Artist Ridge

This was a trip I was invited on by Karl who was a member of the Maple Ridge Outdoors Club (RMOC).
He was allowed to bring one free member a year and he asked me. That was quite an honor.
The trip was going to be a snowshoe hike to Artists Point by Mount Baker ski resort in the US.
I met them at the border and off we went.

The drive to Baker.

At the upper Baker Resort parking lot.

Putting on the snow shoes and where we will by heading.
Ron is making sure every one sees the sign.

The first part was up a steep hill and you would have thought this was the
Gold Rush Trail in Skagway, Alaska and we were all heading to the Yukon Gold fields.

Nearing the top I stopped for a rest and took a few pictures of the surrounding area.

I had no idea where we were going and just followed the line of snowshoers from the club.

The fairly nice weather started to change as the clouds floated in and it was getting hard to see any distance.

The group decided to try and find a sheltered dip some where in case the wind started picking up.
It was starting to get colder by the minute.

We stopped in a wind swale and had a bite to eat well waiting to see if the clouds would lighten up.

No such luck, it was socking in even thicker and starting to snow so we headed back.

It was snowing pretty hard now and I decided to hang back and take some pictures.
They were not very far ahead but visibility was getting very poor.

I also wanted to stay back to make sure every one was heading out but it really
wasn't necessary because there was a good deep snowshoe track to follow.

Unfortunately though there were other tracks from other hikers and skiers and by now it had snowed so much
that the trail we had made was part of a network of lines in the snow.
Our leader Dolly was not sure if we were on the right one so we stopped while she and Karl scouted ahead.
Karl went up and she followed keeping him and us in sight so he would not loose us.
Karl spotted the ski area from above and waved us on.

It started to clear about then and you could look down the valley on our left.
I thought we were a little more to the left when we came in but not that far.

Soon we got to the steep hill that we originally came up.
This was the fun part. There was slipping and sliding and some good tumbles.
All the fun things when in snow.

We all got down and no pride was hurt or injuries came of it but good clean fun.

We lined up and Dolly did a head count to make sure no one was missing and all were present.

There were avalanche training courses by the ski slopes so I took a few pictures of them learning a very good skill if
traveling during Winter in the mountains.

A ski patrol guy stopped us to ask what the conditions were like up higher.
When he heard it is almost white out conditions he then started to question us about safety gear.
Some of us had beacons and probes but most of us did not so we all got a little lecture about that.
None of us had shovels and he tore a strip out of us for that.
"What if you got stuck for the night and needed shelter"!

Then we got to a small ski hill where some borders were waiting their turn on the run well others glided past us.
Near the bottom there was another hill further over that had skiers on it.

All to soon the trip was over and we were on our way back home.
It was a little tricky driving and taking these pictures but I slowed way down to almost a stop for each one.
There was no traffic behind me and the road was not slippery.

It was a very fun trip and I would do it again.
The trip was only 3 to 4 hours long and we never made it to Artists Point where ever it was.
The company was great and our leader was cautious enough when the weather changed.
I was never worried and a compass or GPS would not help if going right or left a few feet got you down into something you could not get out of.
The terrain we traveled had no cliffs near it and that one deep valley which had a fairly gentle slope leading into it could have been a problem if we got down there.
The visibility a little lower down was excellent. We just ended up in a bad cloud. The weather cleared when looking back up there as I drove away.