7.4 mi rt
gain: 2440 ft
max: 6040 ft
gpx tracks, use at your own risk: HogsHelio
Last day before I start back at work (summer quarter) so I had to do one more hike and decided to do one of my local favorites, Heliotrope trail up Hogsback to climbers camp. I have spent many nights up here, the hike is short and relatively easy so I can come up after work in the afternoon/evening and get up here before dark. Baker is right there and there are views of the bay and of Bellingham and beyond.
This is one of the approaches to summit Baker so the trailhead is huge and there is a toilet. Parking can be had at N48 48.133 W121 53.742
The trail starts off by crossing the river on quite a nice bridge. I remember the first time I went up Baker (all the way up) we had to cross on a log. They put this bridge in a few years back and the crossing is less exhilarating!
The trail continues on up through old forests. I ran into a Forest Service crew redoing one of the raised boardwalks through a mucky place, thank you for your work! As the trail climbs, it does cross a very full creek where you have to find your way across. The flow has changed drastically since last year and I had to go higher to find a place to safely cross. After a few easy miles you come to where the former site of the Kulshan Cabin, a structure built in 1925 by the Mount Baker Club and used until the 1980s. It has been gone for a long time now. Shortly after passing the old site the trail breaks out into a more open area.
After one more less intense creek crossing and a little more walking there will be a split in the trail. The left option leads over to the glacier overview, the right to climbers camp up a ridge known as Hogsback. I went right.
This ridge is where the elevation gets serious but it is short and you just put your mind to it and do it. The wild flowers were out in full bloom so that helps!
Once you reach the top you will more than likely see tents of people off making a summit bid. I was surprised at how far the glacier/snow has retreated.
On the way up Hogsback there are views of the glacier off a little distance.
After I spent some time at climbers camp and went back down to the split and went over to the glacier viewpoint. There are two BIG creek crossings on the way and for safeties sake I just waded through them instead of trying not to get my feet wet. The water came up to my thighs but it was doable. The views of the glaciers are outstanding but it sadden me to notice that the ice has retreated probably 75 feet from the edge in just a few years.
It was a great day before school hike. I love this one.