The 30 hour journey down from Haida Gwaii was surprisingly easy (especially compared to being diverted 500 km by forest fires on my drive up).
I woke up in a forest in Southern BC. Had a flat tire, got my bike tire stolen while I went to get a tow truck, and then had mild issues at the border because of the veggies I thought I could bring through (I could, but only because I hit it off with my border guard talking about my recent trip to the Middle East – who would have thought?). After a long but overall seamless day (you should ALWAYS travel with AAA/CAA/AMA for this reason, so having a flat tire is a small issue easily fixed!), I arrived in Washington.
Didn’t make it to the base of Mt Baker until an hour before sunset, but after 2 long travel days I was very motivated to do this 4-6 hour hike. I sprinted up the path past groups heading back to their cars giving funny looks to the solo hiker heading into the darkening woods.
Hike to Coleman Glacier/Heliotrope Ridge/Hogsback Ridge
My confidence is high. The map says there are a few creeks to cross but I hop over them easily, stone to stone. Silly Americans. These aren’t even worth mentioning!As everything changes colour in the twilight, I reach what they meant. Not so much a creek as a raging river. Rapids fall steeply in the fast current, for sure ready to wash me away. Someone has strung a loose plastic rope across, a hilarious practical joke that would end in certain death (or at least maiming). Defeated, I wander to a wildflower meadow and eat my trail dinner watching the glacier turn pink, then turn back to the fork that leads to the “climbers route”. I’d ignored it on the way, but figure now I might as well go see the climbing wall, maybe I’ll come back one day with friends and climb here so I’ll scope it out. Turns out it’s not a climbing wall but a route for people not afraid of heights – it actually leads to an even HIGHER glacier than the one I couldn’t reach on the impassable river!
Mountain chains as far as the eye can see, sunset over the peaks, I am in Heaven. I hike back in the dark and flop into my car, so grateful I’d stopped earlier on the grizzly road in to set my tent up in the most secluded roadside pullout I’d seen. My car bobs over the potholes and around the boulders back to the “campsite”, and I happily roll out my mat and fall into bed, exhausted by my sprint up the mountain but feeling so grateful to have arrived. Bye Haida Gwaii. Hey new American nature adventures.