Sunday, December 30, 2012

Artist Point Snowshoe

My friend Dean organized a snowshoe trip up to Artist Point on Saturday afternoon, which I was glad to take part in.  Artist Point is accessed by going to Heather Meadows at Mount Baker, and hiking about a 1000 feet up, and through a bit of backcountry. It's not all that difficult, but it is backcountry, and so it is best to bring some snow smarts.

We've done this trip on a near annual basis for several years now, typically timing it on the full moon cycle. The full moon reflected on Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan, with all the stars in the sky, is really something to see. It was raining down below, but we trusted the favorable forecasts, and indeed, it cleared up on top. We were there for the sunset, which produced some spectacular violet hues against the snow covered peaks.

My phone camera provides only a limited sense of this true winter wonderland. I think I was most impressed by the heavy snow on the wind blown trees up on the Point. At times, these trees took almost human or gargoyle shape, leaning from the weight of the snow. The fact that any life persists in such conditions is amazing.

I think in all we had a group of about 14 persons. A brave minority even set up tents and stayed the night. Bravo! Most like I though went up, and then came down for dinner at Chair 9 in Glacier. Staying wasn't an option for me, because I had to be back in town for a special birthday event in the evening. However, I will note that it was very cold up top. I'm guessing it was about 5 degrees on Artist Point, and then 20 degrees only a few 100 meters lower.

A great group and trip--highly recommended. Thank you Dean!

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