Monday, February 22, 2010

Sun poisoning in Seattle

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I have been feeling a little antsy lately and knowing that it was about time to head up into the woods. I was supposed to go a few weekends ago but I had a really busy week at work and did not have a chance to pack during the week. Well this past week was really busy too but I made myself head down to the garage and pack up my gear Friday after I got home at 7:00pm. Luckily I have been pre planning trips lately so all I had to do was print out a map and load a little info into the GPS and I was ready to head out the door.

I had been thinking about getting out for quite a while and the original plan was to try the Alaska Lake trip that I bailed on last time when I was not feeling so well. So, all week I was thinking I was going to head out there and then Friday I pulled up the weather report and it said warm and bluebird skies all weekend. Hmmmm, I had Artist Point on my list of winter camping spots and the view was why it was there. So, after a quick change of plan I printed out a different map, reloaded the GPS with the new destination.

The trip was pretty easy. Getting there was a snap. You just head up to Mt Baker upper parking lot, tell them you are staying overnight and head up with no passes or parking fees required. I walked on the edge of the ski resort the first mile and then had around 2 miles up to my campsite. I was snowshoeing in a tshirt it was so warm. Ahhhhh, I sure did miss the sun!!

Words cannot describe the scenery up there. I have to say that the Mt Baker area is one of the top 5 prettiest places I have ever been. As you climb you have a view of Mt Shuksan off to the left, a few huge back country ski bowls off to the right and as you begin to crest the ridge Mt Baker comes into view. Even though the ski resort is close by I could not really tell and felt as though I should have had to work much harder to make it to this place.

I got to my campsite around 2pm and started digging in. After a few scoops of snow I was so warm the tshirt even had to come off!! So after I dug my campsite into the side of the hill and was satisfied that I had everything all leveled off I setup camp, dug out some snacks, pulled my sleeping pad out into the sun and read my book for a few hours.

Eventually I put the book away and decided I would head up to Artist Point (a few hundred feet up the hill from my campsite) and see the view from there.

I discovered a few other people camped out up on top of the point and was happy to have my campsite all to myself.

I spent the afternoon reading, watching snowshoers and skiers head down the distant peaks and came to the conclusion that I have to quit thinking about getting a back country setup and just do it. I cannot imagine a better weekend than heading in a few miles to camp out and then mixing in a few ski runs.

Sunday I woke up to a carbon copy of Saturday. Blue skies and mid 40s. I was planning to snowshoe a little and explore but decided to repeat Saturday by dragging my sleeping pad outside, building up a snow recliner to set my pad in, and read my book. I took it easy in the sun for 3-4 hours before packing up and heading home.

I felt a little woozy the whole drive home and all night which I think was minor sun poisoning. Or maybe my body just forgot what to do with vitamin D. Either way I have a little tan and feel like all of the stress has been burned out of me. I can't wait to get back up to the mount baker area with some ski gear next time.

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