My friend Keith recently posted a video clip of him hiking to Park Butte last weekend. When I saw his view of Mount Baker from the lookout tower, I was immediately hooked. I got some info from Keith and did the hike the very following weekend.
The weather forecast was said to be partly sunny in the national park area, but when we arrived it was a different story. Many cars were parked in the temporary parking area, two miles before the actual trailhead. There were a few snowmobilers but they all soon passed us by once we started hiking. With the number of cars parked in the lot, I was surprised not seeing anyone on the trail.
I kept my fingers crossed for sun at some point, but more and more clouds rolled in with no intention of dissipating any time soon. The usual trail would have followed Rocky Creek up through the meadow, but we ended up scrambling to the right of the ridge just east of the creek and came out at the head of the creek. Once in the meadow, we were completely drenched in clouds, the minimum visibility made the hike uneventful.
We followed the GPS closely and eventually navigated our way through a blanket of clouds to the east ridge of Park Butte. From there it was a straight shot to the lookout area. Nearby ridges would go in and out of the clouds along the way, it was mirage-like and rather creepy. Microspikes alone provided enough traction the entire way, bought snowshoes along just in case.
Lookout tower was strategically situated for the magnificent view of Mount Baker. Although we got no views, we hung out in the tower the entire time. It was the first lookout tower we were able to get inside, the others I’ve been to were all padlocked. We spend enough time to eat and take pictures before we headed back down. The parked cars didn’t seem to have moved an inch since the morning. Where was everyone?