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Monday, December 10, 2012

POST 702: DECEMBER 09, 2012; ALGER, WASHINGTON HIKE

 The Pacific Northwest between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, BC, Canada...a distance of about 250 miles, contains some of the World's pristine geography...resplendent in volcanoes, inland seas, rain forests, ski slopes, lakes, and trails trails trails galore...even the smallest of towns have expansive trimmed pathways...not to mention unending island archipelagos containing cactus - yes, cactus...growing at the feet of glacier covered mountains...some only 15 minutes from city center; i.e.,  such as Port Angeles, Washington...a stone throw across the Straits of Juan de Fuca from Victoria, B.C., Canada.

Having been invited to join the Bellingham Fun and Fitness Friends, founded and led by Jean Webster, I participated yesterday is my first mountain hike...some 4 - 5 miles up steep mountain trails, past pristine lakes, lush vegetation, precipitous cliff faces only a mis-step away.

Jean's "POWER HIKE" led us up and up and up up up to Alger Alp...ending at a narrow peak with views from near Mt. Baker - our resident active volcano - to the North East, to the Olympic Mountains by way of Puget Sound some 100 miles to the West.



 From Alger Alp peak, looking more or less Southwest toward the Pacific Ocean some 100 miles away. 


 Looking more or less North up the valley terminating in the East end of Lake Whatcom...crystal clear waters fed by mountain rivers flowing down from Mt. Baker.


Our hike starting point is down in that valley...where in lies the village of Alger.  The city of Anacortes lies 20 miles into the distance...Anacortes, the site of one of two local groups of oil refineries receiving and processing crude oil from the Arctic Ocean in the north of Alaska.

The first day of my first walk (March 20, 2010) across America - Peace Arch via Denver to Key West, Florida, was down this valley.  Bellingham is only 20 miles to the right.



 My hiking companions...Jean, our leader, is second from left;  then Rene...then Ginger each separated by our guys - of whom I remember not a single one (Mark - Steve - rats...I forget)...I'm behind the camera.

The pooches run free on this hike.


Squire Lake...for which this trail is named.

Hundreds of such lakes dot the low spots throughout these foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range...which continues into California, where it is called the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

Having walked from the Canadian Border to the Mexican Border along the Pacific Ocean, I can attest that the West - Pacific Ocean side - of the Cascade / Coast Mountain Range extends from into Canada (perhaps far into Alaska...where I have yet to walk) all the way to San Francisco Bay is:

RAIN FOREST

The father of my Sister in Law raised his family on nearby Whidbey Island, picking the plant pictured above...a much used plant in the arrangement of commerical floral pieces:

SALAL

which encroached along our hiking trail far into the surrounding hills.


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