Local Adventures: Artist Ridge

The last time I had a chance to visit the North Cascades was in the summer of 2009. It was clouded over, with no views. So visiting Artist Point, at Mount Baker, on a sunny day is a treat.

Mt. Baker sit s a few ridges over from Artist Point, but is huge in the sky. It is a relatively easy hike to walk out from Artist Point to the closer ridge (but save it for a sunny day, not a white out!).

The Artist Ridge Lollipop hike takes off from the parking lot (go to the far left for the paved accesible trail). The paved trail goes up to a lookout, that has a viewing area. If the snow is gone (and it was), it is a short walk/push to some amazing views. The main trail takes off. It isn’t long, nor steep, and is graveled – but does go up and over a few short hills, with lots of steps. However, the views never falter. Mount Shuksan rises even closer than Baker.

When my oldest son was little, we lived up North, on an island. Hwy 542 from Bellingham, to the Mount Baker Ski Resort was our weekly hiking area for 2 summers. It was close in, and the hiking was amazing. I took a break while I hiked with our two youngest sons, and had a moment of reflection about those years. I took Ford nearly everywhere I went. As a single mom who wanted to hike, I had little choice. So he became my shadow. I started him on easy trails like this at 3 years of age. It’s a bit different many years later. I don’t push my younger kids like I did him. To them, this was a real hike. And so it has become that for me. The youngest getting diagnosed with allergy related Asthma was the final nail in that dream.

Speaking of the boys….they were loving the rocks with iron content. I’m learning so much hiking with these two – they want to stop and look at everything. And that is OK.

In a few weeks, this tarn might be dry. It depends on the year, or how soon winter comes. Summer is a very short time here.

The views up here are 360 and pretty amazing. You can see all the way to Baker Lake in the distance. Even Canada, ay 😉

The second tarn is a must to see. You can continue on and climb higher up, or walk a bit around the tarn, and take the loop back down. There is one section coming back to keep a hand on small kids, otherwise the whole hike is laid back for kids.

So yes, nearly the whole hike your view is either Baker, or Shuksan. Not a bad thing.

After we hiked, we drove down to Heather Meadows and explored the Bagley Lakes area, under Table Mountain.

However, the real win here was the wild berries. Heather Meadows often has berries ripe in mid August, well before other places. The low growing wild blueberry is above.

Walker ignoring the beauty….and picking like a bear.

The blue huckleberry.

Wild blueberries.

And yes, more wild blueberries. Some may claim that huckleberries and blueberries are the same, and no, they are not. There is a huge difference in plants, as well as the berries (huckleberries are shiny, and the seeds more prominent). They often grow near each other as well. Either way, they keep the kids happy for a very long time. The mosquitoes finally drove them out as the day heated up!