In the winter, the Mount Baker Highway ends at the upper lodge of the Mount Baker Ski Area. Beyond the ski area parking is a larger open space of parking that is the launching point for many self-propelled adventures. Some simply choose to walk around the parking lot, snapping photos of the surrounding peaks, while others choose more adventurous endeavors in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Mount Baker Wilderness.
The graphic above is a slice of the larger Mount Baker Ski Area Trail Map which also shows the perimeter of the area offering an invitation. What is unique about the highway is that you can drive all the way UP to the snow on a road that is plowed and maintained- thanks WSDOT! From the restroom icon in the parking lot above, follow the red dots up the black line in the ski area labelled “Blueberry Cat Track” this leads up to the popular summer destination of Artist Point.
You can walk up the snow covered road with snowshoes or skis to get up to the accessible vantage point in the summer season parking lot. During the winter this is a staging point for deeper entry into BIGGER fun.
With Mt. Shuksan sitting solid in the background, skiers up on the bluff get ready to charge it hard, earning their turns, as they say.
I ventured up a bit from the safety of the parking lot to catch glimpses of the surrounding peaks from distant perspectives. Table Mountain loomed above me and I hearkened back to an earlier, sunnier, trip …The Icing on the Cake.
There I was “On top of the World, looking down on creation..” and it seemed like an appropriate time for a “Selfie with Mt. Shuksan”. This is the most photographed mountain in North America! This is not the vantage from which most people take the shot, though. No, they stop much earlier down the road, and usually in non-snow seasons when they can get the reflection off of Picture Lake to really get the punch of the picture. Well, this is what I got!
Me and the Mountain.
I climbed a bit higher after the aforementioned selfie and put the camera (iPhone) to use with the cool panorama feature. It offers a fantastic perspective on the North Cascades surrounding Mt. Shuksan.
The winter’s days draw to a close early this far north. The sun was scheduled to set a bit after 4pm, which means that it dips down behind the towering peak of Mt. Baker to the west- casting a cold shadow upon the landscape. Time to go.
I walked down to a reasonable location to try to catch a little of the alpenglow on my new selfie buddy. The majestic mountain was beginning to transform into a pink blanket as I made my way back down the gentle slope of the road that cuts gracefully through the hillside.
I sauntered safely back into the parking lot and shared stories with my fellow snow soldiers of the day. As I drove down the Mount Baker Highway, I was gleaming with pride of the new “Selfie with Mt. Shuksan” that I had taken, knowing that it would at least get a couple “likes” on my facebook profile when I posted it, later that evening!