Friday, October 30, 2020

Day 65: Anderson Mountain and the Attempted Trail Magic

August 13: The condensation during the night turned out to be absolutely horrible. Eventually I pulled out my tarp and threw it over myself like a blanket to help keep me and the rest of my gear dry, but by morning, it looked like it had rained. I packed up my camp, but knew that I would have to set out my tarp and groundsheet later in the day to dry out.

Even areas that weren't clear-cut still had evidence of past logging operations.

The day's hike was mostly along quiet logging roads. There were expansive views near clear-cuts, and the gravel logging roads were easy. The morning was largely downhill into the small hamlet of Wickersham.

Then there was about an hour of walking along Highway 9 that was an absolutely horrible road walk on a busy, paved highway with little or no shoulders to walk on and, as is often the case in rural communities, a couple of aggressive dogs running loose that I had to scare off. I had my bear spray readily available in case I needed it, but shouting at the dogs and wildly waving my trekking pole around kept them at bay. 

I walked along that stretch without stopping, anxious to get off the busy highway and back onto quiet logging roads. This time, they'd take me to the top of Anderson Mountain. 

I stopped for the night near the summit. Not at the summit, though. And I took an alternate route that cut off a couple of miles of needless bushwhacking along the primary route. There was no good reason to do the bushwhack as far as I could tell so I had absolutely no intention of doing it.

Near the summit, I reached a gorgeous viewpoint next to a clear-cut looking back toward Mount Baker and decided to stop right then and there to camp. I originally meant to hike another mile or two, but it seemed unlikely that there could be even better campsites ahead. I wasn't entirely sure it was legal to camp where I did, located near the boundary where the logging company's private property abutted next to public land where I could camp. But I didn't care. It seemed unlikely that anyone would catch me out here. But if my campsite wasn't legal, it couldn't have been by much. And I definitely wasn't the first person to camp here since I found a fire ring along the road at the pullout.

How could I not stop to camp with this gorgeous view of Mount Baker?!

So I set up camp, cooked dinner and settled in after completing 17.8 miles according to my GPS.

Near sunset, a Jeep came along--the first vehicle I had seen on the mountain all afternoon, and when they stopped next to my campsite, I feared that maybe it was a security guy from the logging company wanting to kick me out.

But it wasn't. It was a young woman who asked if I'd like a beer. I turned her down--I definitely didn't want a beer. "Weed?" she asked. Definitely not interested in that either. She seemed genuinely interested in providing trail magic. "Are you hungry?"

Well... not really. I had already eaten dinner and brushed my teeth, and I told her that, but out of curiosity, I asked what she had available. "Chips and guacamole."

Which.... actually sounded pretty good, and if I hadn't already eaten dinner and brushed my teeth, I might have taken her up on that, but I turned her down again.

She seemed a little annoyed at me at this point, like I was wasting her time, and I felt a little bad about it. Maybe I should have taken the chips and guacamole. Oh, well.... The thing I wanted most, actually, was just someone to chat with for awhile, but she didn't offer that and drove off.

The sun set shortly thereafter and, as far as I could tell, I had the entire mountain to myself the rest of the night.

Most of the day followed logging roads such as this.

Near clear-cuts, the views were often quite nice--if you ignored the part that had been clear-cut. The giant humped mountain ahead is Anderson Mountain and I would spend the night near its summit tonight.

That's Lake Whatcom behind Anderson Mountain on the left. The trail won't go to the lake, though.

Just one more obstacle to worry about--traps and snares are hidden in the area. Perfect to nab a hiker going off trail to take a leak. *nodding*

I found this sign (facing back the way I came) when leaving this logging road. Apparently, I had trespassed and didn't have a permit and didn't even know it until I left the area! (I never saw a sign like this from the direction I had arrived.)

Samish River

The Highway 9 road walk was absolutely horrible with just a few inches of shoulder to walk on--not nearly enough to step out from oncoming traffic. (Most vehicles had to swerve over the double-yellow lines to get around me.) This was, in my opinion, one of the most dangerous road walks of the PNT.

Samish River

Lots of these signs all over the place today. Some dated just a few days earlier. (Although this particular one was dated 2.5 months ago.)

The primary PNT lead into a bushwhack at this point, but I had no desire to do a bushwhack and skipped it for more logging roads along an alternate route.


Mary said...

Ryan, could you have walked on the other side of the barrier - next to the railroad tracks?

Ryan said...

Not really. The railroad tracks were only near the road for half a mile or so. Most of the time, it wasn't around.

Anonymous said...

Did you have to ford the Samish River?

Ryan said...

No, it crosses the river on a bridge.