for the family

Fillmore Glen Hiking Trip

We interrupt our programming already in progress for this special report.

I organized a hiking trip to Fillmore Glen for the PGSO yesterday.  We had five hikers including myself, a good turn out considering that it snowed on the drive down and sleeted on us during the hike!  I’m of a divided mind on “bad” weather: hiking in the beautiful summer weather is wonderful and comfortable, but hiking in bad weather shows you the place in a totally different character. Actually I love inclement weather!

A quick aside on hiking in bad weather: as an undergrad I went on a geology lab field trip along WSR-542 to Mt. Baker.  The weather was miserable!  It was raining heavily, and windy.  Being a total nutter, I was dressed in heavy wool pants, a waterproof parka and dry boots, so I stayed pretty comfortable despite this.  With all the rain there were waterfalls and cascades coming off all parts of the mountain around the Bagley Lakes region, and the drifting clouds were ethereal.  I was cozy enough in my gear to be able to notice and really appreciate this; it’s a memory that has stuck with me.  Since then I’ve been all for going hiking in any weather, as long as it’s safe enough.  I expect many of my classmates have a completely different recollection: one of being wet and miserable.

With the weather forecast calling for a greater than half chance of rain, and being in the 40’s in the region, I offered to change dates.  Enough people thought this weekend was okay, so we went.  I had hoped to hike the main gorge trail.  Unfortunately it was completely closed for the winter.  It will probably open up next weekend, I should have checked!  Anyway its completely paved and staired, so it would have been “hiking”, not hiking.  The South and North Rim trails were open.  We headed for the south one first, ending up making a loop out of it. These trails weren’t paved, and kind of steep in sections while we were climbing up from the gorge bottom to the plateau above, about 450 feet.

A couple of things I noticed on the trip: it was really nice to be out hiking in the woods.  It snowed on us, and later it sleeted.  The precipitation wasn’t too bad really, it probably would have been harder to enjoy if it had rained.  I brought my jet boil and made tea for everyone about halfway around the loop.

From Fillmore Glen Hiking Trip

I really enjoyed seeing the different geology: I’m used to seeing volcanic rocks like basalt be the dominant exposure when out in the woods. This was all sedimentary rock, and it tended to break into sheets and be square. It lent the place a very constructed feel with all the square edges, like stacked bricks. It was quite beautiful.

From Fillmore Glen Hiking Trip

Some parts of the trail are quite mossy, and the forest floor was thoroughly covered with last fall’s leaves. It was a very peaceful place. We saw only a couple of other hikers.

Unfortunately the batteries in my regular camera failed me after the first few photos, so all I’ve got are these iPhone pics. They’re much better than the ones I would have gotten with my old cell phone, but Collin’s will be great with his DSLR! You can find the rest of my photos here, and I’ll keep putting up photos I get from others.

From Fillmore Glen Hiking Trip
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