Mt Baker, Park Butte
Pacific Northwest

The disappearing mountain

The last time Bryce did this hike, he was rewarded at the top with no view of Mt. Baker at all. He hiked Park Butte in the North Cascades more than 10 years ago.

I’ve never done this hike. We decided to do this hike “on our way back” from spending the Fourth of July in Vancouver, Canada.

It was raining when we left our motel, where we stayed the night in Bellingham, the morning of the hike. When we arrived at the trail head, there was no more rainfall but there were a lot of cars in the parking lot.

Despite all the cars, we only passed two other hikers towards the start of our trek. There’s another trail off of the one we were hiking where people climb Mt. Baker, so that seemed to be the more popular route.

As we got higher, the fog thickened. I was glad to be wearing layers. It felt like it could have been October or March, not July.

Would we get a view at the top?

We didn’t have high hopes. It wasn’t looking very promising.

Mt Baker

However, we did get a glimpse of the mountain for about 15 minutes! The clouds wavered back and forth in front of Mt. Baker but for a brief period you could make out the magnificent mountain.

About 20 minutes later when we arrived at the look out, we found ourselves completely engulfed in a cloud. There was no way to tell there was a mountain in front of us.

How lucky were we that we saw it while on our way up?

The grey day made for very few crowds. There were just two campers (and their pup) in the look out and one hiker leaving when we got to the top.

On our way down the trail, we came upon several groups of climbers who were making their way down as well.

As a runner, sometimes I feel like I don’t appreciate being outdoors because I’m not really looking around at my surroundings. I’m usually thinking through something that happened at work, or planning my next training run or figuring out what to write my next blog post about! Hiking allows me to actually take in my surroundings. I appreciate that.

And, as supported by Bryce’s experience with this hike, no two hikes are alike — even if you are on the same trail!


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