This Time Last Year – Part 28: A trip to Mt Baker

Part of a series of posts that cover my travel to Greece and the USA in April/May 2016.

May 13 2016 – Birch Bay, Washington, USA

Today we are going to Mt Baker, the northern-most American volcano in the Cascades Volcanic Arc which extends into Canada. Mt Baker dominates the landscape looking east from Bob & Jenise’s home in Birch Bay. When Neil and I were there in August 2013 the full moon set the mountain aglow.

Full Moon over Mt Baker, August 20 2013

We were going to visit Mt Baker that trip but an opportunity to see a private car museum won the vote on the day.

Mt Baker rises 3286 metres above sea level – it’s higher than Mt Ruapehu in NZ’s North Island, which in comparison is 2797 metres asl. But like Mt Ruapehu it is an active stratovolcano composed mainly of andesite rock and has ski fields.

It’s about a 70 mile drive from Birch Bay and we take a detour to the mesmerising Nooksack Falls on the way.

Nooksack Falls

We seem to be driving through fir forest for miles, the two-lane highway in excellent condition considering the season has just finished.  Signs every so often acknowledge the citizens that have contributed towards the upkeep of the highway.  Magnificent sculptures of bald eagles atop large columns of andesite adorn the sign announcing we have arrived at the White Salmon base of the Mt Baker Ski Area.

We have arrived at the White Salmon base of the Mt Baker Ski Area.

The lifts at ski area are closed for the season …

Mt Baker Chair 1 – For Experts only

but there are skiers making the most of the last of the snow.

Still enough snow for spring skiing

The geology fascinates me. I’m familiar with columnar basalt, but this is the first columnar andesite I’ve seen.

A splendid example of Mt Baker’s columnar andesite

A close-up of the Mt Baker andesite rock.

We drive back and stop in the village of Glacier for a coffee break.  I am fascinated by the inspired use of no longer loved skis.

Skis recycled as fence pickets.

The wine rack yesterday and now fences. Great ideas.

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