Baker Lake

 

JULY 11 - 12, 2009  A Mountaineers backpack trip.  We were a group of three for this backpack trip to Silver Creek Camp on the shores of Baker Lake.  This is one of those trails that the guide books either ignore or look down on, so I started this trip with low expectations.  It would be, I thought, an easy hike through pretty woods to a campsite with friends.  Nothing truly exciting, but a peaceful evening in which to recharge after a busy week.  I was somewhat unprepared for the reality, which is that although the trail rarely drops to the level of the lake, it stays within view of it most of the way; that although Mt. Baker makes tantalizing cameo appearances through the trees, there are several clearings along the trail where the mountain is suddenly in full view; that these woods are not merely pretty, but the old growth forest here is beautiful and exceeded all my expectations; and that by snubbing this trail, the guidebooks have unwittingly created a lightly used trail for a low key backpack trip.  The only thing that's less than ideal here are the recreational boats, but even they go home or at least get quiet at night in their camps across the lake. 

It was hot and humid as we hiked in to the campsite on Saturday, and it took us a grueling 8 hours to hike the very easy 8 miles to Silver Creek.  Outbound campers told us they had seen a bear not far from our camp, but we didn't see any signs of it.  When evening came, Mount Baker glowed in the sunset.  Short thunderstorms swept in and out of the area all night, and we woke in the morning to soft rain.  The sun came out as we broke camp early and Mount Baker appeared to be standing on center stage with spotlights focused on it.  Within an hour of leaving camp, however, the weather turned moody and alternately showered and shone on us.  The highlight of the hike out was hearing the tat-tat-tat of  woodpeckers foraging on a tall snag.  We watched quietly until two birds spiraled around the tree looking for food.    

16 miles roundtrip

200' gain