Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sauk Mountain

I had a fun snow day on Sauk Mountain today.  Sauk Mountain is just east of Concrete, Washington.  I parked about a mile below the parking lot, and hiked to the trailhead through 6 inches of snow or so. No cars have recently driven all the way to the trailhead, though they've come close.

The views on the way up the road were amazing, as I could see Mount Eerie, Orcas Island, and Blanchard Mountain, looking down the Skagit River Valley.  Mount Baker was evident, but hidden behind clouds. The valley with all its yellow, green and red colors cut a striking contrast with the fresh snowline on Sauk.

I followed a coyote’s snow prints up the trail.  As I climbed, I started seeing raptors circling. At one point, I had nine large soaring birds, mostly eagles, circling right above me.  I think a couple were falcons. I think they were just catching good air off the mountain, but it was getting a little personal and spooky.

This was a simple but terrific day. I wasn’t up for the Ron Herzog 50k, or I would’ve been down that way. Hope it went well--a good day, for sure. I’ll make a point to go back to Sauk Mountain this winter with snowshoes. The road to the trailhead would make a pleasant climb. I hit Annie’s Pizza in Concrete on the way back and am now settled in for an evening of classic college football. Go Huskies!

Also of note—on Wednesday night I made it to the Skagit Alpine Club’s meeting, finally, where Jennifer Hahn spoke on foraging in the Pacific Northwest.  A terrific presentation about edible seaweeds, chantrelles, nettles and other such things.  Wild foods are a really hot gourmet topic these days. One thing that sort of surprised me is that you need permits for foraging in national forest lands, as well as harvesting seaweeds. 

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