The morning of September 27th was one of those mornings that you wake up, look out the window and know instantly that there is nothing keepinâ€™ you indoors. When I walked out into the day, it didnâ€™t matter what I did as along as it involved being active in my huge backyard of the North Cascades. At breakfast in the dining hall, Katie mentioned she was going to hike up to Trapper’s Peak and, just like that, my day began.
Katie, Justin, Rebecca and I all piled into Katieâ€™s car, drove to the Thornton Lake Trailhead, just down valley from Newhalem. The 10+ cars parked on the road surprised us. Apparently quite a few people had the same idea we did. The first quarter of trail was an old logging road and had a low grade of elevation. The variety of mushrooms lining the trail was incredible. It seemed as though there wasnâ€™t a size, color or shape we didnâ€™t come across.
As we climbed higher in elevation, the blueberries were at the height of their season. We could barely take ten steps without having to stop and gather a handful. The berriesâ€™ deep blue color created a beautiful contrast against their bushes, which had begun to change from green to a reddish-brown. Justinâ€™s lips and fingers, in particular, maintained a blue tint throughout the hike.
When we came to a marshy meadow, the trail split. We had the option of going down 500 feet to the Thornton Lakes or heading up 1,000 feet to Trapper’s Peak. Some sweaty fellows had just come back down from the peak and assured us that the view was well worth the scramble up the climbersâ€™ trail.
Boy, were they right! At the top of Trapper we took in a very unique view of the Northern Picketsand our very own, beloved Pyramid Peak. Due to our late start, most other hikers had to climb down by the time we reached the peak, leaving us in solitude to enjoy the views.
A view of Thornton Lakes along the trail up to the peak
On our hike down, we were joined by a couple of Sourdough Speaker Series participants who had hiked to the lakes. Our conversation revolved around the specifics of the spectacular, five-course meal we had been treated to the evening prior. By the time all of us got back down to the trailhead only three cars remained and dusk was settling in. I know each one of us was grateful to have spent one of the last warm days of the season exploring this magnificent landscape that surrounds us.A couple of days later, the weather report stated that areas above an elevation of 4,400 feetÂ received snowfall. I canâ€™t wait to embark on a whole new type of hiking as the snowline descends and we move through the fall season.