Earlier this month, we actually took a break from weed-wrangling and critter-feeding long enough for a refreshing river walk a few miles up Mt. Baker Hwy. Horseshoe Bend is on the north fork Nooksack River, just east of the town of Glacier, and is a nice way to stretch your legs any time of the year. The dogs love it for the river-access.
Mt. Baker Hwy is chock full of scenery, outdoor activities, and places to explore. It starts at exit 255 from I-5, and ends at the Artist Point parking lot, over 5000ft above sea level. It’s one of the most photographed locations in the US, and this sampling of pictures speaks for itself. The end of the road is scheduled to open July 24th, after being closed since October 2010. Some years the snow is so deep and the summer so short, it just isn’t possible to clear the way. The Washington State DOT has a flickr page showing snow removal progress so far.
When we head east, whether it be to our favorite target shooting spot, Heliotrope Ridge, Nooksack Falls, or Horseshoe Bend, we always bring an empty growler to refill at the North Fork Brewery. They are the West Coast’s smallest brewery, they have wonderful beer & food, and they are also a wedding chapel. What’s not to like?!
Lake Ann , Skyline Divide, and Winchester Mtn are beautiful day hikes, as is Table Mtn at the end of 542. The Forest Service website has a ton of info about current road & trail conditions, hike reports, and campgrounds in the area. In the fall there are tons of huckleberries and wild blueberries to feast on, as long as you don’t mind sharing with the occasional black bear. Winter, of course, we leave the mountain to the skiers and boarders. Mt. Baker holds the world record for greatest snowfall in one season, which is nature’s way of telling some of us to stay home. Baker is also a young, active volcano, and periodically vents steam from a few sites near its summit. There is also a bit of mining history here, though people are discouraged from exploring the potentially dangerous abandoned shafts.
In any case, when it’s time to take the dogs for a walk, the Nooksack River/Mt. Baker Hwy area provides us with a wealth of choices. If you want to experience some great outdoors, come check it out!