles the junction with the trail heading to Fourth of July Pass is reached.

So far the trail had been pretty flat and easy but here is where the up started.  In the first 2 miles the elevation gain was only 250 ft or so, in the next 2.5 miles the gain was about 1875 ft up to Fourth of July Camp.  A permit is required to sleep here and when I stopped by the ranger station in Marblemount, I was told I was lucky, there was one spot left.  I think there must have been a glitch in their computer program because I had the entire place to myself all night…well, except for the bear.

The camp was nice, there was running water about 500 ft away and a pit toilet off in the woods.  I hung my food on the other side of the stream before settling down.  I had read that the campsite farthest up the  trail had the best views and it did indeed.

The next morning I packed up my overnight gear and stashed it in a safe place to be picked up on my way back down later that day.  I headed up the trail that was fairly flat until the cutoff to Ruby.  I missed the cutoff at first and had to backtrack about a quarter of a mile.  Summitpost says “As soon as the first 30′-long bridge is seen, search for a hidden path”.  I would like to add that if you come to the bridge you have gone too far. As you approach the bridge the trail is on the left.  You will know it when you see it and there is a sign just a few feet up the trail.

While SP says the trail is sometimes hard to follow, I didn’t find that to be the case at all until the last half mile and then you can still tell where you need to go.  This is not a maintained trail and there were literally dozens of small downed trees to step over and a few to work around but not that bad all in all.

At this point you are gaining elevation fast as the trail climbs the mountain through thick forests for a bit until it starts to break out into more open territory.  Eventually the trail starts to pass through beautiful open meadows heading ever upwards

At this point I lost the trail a bit but just went for the middle of that saddle that can be seen in the above picture.  The hill wasn’t at all bad to go up and I soon made it up to the ridge.

Once on the ridge the already amazing views got even better if that is even possible.  I could see the structure off in the distance and headed on over taking so many pictures as I went.  Once there I signed to register and enjoyed my lunch and the views.

At this point I had gained about 4000 ft in the five miles from camp.  I hated to leave, I really really did.  I had spoken to a young man heading down while I was on my way up and he had spent the night up here on the ridge.  I was regretting not carrying my gear up and doing the same.  Sadly, I started heading down and as I was getting close to the saddle I saw this guy just hanging out cooling his belly.

This was an excellent hike, I would definitely consider doing it again.  Total was about 19 miles rt with 5900 ft gain.  Apparently Ruby has quite the history and it is an interesting read over on Summitpost if you are interested.

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I know, it’s been awhile

I have been doing things, really I have.  I hiked the Teton Crest trail last summer, I went up King Mountain in Utah (Utah’s highest peak), I have been going up things, really I have.  Oh, I went up Ruby Mnt a few weekends ago, that had been on the list for several years. For the last little bit I have been working on planning and getting ready for a trip and last night I bought my tickets so it is now real…I am going to AFRICA!!!  There is a mountain there I am going to go up and then a bit of a safari, should be fun!

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Ridley Creek Trail 6.4.17

shelter approach

approaching Mazama Meadow shelter


~8 mi rt

max: 4524 ft

gain: 1959 ft

Ridley Creek track

The weather was rather overcast but I still wanted to get some snow so I decided to head up to Mazama Meadow via the Ridley Creek trail.  I have written about the trail before so this is just a review and a snow update. I like going in from this trail even though the trail approach is a little longer because the road is accessed off of Mosquito Lake road just outside of Bellingham.  If I go into Park Butte area via the normal route I have to drive down to the Baker Lake area and up that way which is a few hours away. Continue reading

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