I must confess:
Confession no. 1: When I go riding, generally the destination is pretty much irrelevant. Almost without fail I tend to choose a destination that covers the route/road that I feel like riding. The destination ends up being little more than the turnaround point.
But there are exceptions.
Confession no. 2: Today I took the day off & rode down to Mount Baker... alone. Let me disclose the full extent of my perfidy:I crossed the border bright and early, had a wonderful breakfast in Lynden, carried on to Mount Baker, walked around and came back. All without my wife.
OK, lets get that clear: I am a bad, selfish, inconsiderate, naughty spouse. There: it is said and that's it: let's move on.
I have only been there once before: my wife & I plus a friend rode there 2 years ago and I loved it: both because of the very, very nice road and secondly because it is so beautiful there. The first time around we did not spend much time there and I did not take a camera: today I rectified both these errors.
When I stopped, one of the local wardens suggested that I follow the closed-to-traffic-but-open-to-stupid-footsloggers road to the very top parking area. Apparently the view of the Mount Baker peak is something to behold from there (he said). And he was right: it was truly beautiful.
But lying by omission is still lying, so he lied to me, the naughty, naughty man! He should have also told me that a) it was like a 3km walk to the top (and you still have to come back!), b) it was about 2,000 ft higher than what we were and c) I had to climb from about 7,000 ft to about 9,000 ft: at that altitude oxygen is your friend and a precious, scarce commodity!
So I patiently (OK, for those of you that know me: not quite!) slogged my way to the top. In my new jacket (thank gooness New Enough got my new mesh jacket here this week!!), with boots on, in the bright sunshine and at a spirited pace (to coin a BCSB phrase).
So now I have the blisters and the sunburnt face to prove it.
But oh man: was it ever worth it! It is a stunningly, stunningly beautiful spot. If you ride there and do not spend some time walking around and enjoying the beauty you are missing a big part of the Baker experience.
And yes: there is quite a bit of gravel on the inside of the sharper hairpinny-type bends on the last ascent to the ski area. Take it easy: there are enough great corners lower down that you can afford to show some restraint here.
And I did not get close to hitting a deer (unlike my previous trip: was it ever close!).
I consider myself blessed to live here and to be able to experience such beauty.