We decided to take advantage of a somewhat decent forecast, and the last day of vacation for one of us, to head to Lake Ann for a dayhike. We lucked out in finding only 10 or so cars at the trailhead when we got there. Normally any trails within an hour of Bellingham, on a weekend morning, are packed like commuters on I-5 in Seattle. Not pictures below are the Pikas we saw & heard (which I just found out are endangered due to climate change), and the mountain goat we spotted high up on a cliffy arm of Mt. Shuksan. Maybe next time.
Here's ptarmigan who didn't expect to have its breakfast interrupted by us, not to mention being photographed for all the world to see. Doesn't it have great camouflage?
Just heading down into the valley. Mt Shuksan is way in the background, but it was still a bit cloudy to see it from here. The valley was incredibly beautiful and full of wildflowers and mushrooms. After our recent exercise in identifying edible shrooms, we were pretty confident lots of the ones we saw were edible. On our return, we passed a group of shroom harvesters who had just picked nearly every giant fungus we spotted, so next year we'll take the plunge ourselves. Most of them looked to be Boletes with a few Agaricus. We even spotted a few poison Amanitas!
Here's another critter enjoying breakfast in the great outdoors. Or at least she was until we spooked her. We were just coming around a bend, under a brushy outcropping, when a young black bear came crashing out of it, not 15 feet ahead of us. It ran across a small berry/heather meadow with hackles up, then stopped to turn around and look at us. We politely requested that it keep going away from the trail, which it did to a point. Once we got up around where it was, another group of hikers came around the bend and made it nervous enough to head uphill toward us. Again we advised it to try a berry patch in another direction, and it crashed off into the trees. We continued our climb, and didn't see it again.
Check out Mt. Baker from the saddle overlooking Lake Ann! The sky cleared off enough to see the peaks and warm us up a bit before heading back down. By this time, people were arriving in droves, but there was more than enough scenery to go 'round.
Here's a lovely view of Mt. Shuksan over Lake Ann. This pic is borrowed from here as is the bear pic, since our camera mysteriously wouldn't work when pointed at the bear, and just isn't up to the challenge of quality moutain scenic shots. (The bear picture was taken a few days before our hike, and in the same tiny valley, so we're thinking it was the same one.) While relaxing on a glacially-transported boulder, the clouds moved back in. We heard a massive rumbling which signalled a piece of Curtis Glacier breaking off and falling down the mountain. We heard a 2nd one a little later, as we were heading back. Here is another site with some pictures of the area.