The Rambling Writer Hikes on the Eve of the Equinox

On the tipping point between summer and autumn, Thor, Bear dog, and I hike on the skirts of a moody mountain, with clouds and sun breaks.

We’re heading out in a few days for a return to the Greek islands– research for my novel-in-progress, and possibly a “redo” of the summer month we lost in the Pacific Northwest to wildfire smoke and then dampening weeks of rain. (We’re still incredibly lucky compared to what folks in other parts of the country have been experiencing, best wishes to them.) We wanted a taste of the mountains before we flew out, so a hike to Mount Baker’s Chain Lakes gave us a cloudy, brisk preview of autumn, with some warming sun breaks.

Mount Shuksan, viewed from the trailhead, was sporting fresh snow (after all the rain in the lowlands, not surprising) and not looking too welcoming as we set out:

Ditto for Mount Baker, hidden in the clouds past the talus slope trail:

But we were all very happy with our sighting of a young black bear who popped out of the huckleberry bushes, gave us a calm scrutiny, and ambled off. No sign of mama bear, but we didn’t linger. Our Bear dog was Very interested to meet one of his namesakes, but also very well behaved, and sat quietly watching beside us. I didn’t manage to get a photo, but s/he was a bit bigger than this cub and just as cute: (public domain,

Then at the junction with Ptarmigan Ridge Trail, we headed downhill toward the first lake, Mazama.

A glimpse of Table Mountain above us as the clouds started shifting for some blue sky:

Our favorite boggy spot to listen to the burbling stream and admire the lush plants while Bear dog cools off:

And on to Iceberg Lake — unfortunately aptly named this day. Usually I can’t be kept out of the water, but was it just too darned chilly for my usual plunge.

On to our picnic spot on the other side of this outcrop at Hayes Lake:

The clouds were breaking up as we headed back.

And Mt. Baker, snow-covered year round, was peeking down at us.

By the time we got back to the trailhead, Mt. Shuksan was basking in sunshine. A lovely image of home to carry with us, as we’re now back to the gray Bellingham rain.

Stay tuned for a new blog series from the Greek islands — with more antiquities and historical tidbits!


You will find The Rambling Writer’s blog posts here every Saturday. Sara’s latest novel from Book View Cafe is available in print and ebook: The Ariadne Connection.  It’s a near-future thriller set in the Greek islands. “Technology triggers a deadly new plague. Can a healer find the cure?”  The novel has received the Chanticleer Global Thriller Grand Prize and the Cygnus Award for Speculative Fiction. Sara is now returning for another research trip in Greece as she works on the sequel, The Ariadne Disconnect. Sign up for her quarterly email newsletter at




The Rambling Writer Hikes on the Eve of the Equinox — 10 Comments

      • I was noticing the colours too—and the sharpness of the images. What kind of camera do you use, and do you use any special lenses or filters?

        I am in awe of the landscape. Mountains are a world of their own…

        • Hi, Zena,
          and thanks for joining us. The hilarious thing is that these days I’m mostly using my iphone for photos, as they look better than the ones with my camera. I thought about getting a polarizing filter, but have not done anything special so far. Just being in beautiful places!

          • Wow. I would not have guessed any of those were iphone photos! We’ve taken some wonderful shots with ours, but the clarity on yours is SLR-quality. Well, I suppose it really is true that one can’t take a bad picture in the mountains…

  1. Yes, autumn light has a kind of melancholy feel to me. Sara and I are very lucky to be able to travel from one magical place, i.e. home, to another one in the Greek Isles.