Getting Kids Out Into Nature

Blue Lake (Mt. Baker) – Trip report, 9/16/17

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Lunch Point

After a summer of little hiking, I have been feeling ready to get back out on the trails. I’ve been wanting to go to Blue Lake for a few years now, ever since we were stymied by my car breaking down on the road up there back in 2014. This is one of those hikes that is pretty short for the amount of time it takes to drive there, but sometimes that’s just what we require. My friend Kirsten and her dog Roxy were able to join us; we had to leave a bit later than normal, due to her work schedule, but we were happy to sleep in a little.

Forest Road 12, once you pull off the Baker Lake Road, has some sizable potholes. Once you turn off onto FR 1230, the way narrows, but the quality improves. The road climbs up and up, with some spectacular views of the south side of Mt. Baker. We were surprised to find a full parking lot when we arrived, but we still managed to find spots to park, and quickly geared up and hit the trail.

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Lush Green Meadow
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Up the Trail

The path winds through mature forest, with fading flowers, seed heads, and various berries on display.

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Red Elderberries
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Sun Through the Trees
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Baneberry – a poisonous plant
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Twisted stalk (Rosy or clasping?)

It’s just under a mile to the lake, but I found that I appreciated having my trekking poles, because this is a rough trail. Rocks and roots are everywhere to trip you up. The last section of trail requires some care as you descend to the lake basin.

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Blue Lake, from Trail

Once there, we could have sat and enjoyed the sun, but we decided to travel one of the social paths over to the eastern shore, where it looked like there were easier access points to the water.

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Looking Over to the Point

We were glad we did this, though the path is rugged and steep.

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Tricky Spot

Don’t despair, it’s worth the trip. From there, the colors of the clear water were readily apparent, even in the smoky haze from the fires in our state.

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Gorgeous Water

It didn’t seem like there are good spots for wading, as the shore slopes steeply down into the water, but older kids may enjoy swimming on warmer days. People were fishing at the lake, and catching small fry; we could see some very small fish in the shallows. We decided that we needed to come back to this lake to camp, and even Gabe wanted to bring his friends there.

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Annika Resting

We enjoyed our leisurely lunch, snacked on sweet wild blueberries, and soaked up the afternoon sun. No bugs bothered us. We were tickled to find that Roxy, the Malamute, learned how to pick her own blueberries off the loaded bushes!

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Gabe photographing berries

If You Go: This is a long drive, on a rugged road. Make sure you have plenty of gas in your tank, and that your spare tire is pumped (another fellow hiker got a flat tire on the road up.) You’ll need your NW Forest Pass to park. If you want more of a challenging hike, this hike can be combined with Dock Butte to add 4 more miles and 1500 feet of elevation gain. There is a really nice outhouse at the trailhead, but no other amenities.

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Fringed Grass of Parnassus
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Blue Lake Trailhead

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