I came to know only on Thursday that I would be free on Saturday for an outing. There were snowshoe hikes to places I wanted to go and as expected most of them were filled up. Snowshoeing to Artist point was one of them and I had been wanting to go to this on a sunny day from a long time. I messaged the organizer regarding my interest and told him that I am ok even if I was informed an hour before the start time. He messaged me at 1.30 AM on Saturday that a lady might be able to drive me and that lady might message early in the morning. Gladly she messaged at 6:10 AM and also called me shortly after my alarm. I got ready quickly and carpooled with her.
We started with the drive and first we went to watch some bald eagles on the Nooksack River from the Mosquito Bridge. We had already seen an eagle during the drive and saw one near the bridge too. The white bald head was distinctive. We also could see some large fishes down in the water. We then started to drive towards Mt Baker ski area and it was around 12 by the time we reached the trailhead. The trail to Artist point is close to the ski routes and it was surprising to see some ski marks on the steep sections of mountains. We put on the snowshoes and wore them for the entire hike. The views started delighting us soon and the near clear sky made it all the more awesome. It wasn’t much cold even though we were at 4.5k+ feet elevation which was very surprising to me. I finished the entire hike by hardly blowing my nose.
Mt Shuksan was highlight of the hike for me. With multiple snow covered pointed summits, it displayed its beauty majestically and I thoroughly loved the sights. Most of the hike was in an open snowfield, so it felt like being amidst a playground. There was abundance of fresh snow everywhere. We saw some interesting formations on tree at the artist point. Hard snow had accumulated on the trees on side where the trees had tried to block the snow wind. There were wavy formations on the ground too. Views all around were fantastic with Mt Baker, Table Mountain and Shuksan in the sight. En route we saw people involved in stunts with their skateboards which were cool. We then hiked to Huntoon point which took us very close to Shuksan. We had our lunch there and spent some quality time. My toes started getting cold due to snow over my shoes and I wanted to get to car as soon as possible. My carpool driver wanted to get back before dark, so I followed her running at few places. I felt so good whenever I walked on fresh snow making my marks. Stepping on the soft snow felt soft even in the mind. Enjoying with whatever I could, we finished the snowshoe hike and started driving back. It was a good decision to return soon since we had to drive on snow roads and it got dark soon. A yet another fantastic snowy day in Washington.
1st Jan 2018:
Hoping to start the new year again with a hike, 4 of us decided to hike Artist Point. There was some clouds in the forecast due to which I was initially hesitant but nonetheless agreed to go. We started from home at 6:40 AM and saw the mesmerizing super moon en-route. There were still some clouds by the time we reached the trailhead. We wore our snowshoes and started our hike with amazing views like last time. Most of the clouds cleared out within sometime and we had unobstructed views of all the mountains around. The snow was so soft and beautiful to experience and my friend compared it to cake. Since it was the first day of the year, people had engraved 2018 by various means, one had went far to engrave it from his pee. I engraved my own little 2018 from my hiking pole and had a cake cutting.
We spent ample of time after lunch observing the valley on other side, cracking jokes and listening to old hindi songs. I had slight ankle pain while descending but nothing to worry about. We went to the cafe and sat sipping hot chocolate facing majestic Mt Shuksan. We again saw the super moon while returning and the return drive was fun too. It was a fantastic start of the year.