Friday, September 20, 2013

Ptarmigan Ridge and its Unexpected Gifts

What does it take to make me happy? Not much, I sit here with an amazing view of Mt. baker and the surrounding Cascade mountains, my hiking poles, camera, notebook, pen, collapsible REI chair and water bottle, plus a pouch of Indian food from Trader Joe's and I couldn’t be any happier or content, just being out here makes me tickled with Joy from the inside out.

Moments of Bliss!
 Actually just the thought of knowing that I was driving away from Bellingham and by myself for a whole day with no schedule (not always easy to do as a parent) was the first glimpse of pure bliss that was about to follow.

Ptarmigan Ridge and Mt. Baker

Today I am out here making peace as I say my goodbyes to Mt. Baker and this amazing area; my family and I will soon be moving. My obsession with Mt. Baker and the North Cascades began in 2001 when I moved to the area, I fell in love and still am with it’s never ending beauty, amazing trails and peaks. It was the following year in 2002 while hiking out on the Mt. Baker lake trail while eating lunch and looking across the lake at Mt. Baker that I decided that day then and there I was going to climb her.

Ptarmigan Ridge Trail and Mt. Baker
 For those of you that don’t know, Mt. Baker is definitely a she mountain in all her grandness. It was the first Mountain that really spoke to me and called some deep sleeping longing out of me. And so I began climbing mountains and hiking any hike that had steep switchbacks on it.

Ptarmigan Ridge Trail and Mt. Baker
 Two years, three mountains, and many hikes later I would reach the 10,781 ft summit with my now husband and a pair of golf shoes that I carried to the top for a photo from a bet or promise I made with a friend.

Looking across at Church Mountain

What I did not realize when I chose to do this hike was that at different points in the hike I would be able to look across and say thanks to all the different ranges, hikes, that I explored in the name of training to climb Mt. Baker. What a real treat to see Church Mountain a natural amphitheater of waterfalls, Skyline Divide and it’s heavenly alpine flowers , Welcome Pass and it’s 60 plus switchbacks, Lake Ann and it’s calving glacier views and sounds , and then down onto Baker Lake where the vision began.
View of Welcome Pass

Mt. Shuksan with Lake Anne trail below.

 Just getting outdoors and enjoying a hike with views is all it takes to give me a grin all day long and a mental shift for the days in the week ahead! North Cascades you will always have a piece of my heart filled with memories. Thanks for teaching me how to enjoy exploring the peaks and the valleys of life! I will return again someday!

--Natalie Page, AAI Blog Contributor


Elise Brianne said...

Beautiful photos! Love the North Cascades & Mt Baker... Best wishes with your move!

Erin said...

Nice post Natalie. I hope to see you when you come to Bellingham for a visit, or when I am somewhere near you!

Erin said...

Nice post Natalie! May your journey continue to provide you with fulfillment xoxo