A short time ago, I went on yet another hike with Brandon and Rachel, this time even further east from the Puget Sound. Our hike of choice was an old logging road that climbs all the way to the summit of Mount Lookout. According to our handy hiking guidebook, the summit provides one of the best, all-encompassing views of the area. Sign us up! We packed what we needed and headed off.
The route there involved driving through the ‘remote’ area of Sudden Valley. It’s super close to Bellingham, but somehow manages to feel like you’re a little too far upriver. The homes seemed on the nicer side, and were all tucked away in the depths of the forest that crowded the road.
After a few wrong turns, we found the right gate and the right tiny road to drive down that led us to an alternate trail-head that shaved nearly 3 miles of boringness off the hike. Looking back that was a good decision. We parked the jeep, fended off a chihuahua assault, and set off down (up?) the logging road.
As we hiked up the pretty consistent slope, I couldn’t help but gawk at the massive evergreens towering all around us. I know I mentioned this in my last post, but one of the things I love about Washington are our awesome forests. One moment that stood out was as we were searching for a small geo-cache. The hint was “40 foot nurse”. A nurse tree is a dead tree that has another tree growing out of it, recycling and reusing its nutrients. Well, we found a big dead tree, but it definitely wasn’t 40 feet tall. It was waaaay taller.
We ended up finding the actual 40 foot nurse nearby, but I won’t spoil that for you…
After what seemed like an endless climb, we neared the top of the peaks. Although Mount Baker was obscured by clouds, we still got a nice glimpse of where it would be. Flowers flourished in small patches of grass on either side of the path and a myriad of butterflies flitted from blossom to blossom.
At last, we gained the summit of Lookout Mountain. There are two huge communication towers on top, but since they were pretty clearly fenced off, we stayed away from those and concentrated on finding the epic view we had come to see. Yeah… about that…
Lookout Mountain may have (ten years ago when the guidebook was written) had an amazing view at one point. Now, however, the trees on the peak have grown to the point they block off any view of the landscape below. That being the case, the best picture of the view from Lookout Mountain is….
We were a little disappointed, but it was still a good hike on a beautiful day. We ate our packed lunches and headed back down, periodically referring to the GPS Brandon had brought along to see if we could find a hidden path we’d missed to take us to an epic view.
We went off on a few small offshoots that involved a whole lot of bushwhacking and no views at all. Sure, we’d catch a glimpse here and there, but overall it was a bust.
That is, until we turned up a path that didn’t look like much but became the remains of an old logging path. The first fork we took was a bust as well. The second, on the other hand, led us to the view we’d hoped for!
We emerged from the brush onto a veritable field of fallen decaying logs. Below us was Lake Samish, with the Chuckanut Range looming up behind it. Beyond that, perfectly visible on that clear day, we could see the sparkling blue of the Puget Sound and the distant lumps of the San Juan Islands. It was a unique, beautiful view; one we had nearly given up on finding!
We stayed for a while, enjoying our just reward after a long, tiring hike. Eventually, though, we headed back down. The walk back went much quicker, but I had to be really careful with my knee. I’d been getting a few twinges of pain at that point, and the last thing I wanted to do was to blow my knee out as the hike was wrapping up. Luckily, that didn’t happen, and we made it off the mountain.
As is our tradition, we headed to a local brewery for a celebratory pint as a reward for all our hard work. Want to hear more about that and the hike in general? Check out Brandon and Rachel’s awesome new project called Beers at theBottom. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a Pacific Northwesterner’s guide to awesome hiking and delicious craft beer!
Nathan studied and started working in business, but quickly grew tired of it and tried teaching English in South Korea. Since then, he's been working and traveling around the world.So far, he's visited 30 countries, with many more to come!