Sunday, March 6, 2016

Finding Lost Tabletop Mountain In Texas

Today I found photos I thought were long lost, which I have previously searched for among my big collection of old hard copy photos.

But, today the mystery of the missing photos was solved soon after I began perusing through a file cabinet I'd not looked in in years.

The first photo you see here is one of my favorites I have ever taken. That would be my Favorite Nephew Jeremy on the left, sitting next to my Favorite Nephew Christopher, at some point in time back in the 1990s, before I moved to Texas and the nephews moved to Arizona.

Chris and Jeremy are sitting atop Tabletop Mountain. Behind them is Mount Shuksan. To their left, in the direction Chris is looking, sits the Mount Baker volcano.

Notice the piles of rocks behind the nephews, resembling what I've come to call Hoodoos when I see these type rock formations on the forlorn Tandy Hills.

Til today, all I had remaining of these photos were scanned images compressed to a low byte size suitable for using them on a webpage back in the pre-broadband days when one worried about such things. Today's newly scanned versions look almost 3-D. At least on my screen.

Tabletop Mountain is on the north side of Mount Baker. The parking lot and trailhead opens up in late summer, unless the snowpack has been light, allowing it to open earlier. The parking lot is at the end of the road that one can use to drive past the ski area when enough snow melts.

As you can see, a lot of people show up for the multiple hiking opportunities accessed from this location, including a trail on the north face of Mount Baker.

Above we are starting the trek up Tabletop Mountain, via a series of switchbacks.

I first saw this as a little kid, retaining the memory of a string of people switchbacking up a mountain. As years passed I started to think this was a false memory, too young to remember the location of the memory, til one day, years later, I found myself back at the same location, again seeing a string of people switchbacking up a mountain.

Above we are on one of the aforementioned switchbacks, making our way to the top of Tabletop.

I think this may have qualified as one of my infamous Nephews in Danger incidents, where Jeremy 'skied' down a sheet of snowy ice towards Mount Baker.

Below Jeremy watches as Christoper is the Nephew in Danger. As I remember it Christopher reached a high rate of speed and had trouble hitting the brakes when the snowy ice came to an end.

I have shown photos of Washington mountain hiking to Texans previously. Summer photos of being up in the mountains. The Texans are always perplexed as to how can one be in shorts, like it is hot, when you are on a cold snowy mountain. Well, it takes a lot of thermal units to melt massive snow packs, so ice remains even when the air is heated into the 70s, or 80s, making it quite pleasant to be in the high country minimally attired.

I don't remember why Jeremy was threatening his Favorite Uncle with a snowball. That would be the aforementioned Mount Baker volcano behind Jeremy.

Looking at these photos is it any wonder I am homesick for real mountains with real scenery and real trails trekking to see real scenery on real mountains?

I miss cross county skiing on these mountains too. Ironically, yesterday I tossed my cross country skis into the garbage. The Texas heat had de-laminated them....


Kat said...

Mountains and memories of mountains evoked by your thoughts, Durango. My criteria for a great place to live are these: mountains, a river or two, a university, moderate temps, terrific museums. Fort Worth has everything but the mountains, though the river doesn't seem well cared for as the banks are scoured clean and the water quality is toxic. Yet the Cowtown museums, the music and food scene has evolved dramatically in the decades I have lived here, still, I have fantasies of getting back to mountains. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Durango said...

Thanks for thanking me, Kat. I would add to the great place to live criteria close access to saltwater. There is a lot I like in Fort Worth, some of which I will miss when I no longer live in Texas. My favorite Fort Worth location is the Stockyards. I hope the Stockyards don't get ruined by bad developments. The Trinity River is a tragedy of neglect. I hope the Trinity River Vision actually one day becomes something one can see and the river is restored to something about which Fort Worth can legitimately be proud. I think downtown Fort Worth is very well done and greatly improved during the time I have been here. I wish they'd fix downtown's Heritage Park. I have never understood why the locals tolerate such embarrassments. I like how friendly Texans are. I've met many nice people.