Winter Camping

Mt. Baker - Bagley Lakes Area

FEBRUARY 21 - 22, 2009  The weather gods smiled on us as we set out from the Mount Baker ski area for a Mountaineers' winter camping class field trip.  We hiked a short distance to an area near Bagley Lakes.  The sky was bright and clear, the weather was sunny and warm.  We set up tents then broke into three groups to build snow caves.  The snow was consolidated, making our task surprising strenuous.  Only one snow cave was completed by a particularly determined team, but even they decided to sleep in tents with the rest of us.  The instructors had built a clever kitchen area while we were toiling on our caves, and after dinner, they showed off their creativity with Christmas lights draped over a nearby tree  and candles glowing in niches carved into our kitchen area.  One creative instructor built an amazing snow lantern that glowed like a lighthouse in the dark.  

It was a mild, star-filled night.  There are few things as enjoyable as the sight of snow-capped mountains under a starry sky far from the interference of city lights, and I spent some quiet time star gazing.  The temperature stayed above freezing all night, but it was snowing by breakfast.  We broke camp early, and by the time we returned to the trailhead, it was raining.