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Totems and Shields; Mushrooms; Fishy Shrubs; A Red Lotus? Snow and Ice; Mt. Baker

As I mentioned in a previous post, the First Nation tribe in the Vancouver area are the Squamish people. They were also called the Coast Salish people. We just happenned to be staying in a campground run by their government on tribal lands in West Vancouver. We were admiring several of their totem poles, which we saw while biking in Stanley Park. They were all carved out of cedar trees, and are truly works of art. 

I was also impressed by these Squamish war shields on display. I am sure they were effective against similarly equipped warriors, but the advent of firearms made them somewhat obsolete, at least militarily.

Mushroom aficionados, lookie here! This photo was taken last night while on a walk with the puppies. I can’t identify them, but they made an interesting picture… they reminded me of a village somewhere in Africa… 

While on the subject of vegetation, we passed this green and red banded salmon on the way out of Vancouver.  He looked a bit out of place here alongside the street…

Speaking of inappropriate colors, this tiny red Lotus (Esprit?) was driving down the road in BC.  As any sports car aficionado knows, a Lotus should be British Racing Green, not Ferrari Red! I suspect that Sterling Moss, Jim Clark and Graham Hill, all top Formula One racing drivers for Lotus, would be appalled. (Suzanne also commented that the Lotus was so small that he might even be able to drive right beneath us!)

On Monday we re-entered the USA after a mere 90 minute wait at the Blaine, WA, border crossing. We stayed the night at Bay Side State Park near Mt. Vernon, Washington. We were in a charming campground with a water view of Padilla Bay through the trees. One of the advantages was that there was plenty of fresh water for washing off the kayaks, which had accumulated a lot of salt from the ocean and bays up in British Columbia.

We arrived in the vicinity of North Cascades National Park on Tuesday at a campground outside of a small forest town with the unglamorous name of Concrete. We are surrounded by spruce, hemlock and pines and the weather is perfect: 70s during the day and 55 at night. We got out for a hike this morning in the hills south of 10,781 foot high Mount Baker, a glaciated dormant volcano. This area set the world record for snowfall in a single season, 1,140 inches… that is 95 feet of snow. No wonder the ranger told us we’d be seeing snow on the hiking trail we had chosen! Also no wonder that we saw trail marker signs high up in the trees and not head-height like in most forests.

My Lovely Bride was not a bit hesitant about crossing this log across a roaring stream of cold snowmelt from the still snowcapped mountain. Two trekking poles helped, but it would have been a very cold bath for her had she missed her footing.  (She tells me it’s a good thing I couldn’t hear what was going on in her head).

The trail fizzled out at one point and we had to “bushwhack” down a hillside. The steep slopes were rocky and heavily forested, but we made decent progress until… 

…we had to traverse this rock garden/riverbed with medium to large rocks and boulders. It made for a tough hike, and hard on the ankles, knees and hips.

Your Faithful Correspondent was almost despondent when he couldn’t find the Silverbells (AKA Hershey’s Kisses in Pennsylvania) in his backpack. Fortunately, they had simply found their way to the very bottom, and were rescued from oblivion and consumed on the spot! 

Suzanne found a nice spot by this stream for a few contemplative moments.  Waterfalls are her favorite part of nature. 

Finally, we were rewarded with a beautiful view of Mt. Baker’s snow and glaciers. This is an inspirational place, and makes you feel very insignificant as a human being… The hiking guidebook says, “These are veritable holy sites – less crowded than those of most religions but no less moving if your place of worship is the mountains.” (We only saw five other people on the trail!) 

1 Comment

  • Beverly G
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Loved the "tour" today, Ty!


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