In the highland-hiking off-season here in Pacific Northwest Stateside, it is good to have places that tide one over until the seemingly infinite number of trails open up come summer. See previous article: Winter Hiking… for a primer.
One of the trails, for me, that never disappoints, Baker River, really has it all; especially if you can catch it on a sunny day.
There is lush old growth for the majority of the 2.5 miles. A turquoise river, several drinkable (stay tuned for that post) creek crossings, and a couple of waterfalls accompany the quiet traveler. Snow capped peaks glow in the distance as you navigate the many twists and turns.
Even the drive is gorgeous.
The colorful low elevation trail, often a blend of blanketing snow and patchy forest ground, is not too steep, never muddy, and full of solitude. I could go back again and again enjoying the ever changing conditions as late fall gives over to white winter and winter thaws to make way for spring growth.
And I do.
I’ve made the 2.5 hour roundtrip three or four times now this so called “off season.” This is where my wife and I differ in our perspective. If left to my own devices, I love to revisit the same winners. Repeats require less planning, involve less unknowns (like the lunch, tent, or meditation spot), and offer opportunities for noticing new things.
My wife likes to try new things. Go checkout a perfect example on her blog post “You’re never too old to fly” It is thanks to her adventurous spirit, that we have found some real gems, including a couple that are currently on my top 5 best hikes ever list. Not to mention the flying trapeze!
Still, if home is where the heart is, then I will keep returning to this one:
So, its a “win-win” as far as I am concerned!