snow covered peaks from Excelsior Pass

Snow covered peaks from Excelsior Pass

Yes  . . .  finally, the sun came out. I was racing around trying to find a good, lightweight backpacking stove, since the one I bought at REI a month ago only worked for one meal and I could not get it to light again, so went home a day early on my last backpack trip. I wasn’t upset about that, it started raining seriously hard on the way out, but it left me without a stove.

Excelsior Ridge

Excelsior Ridge

So I tried to find another at REI, and being in a hurry, picked one that looked good in the catalog and ordered it. When it came, it must have weighed 5 lbs (I excaggerate, slightly). That wasn’t going to work. Besides, the dimensions were huge. I don’t know who would carry that thing. Maybe some young buck with more energy than brains. No offense, I was just annoyed at my second attempt to find a stove. Haste really does make waste. It is still sitting on my floor, waiting for me to return it. Thank god REI takes returns, hardly any questions asked.

Views from the ridge - Mt. Shuksan

Views from the ridge - Mt. Shuksan

Just a day before my hike, I ran into an outdoor store that just happens to be next to a grocery store I sometimes shop at on my way home. They had a really nice, very lightweight stove and it was on sale. Only they do not take returns. I hesitated, wondering if I was being foolish, made an executive decision and bought it.

Views from Excelsior Pass

Views from Excelsior Pass

It worked great. I had no problems with it; it was easy to set up, and ran a very long time on the fuel. I had brought an extra bottle of white gas, just in case, but didn’t even touch it. It is back in my garage, as I write this.

The trail up Excelsior from Mount Baker Hwy is really steep, but I enjoy it. It is in the trees about 90% of the way, and I like trees, so that works for me. There are lots of switchbacks, and some interesting/ odd things to look at along the way. Close to the trail head there is a HUGE hole in the ground just to the side of the trail. I always look down it, it looks big enough for a bear, maybe, so I look and walk away, hoping nothing with claws, fangs and an attitude comes out while I’m there.

Wildflowers in the meadows

Wildflowers in the meadows

There is a pretty waterfall at one switchback turn, with a nice rock to sit on, I always stop there for a water and snack break. The trail is about 4.1 miles one way, and about 3,000 feet elevation gain.

Self-portrait

Self-portrait

There was lots of snow at the ridge, which I was counting on, for melting to replace my water. I do not like to carry a lot of water, its freaking heavy. I could have used slightly less snow, but it is hard to get nature to accomodate my exact requirements. It was just fine as it was.

The sky was perfectly clear Friday and Saturday, and so the views were incredible. Mount Shuksan and Baker were awesome, as were all the ridges and the Canadian range.

I’ll see how many of my photos I can get on here . . .

Mount Baker from Excelsior Pass
Mount Baker from Excelsior Pass
 
Wilderness Hamster

 

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