Skyline Divide is a very popular trail, although most people just go 2 miles to the ridge and do not continue onto the divide. Eric and I began our day late at 7am after spending the night in my car at the trailhead. This is late by my standard, but no the rest of the hiking world. We were the only ones walking at that time. The trail begins climbing through a forest of silver firs for about 2 miles. There trail is very well maintains and most of it is extremely wide. As the trees thin out more and more wildflowers adorn the ground. Then we broke out of the trees into the wildflowers meadows with Mt Baker’s incredible massive devouring the skyline. The clouds and mist covers most of the other ranges visible from the ridge on a clearer day, but the scenery was spectator… and we would get to walk through it for about 2.5 miles!

The trail turns left and follows the ridge up and down a series of knolls causing a significant gain and loss in elevation pattern. Some knolls have a trail that goes right over then and a trail that skirts of side. Your choice. However, there is a much more critical junction at 3.5 miles marked by a large carins, but no sign. We were looking for this junction but did not see the trail to the right that we were supposed to take at the carin. Instead we went left and descended for a bout .25 mile toward a basin until I was convinced we’d missed the turn. We went back to the carin and saw that there was a trail on the right, but it as very rocky and disguised. We took the right trail and continue up and down knolls until we crossed a tiny snowfield and ascended the sixth and final knoll known as the Skyline Divide. Mt Baker was coming in and out of the clouds at this point and the views lovely even with the intermittent mist. We had lunch here and lingered before descending.

Now we encountered and endless parade of people, especially where the trail goes back into the forest. It was getting warm so we were happy to be under the cover of the trees again. At the TH the parking lot we were greeted by a full parking lot and cars lining the side of the road as well. This is why we start so early. Lovely hike!

 

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