Visiting the Wenatchee Valley for a few days, we decided to make it a hike as we set off along the trails that lead around the ponds at Rock Island, Washington in search of a winter’s worth of Osage Oranges.
Brian often runs his dog around the ponds so was pretty sure he knew where the Osage Orange bushes were, and sure enough, he led us to some.
For this hike, rather than turn right and cross the bridge, we continued straight on the Baker River Trail and followed the shore of the wild and scenic Baker River.
Even though this is a lowlands trail, it is not without mountain views. Here, Jagged Ridge and Seapho Peak along the southeast side of Mount Shuksan come into view.
In places, sandstone cliffs and giant boulders line one side of the trail. Kent peered into a cave formed by huge boulders.
Accustomed to seeing huge old-growth trees in many of our forests, I think this one wins the award for the biggest I have ever seen. Look how the size of this tree dwarfs Kent as he peaks around this tree!
Before building the dams along the Baker River, the forest throughout the valley that was to be flooded was logged. Today when the water in Baker Lake is low, huge stumps remain. We enjoyed a bit of stump climbing after our hike.
Information on hiking the Baker River Trail can be found on the Washington Trails Association website here – http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/baker-river. It is a great hike to do in the winter when our favorite high country trails are socked in with snow.
This hike was a real bonus! Chased out of the high country in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest by an early snowfall a few weeks before, turned out that snow did not stick around for long and before we knew it, we were hearing reports that the roads were still passable and trailheads once again accessible. This was merely a small window of opportunity, however, as we knew that a winter full of snow would be returning. We got up at the crack of dawn and headed to Mount Baker so we could and hit the Goat Mountain trail early enough with enough time to hike the entire trail – in and back – before dark.
The hike is fairly long (can be up to 11 miles in and back) and gains about 2,000′ in elevation. We passed huge stumps remaining from the old growth logging of years past.
It was a beautiful day for a hike as the sunshine filtered through the chard remains of the old-growth forest.
Views from the trail were stunning. Most of Mount Shuksan was void of snow when we hiked in the high country only a few weeks before, but today, snow covered nearly the entire mountain.
High up along the Goat Mountain trail, the top of Mount Baker came into view.
One nice thing about a trail that climbs up a mountain is that once up, it’s pretty much all down hill. Here we were heading back down to the trailhead.
While we go much faster when hiking down a mountain than up, because our daylight hours are so few this time of year, our goal was to be out of the forest by dark – and it was dark by the time we returned to log out at the trailhead registration stand.