Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Hiking Chain Lakes Loop By Mount Baker With Spencer Jack & Hank Frank's Grandma Cindy

Seems likely lately rarely a day goes by without me seeing photos from the Pacific Northwest which tend to cause me a twinge of homesickness.

This morning it was on Facebook such occurred.

In the photo, the one of the trio who is on the right, to the left of the snow capped mountain, is my favorite ex-sister-in-law, Spencer Jack and Hank Frank's Grandma Cindy.

I last saw Grandma Cindy on August 13, 2017 at Birch Bay, when Spencer Jack drove his Grandma and Dad to see his FUD.

That snow capped mountain is Mount Baker. One of Washington's five volcanoes.

Or is that Mount Shuksan, viewed from an angle I am not used to?

I know in the photo Cindy's hiking trio is hiking the North Cascades hike known as the Chain Lakes Loop. The Chain Lakes Loop is accessed from Artist Point, which is the end of the road on the north access to the Mount Baker ski area. A lot of snow has to melt before one can reach Artist Point each hiking season.

From Artist Point Mount Shuksan looms to the east, whilst Mount Baker looms to the south. Mount Shuksan is much more rugged than Mount Baker.

If I am remember correctly the last time I was at Artist Point was at some point in time in the 1990s. FNC and FNJ3 and I went hiking from Artist Point to the top of Tabletop Mountain. Years ago I webpaged that hike as part of my controversial Nephews in Danger series.

I forgot, must explain, FNC is Favorite Nephew Christopher, FNJ3 is Favorite Nephew Jeremy. I have two other nephews whose names start with the letter "J" who are older than Jeremy, so they are FNJ and FNJ2. FNJ is Spencer Jack's dad, Jason. FNJ2 is Hank Frank's dad, Joey.

When I lived in Mount Vernon, on a clear day, I could look out my kitchen and living room windows and see the Mount Baker volcano.

If there were no buildings blocking the view I might be able to look out my current kitchen window and see the stunning summit of Mount Wichita, which is about two miles distant.

For several years now, when hiking season opens in the North Cascades, Cindy takes part in something called the "Trek for Treasure". This is a competition where you get some clues and then hike to find something which proves you hiked the hike. I think this then gives you another clue, which points you to the next week's hike.

Or maybe it's a clue which points to the final treasure. I don't quite remember.

I first learned of this Treasure Trekking when the first person who ever led me to hike up Mount Baker, Maxine, told me about this hiking adventure she was competing in. I recollect being quite surprised when sometime later I learned my favorite ex-sister-in-law was also trekking for treasure.

When Cindy was my sister-in-law things like going hiking in the high country were just not one of the things she did.

I wonder if FNJ2 has ever told his mother about the Nephews in Danger episode when Joey and I hiked up Sauk Mountain when the trail was covered with ice and snow was falling. It was a bit treacherous.

I do recollect talking to Joey and us verbalizing how impressed we were to learn his mother had done that Sauk Mountain hike Joey and I had trekked up in a snowstorm...

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