5 W h a t c o m C o u n t y L o c a t i o n s To S e r v e Yo u ! Ferndale Labounty Rd. 380-4660
Lynden Birch Bay-Lynden Rd. 354-1446
2 Mount Baker Experience â€˘ Summer 2011
Bellingham James St. 733-7620
Bellingham Meridian St. 671-4042
Bellingham Irongate Rd. 752-0799
Hiking the low ones A lingering snowpack means your first hikes of the season will be at lower elevations.
Eat well, eat often For the sake of your wallet and your health, check out the farmers markets in the area.
Hiking Washington’s history Judy Bentley wanted to know more about the history of the land where she treks. So will you.
A toot from the past Frank Culp has a thing about old trains. He likes to own them.
10 The battle for Galbraith On one side stands the loggers. On the other side rides the bicyclists.
14 Try a stinging nettle salad Jennifer Hahn goes all out for her dinner. All outside, that is.
18 To boldly go where ... Molly Baker and friends take on Mt. Shuksan.
20 Small camera, big results Mark Turner offers photo tips for professional-looking shots.
23 Regional map
Cover photo: Brad Walton
This is where it all HAPPENS ...
e perience MOUNT BAKER
Printed in Canada Vol XXV No. 3
Address: 225 Marine Drive,Blaine,WA 98230 Tel: 360/332-1777, Fax: 360/332-2777 Email: email@example.com Next edition: September Ads due: August 17 Publisher Patrick Grubb Co-Publisher/Advertising Manager Louise Mugar Managing Director Kathy McGee Ad & Cover Design Charlie Hagan,Ruth Lawless Staff Writers Tara Nelson,Jeremy Schwartz, Carissa Wright Contributors Molly Baker,Gene Davis,Sam Lozier, Mark Turner,Brad Walton Advertising Sales Molly Ernst,Janet McCall, April Miles Office Manager Carissa Wright
Photo by Gene Davis
Welcome to the Mount Baker Experience,the quarterly recreation guide for and about the Mt.Baker area,published by Point Roberts Press,Inc. Locally owned and operated,the company also publishes The Northern Light,All Point Bulletin,Pacific Coast Weddings and Waterside in Blaine,Washington.Point Roberts Press is a member of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association,chambers of commerce in Whatcom County and the Bellingham/Mt. Baker Convention and Visitors Bureau. The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and are offered for the general interest of readers.We welcome your letters; however,the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the editor.For circulation and rate information, or to send your letters,please address to:Mount Baker Experience,225 Marine Drive,Blaine,WA 98230, fax them to 360/332-2777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
find it online Calendar of events for all things Mt.Baker: www.mountbakerexperience.com www.mountbakerexperience:Read the current and past issues of MountBakerExperience.
www.mtbakerchamber.org,www.glacierchamber.org:Discover the area’s businesses. www.weather.com:Get all the weather you need. www.wsdot.wa.gov/regions/northwest/traffic/bordercams:Info on border delays.
Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011 3
Hiking the low ones
Story & photos by Sam Lozier
Scenic to Class V
Day Trips • Half Day Trips • Package Trips “Quality taken to the extreme”
1-800-413-6840 • 360-599-3115 www.wildandscenic.com 4 Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011
This winter’s heavy snowfall has been followed by an unusually cold and wet spring. For those who love hiking high up in the alpine, this comes as a disappointment. Though there is no substitute for a long hike on a sunny day in the North Cascades, these suggestions should help keep you busy while you wait for the snow to melt. Pine and Cedar Lakes (Chuckanut Mountain) It can be tempting to take the Chuckanuts for granted: They’re not particularly tall, they don’t have any glaciers and you won’t meet any mountain goats on the high points. What the Chuckanuts lack in majesty, however, they make up for in proximity to town, favorable weather and tremendous San Juan views. Whether you’ve got a full day or an afternoon, the steep hike up to Pine and Cedar Lakes is a great introduction to the Chuckanuts. Park at the trailhead off of Samish Drive and follow the well-signed trail as it climbs steeply 1,300 feet up through the woods toward the lakes. From Cedar Lake, follow the spur trail to an overlook that offers views of the San Juans and Mt. Baker. If you enjoy fishing, you might consider packing your gear up to
the lakes; they’re both full of healthysized trout. Fly fishermen will want to bring some type of float tube or raft, as the heavily wooded bank makes a back cast all but impossible. Overnight camping is allowed at the lakes, and if you’re looking to get out of town for the night, introduce the family to backpacking or just enjoy a little seclusion, the lakes are a beautiful and peaceful place to do so. The lakes are also a great place for a mid-hike swim later in the summer when the water warms up. Oyster Dome/the Bat Caves This longer and more strenuous hike near Larrabee State Park is a popular weekend day hike, and for good reason. After a long climb through the woods past waterfalls, moss-covered logs and f leeting glimpses of the bay below, hikers are rewarded with an amazing clifftop panorama of the San Juans. On the way up, the trail to Oyster Dome passes a few interesting spots. The first, a thought-provoking rock outcropping more than 1,000 feet above sea level, has scarring across the top from when glaciers passed over it during the last ice age. The second point of interest is the Bat Caves. The caves aren’t really caves at all, but a massive pile of boulders that have fractured off Oyster Dome over the years. The
s Katharine Mancini and Chester on the way to Cedar Lake.
A fan palm fossil is evidence of global warming in an earlier time. caves are a great spot to rest on the way to the top. Theyâ€™re also a lot of fun to crawl through and explore for their own sake. Signage on these trails is poor, so youâ€™ll want to take a map. Oyster Dome and the Bat Caves can be accessed by parking along Chuckanut Drive near milepost 10 or by parking at the hang glider lookout on Blanchard Mountain. Canyon Lake Park The hikes at Canyon Lake Park are less known than the previous two. The park is farther from Bellingham and currently quite challenging to access. However, if you can endure the 5.5-mile road approach, youâ€™ll be rewarded with one of Whatcom Countyâ€™s finest and infrequently visited natural areas. The park was established in the early 2000s to protect the oldest known stand of old growth forest in the state of Washington. The 600-acre stand holds trees 800 to 1,000 years old and is managed jointly by the Whatcom County parks department and Western Washington University. The Whatcom Land Trust holds the conser-
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s Solitude and rushing waters.
vation easement that protects the park and ensures the land will never be developed. In addition to accessing the old growth forest the park was established to protect, the trails at Canyon Lake climb steeply to dramatic ridgetop views of Mt. Baker and the Twins range to the east and the Nooksack Valley to the west. At the lower elevation end of the park, the lake loop trail circles the steep-sided namesake of the park while providing dramatic views of waterfalls cascading into the lake. Canyon Lake Park is at a higher elevation than the Chuckanuts and has received a lot of snow this year. It will take several more weeks before all of the hikes in the park are snowfree, though the lake loop is already clear. Directions to the park can be found on the parks department website. Be warned though, the access road has been cut off by a washout and is now gated off at the base of the mountain. Just getting to the park requires 5.5 miles of hiking or mountain biking (recommended) along logging roads. Mount Baker Experience â€˘ Summer 2011 5
Farmers Markets The local food movement has hit the Northwest good and hard much to the pleasure of its residents and visitors. Following is just a sample of farmers markets north and south of the border. Check these and others out â€“ your familyâ€™s nutritional satisfaction and your wallet will both benefit!
Anacortes Farmers Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Depot Arts Center 7th & R 360/293-7922 www.anacortesfarmersmarket.org
Mt. Vernon Saturday Farmers Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Gates & Main 360/540-4066 www.mountvernonfarmersmarket.org
Bellingham Farmers Market Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Railroad & Chestnut 360/647-2060 www.bellinghamfarmers.org
Mt. Vernon Wednesday Farmers Market Wednesdays, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Skagit Valley Hospital 360/540-4066 www.mountvernonfarmersmarket.org
Fairhaven Farmers Market Wednesdays, noon to 5 p.m. Village Green in Fairhaven 360/647-2060 www.bellinghamfarmers.org Blaine Gardeners Market Second and fourth Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. H Street Plaza 360/332-8082 Concrete Farmers Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Concrete Senior Center 360/856-2093 Deming Gardeners Market Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Il Caffe Rifugio 5415 Mount Baker Highway 360/592-2888
s Fresh food and smiles â€“ two good reasons
Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market Wednesdays, 3 to 7 p.m. Ferry & Metcalf streets 360/202-7311 www.sedrowoolleyfarmersmarket.com Abbotsford Farm and Country Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Montrose Ave. and George Ferguson Way 604/996-1542 www.abbotsfordfarmandcountry market.com Trout Lake Farmers Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. John Hendry Park, Vancouver www.eatlocal.org
Ferndale Farmers Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Riverwalk Park 360/384-3042
White Rock Farmers Market Sundays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Miramar Village Plaza White Rock 604/897-3276 www.whiterockfarmersmarket.ca
Lynden Gardeners Market First and third Thursdays, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Living Fountain Fellowship 1105 Loomis Trail Road
Ladner Village Market Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Delta and Elliott Streets 604/946-8590 www.ladnervillagemarket.com
to frequent your local farmers market!
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6 Mount Baker Experience â€˘ Summer 2011
1706 Mt. Baker Hwy. Bellingham, WA 360.734.3000
Samish Bay Bivalve Bash
Hiking Washingtonâ€™s History
By Carissa Wright
By Tara Nelson
Oyster shells the world over can only dream of becoming such art. Give local shells that chance at the worldâ€™s only Oyster Shell Sculpture Contest, part of the ninth annual Samish Bay Bivalve Bash. The contest will be held July 16 on the beach at Taylor Shellfish Farms, 2182 Chuckanut Drive. The contest is limited to 15 teams. Advanced registration is encouraged and available online. Each team consists of one primary artist and up to two assistants, who will start constructing their sculptures on the beach at 10 a.m. and have until 1:15 p.m. to finish their creations. The rules are simple. Artists may use only oyster shells, and the sculptureâ€™s footprint must remain within the boundary created by a piece of rope 32 feet long. Taylor Shellfish Farms will have in excess of 40,000 oyster shells on hand for construction. Judging will begin at 1:20 p.m., and winners will be announced at 2:30 p.m. from the Bivalve Bandstand. The incoming tide that evening will reach and cover the sculptures, creating Andy Goldsworthy-type video and photo opportunities. High tide (8.6) is at 8:01 p.m.
s Have an oyster or two! The public is invited to view the artistic process from 10 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and finished castles from 2:30 p.m. until the tide comes in. Entry to the Bivalve Bash is $5; kids 6 and under are free. The Samish Bay Bivalve Bash benefits the clean water education programs of the Skagit Conservation Education Alliance. The Bivalve Bash features a Low Tide Mud Run (12:07 p.m.), activities for all ages, shellfish-centric food, a beer garden, a kidsâ€™ beach and live music by The Atlantics. For a list of activities, menu and information on the Bivalve Bash, visit www.bivalvebash.com or call 206/612-2761. Register online at: www.active. com/more-sports/ bow-wa/oyster-shell-sculpturecontest-2011.
S Totally caked with mud and happy about it. Photos by Jon Rowley
Anyone who has ever hiked in the North Cascades might have found themselves at Ladies Pass wondering who Mary, Alice and Margaret Lakes are named after, or why beat writers such as Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder spent so much time in a fire lookout on Desolation Peak. These answers, along with the historical narratives behind many other Northwest trails, can be found in Seattle author Judy Bentleyâ€™s new book â€œHiking Washingtonâ€™s Historyâ€? (University of Washington Press, 2010). Bentley, an avid hiker and teacher at South Seattle Community College, provides a fascinating look at many favorite Washington trails ranging from easy day hikes to more difficult multi-day backpacking routes. â€œHiking Washingtonâ€™s Historyâ€? combines trail maps, photographs and historical narratives of 40 trails across the state including Iron Goat Trail near Stevens Pass, Desolation Peak in eastern Skagit County and Cascade Pass to Steheiken. Another highlight is the 2,000-year-old Klikitat Trail, which was used by the Yakama tribe as a thoroughfare to trade with coastal tribes. The book also provides some of Bentleyâ€™s personal experiences on the trail. Bentley began hiking at a young age with her family. One of their first trips was a late-spring hike to Cape Flattery on Washingtonâ€™s Olympic Peninsula â€“ an experience that stayed with her through adult life, later motivating her to move here from Indiana in 1981.
But it wasnâ€™t until a guided hike through a former coal mining area near Newcastle more than two decades later that Bentley was inspired to write a book. She was fascinated by the region and curious to know who had been on the trail before, what the story was and if it had any importance to local history. Newcastle was once a flourishing coal mining area that developers thought would become the next Pittsburgh of the north. Today, the area is hardly distinguishable from any other wooded area, with the exception of oddly shaped hills made of piles of waste from the mines, holes where air shafts once
were or signs on trees that read â€œlocomotive turntable.â€? â€œAs someone who moved out here fairly recently, itâ€™s amazing to meet and talk with people whose roots are so deep, and itâ€™s quite humbling to realize the attachment to place that some people have â€“ especially those who are descendants of people who had been here for thousands of years,â€? she said. Bentley has written biographies on Desmond Tutu, Harriet Tubman, Fidel Castro and U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day Oâ€™Connor, among others. For more information on Bentley or her books, visit her website at www.judybentley.com.
Family Fun or serious Fitness and Competition
Serving Whatcom for 40 years Where Quality Pays Dividends
Open 7 days a week s TH 3T &AIRHAVEN
12th Annual Deming Log Showâ€™s July 9th & 10th, 2011
From Hills to Mills Woodworking & Craft Show
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Saturday: 9am to 6pm â€˘ Sunday: 10am to 5pm *Live Auction Saturday & Sunday @ 4pm* RV Parking available for the weekend Vendors fee $40 for the weekend
The Deming Log Show Grounds
3295 Cedarville Road 2 Bellingham, WA www.demingloggingshow.com For more information contact: Frank & Angie (360) 599-2408 2 Maxine (360) 815-7566 2 Jerry (360) 599-3365 Mount Baker Experience â€˘ Summer 2011 7
A Glimpse of the past Story and photos by Sam Lozier Halfway between the Mt. Baker Highway and Highway 20 along Route 9 is a faded sign depicting a two-man rail handcart above the words “Lake Whatcom Railway.”
Tucked in the woods behind that sign, in what looks like a barn, stands a 100-year-old steam locomotive and several 100-year-old passenger cars.
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8 Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011
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Open 7am-10pm Everyday • www.crossroadsgrocery.com At the crossroads of Mt. Baker Highway & Silver Lake Rd. 7802 Silver Lake Road in Maple Falls 360-599-9657
Since boyhood, Frank Culp, the founder and owner of the Lake Whatcom Railway, has been fascinated by trains. As he reached high school in the 1960s, most of the steam locomotives still in service were being replaced, and many of the passenger lines were being shut down. In that era of fading glory and the rise of the automobile, steam fan clubs began to spring up around the country, and many of the major rail companies offered “last rides” before decommissioning their trains. Culp, an active member in a Seattle-area train enthusiast club, saw an opportunity to preserve a bit of history and began raising money by mowing lawns and garnering the financial support of club members and family. Ultimately, with the help of a loan from the Northwest Glass company, he was able to purchase Engine 1070 from the Northern Pacific Railway. After working for Northern Pacific himself for a number of years, Culp heard that the StrasPlease turn to the next page
Continued from page 8
s The heart of the beast ...
s Frank Culp.
bourg PA Railroad was running “tours to nowhere,” and people were paying to ride. Inspired by its success, Culp left Northern Pacific and founded the Lake Whatcom Railway in the early ’70s. Over the years, Culp’s humble railway has carried tourists from its base of operations in Wickersham up to the eastern end of Lake Whatcom. Despite the loss of some of his track in a land dispute, legislation that prevents the use of the steam engine (trains are now pulled by a diesel locomotive) and a total lack of government subsidies, the railway has managed to survive for more than 30 years on a stream of ticket revenue and the hard work of volunteers. With “steam in his blood,” Peter – a volunteer and Culp’s right-hand man – is happiest when working around Engine 1070. Despite the grease, dirt and constant mainte-
nance headaches, they both exude the joy and pride that comes with maintaining a piece of history while simultaneously living out a boyhood dream. Both profess that though the trains are a lot of work for not a lot of money, they wouldn’t have it any other way. The train now runs on most major holidays and some summer weekends. Riding the trains has become a tradition for many Whatcom County families during the Christmas season, and a growing number of families are now frequenting the Mother’s and Father’s Day trains as well. Whether you need something unique to do with your family, are fascinated by trains or just want to meet a few people who truly love what they’re doing in life, the Lake Whatcom Railway, Frank Culp, and this one-of-a-kind Whatcom County business are not to be missed. For more information, visit Lake Whatcom Railway’s website at www.lakewhatcomrailway.com.
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Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011 9
Photos by Brad Walton
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TheBattle for Galbraith Mountain By Jeremy Schwartz They may call it by different names, but mountain bikers from across the Northwest undoubtedly know the mountain. Some call it Galby; others know it as Lookout Mountain. To many, though, it’s called Galbraith, and it’s the place to be for local and visiting mountain bikers. Since 2002, the Whimps Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC) has been building and maintaining trails on Galbraith and opening up the
mountain’s terrain for mountain bikers to enjoy. Snaking across 3,000 acres of land, the mountain’s 44 miles of trails, including Top of the Towers, 12 Monkeys and Naughty Nellie, provide challenges for both novice and expert riders. Eric Brown, a WMBC trail build leader and volunteer coordinator, said Galbraith is much more popular than Chuckanut and Blanchard mountains, the county’s only other major mountain biking sites. Brown said the people counter at the west gate of Galbraith ticked
off 4,052 entries and exits from April to May. And that was just one side of the hill. Liz Dombrowski, an employee at Kulshan Cycles in Bellingham, said she is a weekly rider of Galbraith’s trails. Her favorite trail tends to change from week to week, but she’s currently enamored with Rock and Roll, which offers tree-shaded riding that does not have many steep climbs. The proximity of Galbraith to her house makes the mountain Dombrowski’s favorite riding des-
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from private donations. Dombrowski said she can think of at least a million reasons for Galbraith to stay open, the least of which being the prime biking the mountain offers to hundreds of riders in the area. As a bike shop employee, she said Galbraith also keeps her employed and able to live in a city she loves. With negotiations between the city, county and Polygon underway, Brown expressed cautious optimism that the deal would ensure continued public access to the mountain. But as mountain bikers from all parts of the Northwest continue to make pilgrimages to Galby, uncertainty remains as to whether the mountain will remain open and inviting to them down the road. To reach Galbraith Mountain from I-5, take exit 246 in Bellingham and head north on Samish Way. Turn right onto Galbraith Lane. Head north on Galbraith Lane until the yellow gates and the kiosk. For more information, visit www.whimpsmtb.org or www. preservegalbraith.org/news.cfm.
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tination in the area. She loves walking out her door and riding to one of the trailheads without using a drop of gasoline. Mountain biking was the reason Dombrowski moved to Bellingham six years ago, and the trails she found on Galbraith, Chuckanut and Blanchard were a major factor in that decision. “(Galbraith) offers a level of outdoor activity that is unparalleled in the area,” Dombrowski said. While Chuckanut and Blanchard are publicly owned, Blanchard is state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land, and Chuckanut is a combination of Bellingham and Whatcom County parks. Galbraith is the only privately owned mountain bike trail system in the county – at least the only one that’s legal. Brown said some industrious mountain bikers have illegally built trails on DNR land near Mt. Baker. “You basically have to know someone to ride (those trails),” he added. Previously, WMBC had a recreational use agreement with longtime Galbraith landowners Trillium Corporation, an agreement that let mountain bikers build trails on the mountain in exchange for WMBC assuming liability if anyone got hurt. This agreement held fast for seven years until Trillium ceded the land to Bow-based Polygon Financial in 2009 and threw the future of public use of Galbraith into jeopardy. After Polygon took control of Galbraith, the company began looking for buyers for the property. Polygon offered the land to the city of Bellingham for $17 million but the
city was unable to pony up that kind of money in the current economic downturn. Near the end of 2010, Polygon land manager Blair Murray wrote the WMBC informing it of their intention to cancel the recreational use agreement because it might have made the land less desirable to potential developers. Had the agreement been cancelled, anyone setting foot on Galbraith would have been trespassing. “At the end of the day, there was not much (WMBC) could do,” Brown said. Hundreds of mountain bikers and other Galbraith loyalists showed up to support continued access to the mountain at an April 17 public forum in Bellingham. Brown said the forum accomplished two goals: It showed Polygon how important Galbraith is to the community, and it allowed Murray to say he wanted to move forward with a deal that would allow the public to access Galbraith in the future. On April 21, Polygon announced the public would still be allowed to access Galbraith, but a deal ensuring long-term access is still up in the air. The city of Bellingham, the county and Whatcom Land Trust are currently in negations with Polygon regarding the purchase of access to the land – but not the land itself – from Polygon for about $5 million. “It’s anything but a done deal,” Brown said. While the price sounds steep, Brown explained the $5 million would buy public access, watershed conservation and sustainable logging on about 600 acres of the land. The public would have access to the remaining 2,400 acres. Brown expects a portion of the $5 million to come
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12 Mount Baker Experience â€˘ Summer 2011
Berries! By Molly Baker It is 7 a.m. and I am sitting in Bellingham’s Old Town Café eating blueberry pancakes. Warm, drizzled in real maple syrup and slightly crispy around the edges, I wish this combination was one of those recommended in the new nutrition guidelines. But without the blueberries, these pancakes just simply wouldn’t be the same. By 7:30 my plate is empty. All of the pancakes are gone and so are the blueberries. For 30 minutes I have been grateful to live in Washington, a place that produces a wealth of blueberries. These thoughts remind me of Cascadian Farm. Located on Highway 20 in Rockport, Cascadian Farm’s roadside stand often has a line out the door serving hungry summer travelers an assortment of fresh fruits and homemade ice cream. In June you can pick your own strawberries. July brings raspberries and by August, the blueberries have arrived. The farm offers frozen berries from last year’s crops, which people can take home for smoothies and other recipes, plus already picked pints of fresh berries ready to buy. The homemade ice cream only contains berries from the farm. Farm managers Jim and Harlyn Meyer have been practicing organic farming together for almost 40 years and they see the 28-acre Cascadian Farm as the ideal location for their mission. “When we moved to Washington from California, we escaped a two-season climate,” Jim says. “Plus, Cascadian Farm was one of the first to develop organic blueberries. We were motivated by the opportunity to be involved in a small, sustainable, roadside business promoting organics.” In 2006, the couple won the Washington Tilth Farmer of the Year award, and their farming has continued to positively impact the community and surrounding areas. “I want to always be involved in the broader community discussion
around creating a local food system,” Jim says. During the summer months Jim is out of bed no later than 6 a.m. Starting off with a strong espresso, his day lasts well into the early evening hours. The two live in a quaint home with a beautiful vegetable garden near Cascadian’s immense strawberry patch. There are others, though, who have given the farm life. First was Gene Kahn, who in 1972 founded the Cascadian Home Farm and practiced organic growing methods from the beginning. Kahn started the farm as a 24-year-old grad school dropout. Then Jim and Harlyn joined the workforce in 1993, and in 1999 General Mills purchased the farm as part of its acquisition of Sedro-Woolley-based Small Planet Foods, a company based in SedroWoolley, that owns other organic brands, such as Muir Glen and Larabar. Thirty-nine years later, Cascadian Farm is still practicing the values instilled before the term organic was even certified by the USDA. These visionaries have given us some of the tastiest fruit in the world. As a native Californian, I thought I knew a good strawberry until I tasted Cascadian’s. My 25th birthday cake included a basket of those small, plump, red berries as the topping. It’s my best birthday memory. The raspberries are perfect for jams, pies, smoothies or just eating alone. And then there are the blueberries. At Cascadian Farm, visitors have more than just one type of blueberry to choose from: Spartan, Toro, Patriot, Blue Crop and Jersey berries form the rows, ranging from large and sweet to medium-size and tart. They all taste good in a pancake. “The beauty of the farm really motivates people to come out here,” Jim says. “By presenting quality, organic berries and you-pick options, it encourages people to get close to their food.” For more information visit www.cascadianfarm.com.
Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011 13
Pacific Feast: Foraging for food and adventures Story by Tara Nelson, photos by Jennifer Hahn
“The distance from blueberries to your mouth is the length of your arm. It doesn’t get any more local than that.” – Jennifer Hahn
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14 Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011
When it comes to eating local, no one does it better than Bellingham resident Jennifer Hahn. In her book, “Pacific Feast: A Cook’s Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cuisine” (Mountaineers Books, 2010), Hahn, a naturalist, wilderness educator and kayak guide, gives a delicious account of the region’s most edible species, many of which grow almost within arm’s reach of the dinner table. Part botanical history, part cookbook and part wilderness adventure tale, Pacific Feast whips up more than 60 delectable recipes with lush, full-color photographs for a feast brimming with the natural abundance of the Northwest. The recipes were created by Hahn and several well-known coastal chefs and range from simple to exotic. Common stinging nettles are blanched and pureed with parmesan, hazelnuts and olive oil for a flavorful pesto or layered between noodles for green lasagna. Oyster mushrooms are torn, dredged in cornmeal, fried and served along with mustardroasted Yukon gold potatoes and braised bok choy. Even the roots of humble dandelions can be scrubbed, roasted, ground and used to flavor ice cream for a surprisingly rich, coffee-and-molasses flavor. Hahn brings plenty of personal experience to the table with more than 25 years of wilderness travel – among her many adventures, she’s hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from northern California to Canada and kayaked solo from Ketchikan, Alaska to Bellingham, using food from the sea and land to fuel her journey. She is the founder of Elakah Expeditions, which offers sea kayak tours, and also leads guided natural history tours from the Galapagos Islands to Alaska.
MBE: How did you get interested in wild food? Hahn: My love of wild food started growing up with my father. He was a welding teacher at a community college, and every other summer he’d work at a refinery to save enough money to take us on a threemonth long trip. He believed travel was the best education, and we’d try to eat local foods wherever we went.
One year we came out to Seattle, camped out on the coast’s sandy beaches and dug clams. My father was not a gourmet cook – he was a single father of two and the king of casseroles. I remember him pulling into a gas station and asking the attendant how to cook razor clams. The guy told him to clean them, chop them up and throw them in a chowder with some potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper. Those were the first wild clams we’d had. Other times we’d go blueberry picking in Maine or, coming through the Yellowstone area, we’d catch rainbow trout from our canoe and have them for breakfast.
When we lived in northern Wisconsin, we had a neighbor named Florence Engelbretson, who was an old-world forager. She would show up at our cabin with lichen in her hair and moss on her sweater and ask me to join her. We’d stuff our pant legs into our socks to avoid ticks and go looking for slippery jack mushrooms and puffballs. She’d find these giant puffballs that looked like a loaf of bread. We’d clean and slice the puffballs back at her house, fry them in margarine and eat them on Wonder Bread. It was heavenly. When Engelbretson moved into a retirement home in Arizona, she left all her field guides at our cabin. MBE: You wrote this book partly for the plants and animals. Can you explain? Hahn: It was out of my love for the wild plants and animals that I have spent so much time with. My purpose in life, in part, is to help teach people about the plants and animals, and one way to do it was to describe the natural history, the quirky details, the juicy cultural history. A chanterelle mushroom, for example, lives 90 days, so you know if you pick it on day 10, there’s still 80 more days that spores could have been put out. And licorice fern grows under the moss so when you harvest it, you have to very carefully take a bit of the root and make sure you don’t leave a big hole in it. By learning about the ecology, you can teach people to harvest things when they’re bigger or after they’ve put out all their spores. By understanding the role of lady fern, the local oysters or the sea asparagus and by seeing what role those species serve in nature, we can prepare them in a way that is not only delicious but respectful and sustainable. And if I can teach people what these plants need to survive,
theyâ€™ll fall in love with them too. MBE: Can you explain the ethical crisis you had when you started to write this book? Hahn: Right now thereâ€™s a huge tsunami in wild and local foods. The distance between a wild blueberry and your mouth is the length of your arm â€“ it doesnâ€™t get any more local than that. The top chef in the world serves a lot of wild food at his restaurant â€“ in fact, one of his chefs is now at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island â€“ and wild food is the next new thing for restaurants that already serve local foods. With this new public interest can come abuse or overharvesting. There arenâ€™t really guidelines for harvesting wild foods, so I felt compelled to include them in the book. For example, one of the worst things you can do with chanterelles is trample the mycelium, the large underground network underneath the soil because what mushrooms need more than anything else is oxygen. Everytime a footprint packs the ground, it compacts the mycelium the mushrooms need to thrive. There is also a safety aspect. Seaweed and sea vegetables are heavy metal magnets and they also absorb radioactive isotopes, so giving people harvesting guidelines is impor-
tant. People should avoid harvesting less than 50 feet from roadways because, for a long time, people drove cars with leaded gas, and itâ€™s still in the soil. The same with mushrooms or dandelions, you donâ€™t want to pick them in a place where people have sprayed. Pick from either your own backyard or a wilderness area. I also encourage people to start foraging with an expert forager or a native plant society or take classes. I teach several workshops a year for the North Cascades Institute (www.ncascades.org), for example. Also, foragers should pick up a permit. They are free at the U.S. Forest Service office. MBE: What do you mean by â€œpreservation through the palette?â€? Hahn: I didnâ€™t want people to pick up my book and find a recipe for a one-pot wilderness goulash of wild greens and clams and kelp. For that reason, I looked for chefs who could come up with cornmeal encrusted oyster mushrooms, roasted yellow potatoes and braised bok choy. I wanted to find some of the best chefs on the West Coast, ones who were both conscientious and really passionate about food. My father always said shoot for the stars and if you miss, youâ€™ll hit the moon.
I flew to the Bay area and sought out David Tannis, the executive chef at Chez Panisse, which was started by Alice Waters, the founder of the Slow Food movement. Tannis said â€œyes,â€? and gave me his recipe for green lasagna, which layers blanched stinging nettle leaves between noodles. After that, it was easier to get other chefs on board. I found that chefs are some of the busiest people, but they were so generous sharing their recipes. They too felt that sustainable foraging is important. I wanted to keep the book accessible â€“ I tried to take the high-end culinary language some of the chefs use and demystify it for a general audience. The book has some very easy recipes, such as nettle pesto, rosehip soup and spruce tip syrup, but thereâ€™s also a few complicated recipes for people who want more of a challenge. For more information, visit Jennifer Hahn at www.pacificfeast.com or take one of her wild foraging kayak trips through Elakah Expeditions, www.elakah.com.
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Har vesting wild foods â€˘ Show gratitude: Always harvest with respect and gratitude for the plants and animals of this planet. â€˘ Harvest sustainably: When in doubt, use the 1 in 20 rule â€“ donâ€™t remove a plant unless there are at least 20 others. â€˘ Tread lightly: Tread lightly to prevent negative impact to habitat and minimize soil compaction. â€˘ Educate yourself: Learn to identify edible plants, mushrooms, shellfish, and seaweed, as well as poisonous look-alikes in all phases of their life cycle. â€˘ Waste nothing: Take only what you need and can process. â€˘ Be a caretaker: Assess the health of the harvest site before and after foraging. â€˘ Follow the rules: Regulations are designed to prevent overharvesting. Ask permission before harvesting on private land. â€˘ Be careful: Donâ€™t harvest what you canâ€™t identify. â€˘ Share with wildlife: Consider what other creatures might be foraging for the same food. â€˘ Harvest healthy: Avoid diseased or insect-infested sites. During droughts, some plants are best left untouched.
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Contact us today to learn more about this exciting opportunity! Call 360-599-2453 x113 s Jennifer Hahn combines dandelion blossoms with water, sugar and lemon juice to make a tangy-sweet syrup with lemongrass notes. Hahn suggests drizzling it over pancakes, waffles, berries or baklava.
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email@example.com Mount Baker Experience â€˘ Summer 2011 15
Where To Eat After a hike, swim, kayak or bike outing, youâ€™ll be looking for a good place to eat and sleep. You wonâ€™t go wrong with the following ... Blue Mountain Grill 974 Highway 9, Acme 360/595-2200 The menu features burgers, steaks and other classic road food but with a hand-made approach that has won over many locals. Open daily at 11 a.m., breakfast served Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon. Everybodyâ€™s Store Highway 9, Van Zandt 360/592-2297 Check out their selection of unusual wines, cheeses and sausages as well as their amazing sandwiches that offer a ridiculous number of fillings â€“ 18 different cheeses is just the beginning â€“ from which to choose.
Il Caffe Rifugio 5415 Mount Baker Hwy. 360/592-2888 Il Caffe Rifugio is a full service Italian cafĂŠ that specializes in quality comfort food, coffee, beer and wine. Signature dishes include The Deming Mile High Burger, Seasoned Flank and Creamy Polenta and the House Frittata. The atmosphere is casual but elegant, and the attitude toward food is serious but fun. Dinner menu changes weekly. Summer hours starting midJuly are Tuesday to Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. , and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The North Fork Brewery 6186 Mt. Baker Hwy. 360/599-2337 Possibly the best beer and pizza in Whatcom County. The micro-brewery could very well double as a beer museum. The bar offers a rotating selec-
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tion of microbrews, but their famous IPA and root beer are both served year-round. Open Monday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., and weekends from noon to 9 p.m.
MAPLE FALLS Harvest Moon Bakery 7466 Mt. Baker Hwy. 360/599-1347 Harvest Moon Bakery serves daily breakfast and lunch. Dinners can be ordered for take-out. Fresh baked goods and artisan bread also prepared daily. Inside, the cafĂŠ is warm and cozy with a rustic dĂŠcor. Open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Frosty Inn Restaurant and Lounge 7461 Mt. Baker Hwy. 360/599-2594 New owner Karen Grafwallner welcomes customers to this family friendly restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The popular breakfast menu, which includes steak and eggs, eggs benedict, and Belgian waffles, is extended on Saturdays and Sundays until 1 p.m. In addition to the regular dinner menu of burgers, steaks, pasta and pizza, Grafwallner has nightly specials such as Taco Tuesdays, $1 each. Happy Hour, 4 to 6 p.m. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays. Slide Mountain Bar and Grill 7471 Mt. Baker Hwy. 360/656-5833 New last winter, Slide Mountain completely renovated the former Joowanaâ€™s site and created a bright and welcoming atmosphere with a full menu featuring top quality ingredients and reasonable prices. The grilled steak is very popular. The eat-in or Take â€˜n Bake super nachos feeds five, great for parties. Free WiFi and sports TV. Opens at noon.
Maple Fuels 7797 Silver Lake Rd. 360/599-2222 There is nothing small about this fuel station in Maple Falls. It features a large deli that includes soups, sandwiches, breakfast items, locally roasted organic coffee, a seating area and WiFi. Open daily 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
GLACIER Wake â€˜n Bakery 6903 Bourne St. 360/599-2569 The masters of coffee and fresh baked goods have moved from the porch of Glacier Ski Shop to their own digs around the corner by Mt. Baker Snowboard Shop. Courtâ€™s daily baking continues to impress with scones, macaroons, cookies, NutBars, coffee cake and other delectables. Open daily at 7:30 a.m. Chair 9 10459 Mt. Baker Hwy. 360/599-2511 Chair 9 is located just past the town of Glacier on your way up the mountain. Specialty pizzas are baked to perfection in the wood stone oven. Also serving burgers, salmon, steak and ribs. Open daily at 11 a.m. Music on weekends. Milanoâ€™s Restaurant 9990 Mt. Baker Hwy. 360/599-2863 Offers the best Italian food in the county, with fresh pasta dishes and homemade desserts. Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Grahamâ€™s Restaurant 9989 Mt. Baker Hwy. Glacier 360/599-1964 The bad news is, Grahamâ€™s has closed. The good news is, itâ€™s re-opening under a new operator possibly as early as July 4. Keep watching!
ACCOMMODATIONS MAPLE FALLS Baker Accommodations 7425 Mt. Baker Hwy 888/695-7533, 360/599-1017 bakeraccommodations.com A new office in Maple Falls provides hassle-free customer service for both cabin and condo rentals in Glacier and Maple Falls. Available for weekly and nightly rentals. $109 and up. Mt. Baker Lodging 7463 Mt. Baker Hwy 800/709-7669,360/599-2453 mtbakerlodging.com Mt. Baker Lodging offers cabin, cottage, condo, chalet and executive vacation home rentals. Walk-in reservations and one night stays available. Office open everyday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. $149 and up.
GLACIER The Inn at Mt. Baker 360/599-1776 theinnatmtbaker.com Noted in â€œ1,000 Places to See Before You Die,â€? this quiet bed and breakfast mountain retreat has uninterrupted views of Mt. Baker and the Nooksack River Valley. European style bed and breakfast service featuring feather beds with down comforters and outdoor hot tubs. Spa services and ski packages available. $155 and up. Mt. Baker View Guest House 360/599-2155 mtbakerviewguesthouse.com The guest house is located in downtown Glacier. Also offers secluded accommodations at Cascade Retreat that sleeps up to 15 people. Fully furnished, fireplaces, full kitchens. $125+. Winter Creek B&B 360/599-2526 wintercreekbandb.com Winter Creek offers two bedrooms with double beds, two living rooms with fireplaces, sauna and WiFi. $100 per room, per night with full breakfast.
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s Team “Keg Spank” crosses the finish line during the 2009 race. The team completed every leg of the race carrying the keg. Photo by Heather Elsworth.
Raising hell for salmon Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Bellingham Traverse is a community fundraising event that celebrates the life cycle of wild salmon. Solo, tandem and relay teams challenge themselves and one another for a day of running, mountain biking, road biking, paddling and “trekking” to the finish at Boundary Bay Brewery on September 17. The course highlights Bellingham’s city parks, greenways system, bike-friendly roads and open water opportunities for recreation. The 5.5-mile urban greenway run starts at 12:30 p.m. downtown and connects Boulevard Park, Taylor Street Dock, Fairhaven and Lake Padden. The 6-mile single-track mountain bike course winds through Lake Padden to follow the 17-mile scenic road bike that circles around Lake Samish to the fast, rolling hills to Fairhaven Park. The 3.5-mile Chuckanut Ridge trail run winds through the forest and reconnects on the greenway down to Marine Park. The 4-mile Bellingham Bay paddle is a zig-zag course through the bay.
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The teams gather at Cornwall Beach and join together for the last leg of the traverse, the half-mile trek back to the finish line at Boundary Bay Brewery. To date, the event has generated more than $60,000 for the local and regional nonprofit community. The featured beneficiaries for 2011 are Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Associations, RE Sources, Whatcom Parks and Recreation Foundation, Kulshan Community Land Trust, Sustainable Connections and Whatcom Land Trust. Participants raise pledges for the group of their choice, and 100 percent of their donation goes directly to the selected nonprofit organization. The day also includes an awards ceremony and live music at Boundary Bay Brewery. Tenth Anniversary Traverse Ale will be on tap during the late summer and the day of the race. Visit the brewery all summer long to see the prizes up for grabs hanging from the ceiling. Bellingham Traverse also needs volunteers. For information, visit www.bellinghamtraverse.com.
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Star Trek Skiers: To boldly go ... Story by Molly Baker, photos by Matt Steinman Of all the places I have lived, there are very few that I have called home. We can look at “home” as a place of residence, or less formally, a space where an individual feels at ease. Nowhere have I wanted to feel at harmony with my surroundings, but so far from achieving this feeling, as I do up on Mt. Shuksan. Snowstorms often shroud Mt. Shuksan, thwarting the view of the 9,131-foot summit from the Mt. Baker Ski Area. During my first two weeks in Washington, I only knew it as a place on the map. Where the mountain was supposed to be, there was only a discouraging and obscuring ocean of clouds. Skiing the Shuksan Arm, a popular side country area extending from the peak toward the ski area, it felt like a phantom limb, an apparently nonexistent place I couldn’t see, but could feel. My imagination’s capacity to sketch an image of the hidden peak was limited. In my mind, I imagined it looked like Mt. Superior in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon, where I was living at the time of my first visit. When the clouds finally parted, Mt. Shuksan appeared as a glaciated cathedral of potential adventure, and I settled on my decision to move to the area. Shuksan was the tipping point. It was either here or someplace like the Himalayas – there aren’t many places in the
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18 Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011
s What goes up, must come down. Checking the line before dropping in.
world with such stunning office views. At the end of this winter, my second in Washington, on the Friday preceding Mt. Baker’s closing weekend, four other Glacier-based riders and I found ourselves tiptoeing beneath the hearth of Shuksan’s living room. Just below the summit and above the massive hanging glacier of deep-blue distinguished ice, we stood in the center of one of the North Cascades’ mansions. The mountain emitted a sense of indifference toward our presence; I was feeling as out of place as a ski bum at a dinner of wealthy aristocrats. But my excitement with being there, in a zone where few people have stood with skis, overrode bashfulness. During those moments, I strove to project confidence and comfort. In the mountains, the two qualities are interchangeable. Comfort leads to confidence and vice versa. Beyond the peak’s iconic scenery, skiers and climbers find themselves devoted, or nearly obsessed, with places like Mt. Shuksan by the pure prospect of challenge – my parents call it masochism, mountaineers call it fulfillment. I fall somewhere near the middle of the scale, but closer to fulfillment. After waking up at 3:30 a.m., skinning for miles before the sun rose, sweating through multiple layers in 20-degree temperatures, and stressing over potential avalanche danger, that Friday morning was one of my most exhilarating days of the year. I have a mountaineering friend who says he skis for good stories to tell his grandchildren. If grandchildren ever exist in my family, stories of the Shuksan will be at the top of my queue. And they will always be tales of satisfaction. As the sun rose that day, illuminating the snow and the prominent mass in our way, we stopped multiple times to observe the destruction of past avalanches. Beneath our skis was close to 100 feet of avalanche debris from the season. The creek we usually cross was gone, entombed under the snow depths. On the flanks of Shuksan, we saw trees torn down and the outskirts of entire forests pushed back. If this kind of destruction could be seen as natural violence, it was a year of
high crime on Mt. Shuksan. We continued past the torn trees, crossed the relic of what used to be a river and headed up White Salmon Glacier, the most popular route for approaching the summit. Our line was in full sight for most of the hike. With an abundant La Niña snowpack, many of the crevasses above the hanging field of ice, where we would be skiing, were filled. After studying recent photos of the mountain and using binoculars, we decided our exit chutes were skiable. According to local skiers and snowboarders, this particular route down has only been attempted a handful of times. Usually littered with deep crevasses, the upper preaches of the glacier tends to stare ominously at skiers, presaging the collapse of a snow bridge or a sudden slip into a crevasse. At the bottom there are two exits, right or left. During normal years, the left might be too rocky. And to the right, during La Niña, El Niño or whatever dictating weather pattern, the rider exits directly under the hanging glacier and is consequently vulnerable to a falling serac. This day we found ideal conditions – soft snow, stable avalanche conditions and minimal crevasse navigation – but I was still nervous. Sometimes showing up to a swanky dinner party with the right people can make you feel at home. Conversation flows smoothly, fidgeting ceases and judgment gets thrown out the proverbial window. Fashionably late, hours beyond our projected descent time, I listened to our group make plans at the top of our line. Ben Price, a righteous proprietor of local backcountry knowledge and Zack Giffin, nucleus of the local freeride cell at Mt. Baker, led our group. Also along were Price’s and Giffin’s roommates, both enthusiastic to put forward their best effort. As juvenile as it sounds, I was with the “in-crowd,” which in big mountain skiing really just means there were good dynamics and a pyramid of experience within our group, a combination of ingredients leading to our eventual success. It’s not just at parties, having social support does wonders in all aspects of life. I skied second, with the first skier mapping out a route around the obvious crevasses. In pairs we regrouped on a bench above the hanging glacier. At this point, relaxing to the idea that we were in a place I never imagined to be standing, I realized that the snow was perfect – soft, adequately deep and not moving. If anything above us slid, the situation appeared nonsurvivable. If we fell while skiing the next portion of the line, the results would be similar. I made careful but surprisingly fast turns from the bench. Our second stopping point put us on a flat, roomy island of safety. I couldn’t help but feel like we
were getting away with something, like robbing a bank and having a policeman open the door to politely aid in your escape. Where was the ice, the annoying partner, the malfunctioning gear? The snow, at least, shouldn’t have been that heavenly. Standing at the safe spot, I thought about how I had almost turned around numerous times on the way up, but in the end, hadn’t; my quiet discomfort had gone through many trials. Ultimately, I never decided we were free of risk. I just chose that skiing that day was
worth it, as it so often is on these excursions. As I tightened my boots for the last third of the line, my mood shifted, just like it might when running across a new acquaintance in a foreign country. A familiarity floods your body and mind, temporarily fabricating comfort. The decisions had been made and now the easy part lay ahead – skiing to the bottom. Like moving to a new town or home, thinking about doing something is often harder than actually making it happen.
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s The line of ascent is shown in yellow; the descent in red.
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With an immense snowpack this spring and summer, it is the perfect time to get out and ski the Cascades. Mt. Baker and Shuksan offer a variety of routes, along with other peaks in the area. Ranging from easy to very difficult, any tour is guaranteed adventure. Contact local guiding companies, online forums or outdoor shops for books, maps, experience guidelines and suggested gear lists. Here are a few route suggestions: Mt. Baker Summit via the Coleman-Deming Glacier: Just past Glacier, take the Glacier Creek Road exit (FSR 39) and drive about eight miles to the parking lot. The hike begins in idyllic oldgrowth forest and continues in view of Baker’s summit, enticing skiers to keep going for the descent, which can be around 8,000 feet from the 10,781-foot summit, depending on snowpack. Mt. Shuksan Summit via the Sulphide Glacier: Although a longer, more gradual approach than the White Salmon Glacier, the Sulphide is a great single or multi-day route to the summit of Shuksan. Take Highway 20 east for approximately 22 miles to Baker Lake Road (FSR 11), where you turn left and follow Baker Lake Road (becomes FSR 11) to FSR 1152. Turn on Spur Road 014 and follow it to the end at the Shannon Ridge Trailhead. The trip is estimated at 18 miles total, but with great summer snow conditions it could feel like a lot less. Mt. Larrabee: Just south of the Canadian border is Mt. Larrabee, an iconic peak easily seen from the Mt. Baker ski area. Located near the Winchester fire lookout, this destination can easily become a multi-day trip. Off of the Mt. Baker Highway turn north about 13 miles east of the Glacier Ranger Station (Fire Service Road 3065). Follow the sign to Tomyhoi Lake. The maintained road ends at the Tomyhoi Lake trailhead (about 4.5 miles), but high-clearance vehicles can usually continue another 2.5 miles to the Twin Lakes parking area.
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Expect approximately seven miles roundtrip from the Twin Lakes parking area, but more if you park at Tomyhoi Lake or decide to stay the night at Winchester Cabin. Larrabee is a more advanced ski, but views of the nearby Canadian border peaks are worth every moment. It is also the most likely to lose snow the fastest, so plan for Larrabee during the early summer months.
Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011 19
Small camera, big results
s Pink Heather with Ragged Ridge in the background on Okanogan National Forest’s Easy Pass Trail.
Story and photos by Mark Turner How many times have you come back from an outing, downloaded your images, and been disappointed with the results? You remember the spectacular vista, colorful wildflowers or stunning sunset, but your images don’t reflect what you saw?
The beauty of compact, pointand-shoot cameras is that they’re convenient and easy to use. The drawback is that it’s that much easier to take uninspiring photos, especially if they’re shot from the same vantage point. Follow the tips below, and with a little practice, you’ll be creating images like a pro.
s Pacific Starflower on Echo Mountain. 20 Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011
Composition Your camera is not a gun, so don’t aim it like you’re pointing at a target with the subject dead center and lots of space surrounding it. Identify your main subject, and then think about what you can do to enhance it: • Start by moving closer or zooming in to fill the frame. • Move the subject off center. Using the rule of thirds, divide the frame into three parts both horizontally and vertically. The intersections of these lines are powerful places for the main subject of your photo. • Turn your camera on its side. Play with both vertical and horizontal variations on a subject. • Think about the shapes – diagonals and curves help lead the eye through the frame and create a dynamic image. Triangles create balance and stability. Point of View Your camera works just as well, and probably even better, when it’s close to the ground or high overhead. Just because
your eyes are five feet above the ground doesn’t mean your camera has to be. Think about it – there’s a reason your kids’ photos look different from yours. • Rabbit’s eye view: Get down on the ground to see the subject from a rabbit’s viewpoint. Looking up at the plants or landscape may reveal textures and spatial relationships not evident from your normal eye level. When you’re kneeling or laying on the ground, look sideways for even more possibilities. • Bird’s eye view: Get up high and look down at your subject from a bird’s eye view. Look for patterns, expand the space in the frame and reveal larger scale relationships. Try climbing up on a boulder or standing on a park bench and looking down. Light All photography begins with light, but it’s the quality of light that determines the difference between an outstanding image and one that’s just average. While the favorite time to go hiking is on warm, sunny days, the best light for wildflower photography is when it’s overcast. • Overcast skies or shade will wrap your subject in flattering light with subtle shadows and soft highlights. In deep shade, watch for blue or green color casts. • Side light may create some harsh shadows, but it will also add drama and accentuate the dimension, form or texture of your subject. Experiment early or late in the day
with side light. • Back light will have the same dramatic effect as side light, but watch out for lens flare. Try hiding the sun behind an element in the frame, like a large leaf or tree trunk, so you get the effect but don’t have the light itself in the shot. • Overhead sun will create harsh shadows and bright highlights around your subject. It’s not the best time for your photography adventure. Colors will look weak and washed out, so work in the shade or wait until evening or early morning for longer shadows. Light Enhancers If you’re stuck with harsh, midday light, there’s not much you can do with wide angle scenic photography except pick your angles carefully and try to avoid lens flare as much as you can. With close-ups, however, you can modify the light with diffusers or reflectors. A diffuser does just that – it softens the light, reducing the bright highlights and filling in the harsh shadows. A thin, white plastic cutting board, a piece of sheet or shower curtain works wonders. Have a friend hold it for you while you take the photo. A reflector bounces light onto the subject to fill in dark shadows or to add highlights. A sheet of white paper, handkerchief or dish towel works well. To create a shadow, use a jacket or even a person to block the light from your subject. Just make sure
you don’t see the edge of the shadow in your photo. Sometimes just adding a little fill flash to your subject can open up the shadows. If your camera doesn’t have a fill flash mode, select “auto flash” and try that. Focal Length Most compact cameras have an optical zoom lens, so understand what that means and experiment with the different focal lengths. A normal zoom length is the most similar to human vision.
Wide-angle shots expand the sense of space in the frame and make objects closest to the lens much larger relative to everything else. Try framing a shot with one flower up close and another feature in the background, then zoom your lens all the way out. A telephoto zoom compresses the space in the frame and makes objects appear closer together. Macro (often shown by a flower icon) lets the camera focus closer than normal. Read your instruc-
s Lewis’s Monkeyflower blossom detail at Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National
tion manual to find out how close to the subject your camera can focus. Technical Stuff When using your digital camera, it’s always a good idea to shoot at the highest resolution possible. You can always make an image smaller, but you can’t make it larger without compromising the quality. Memory cards are inexpensive, so buy the largest you can afford. If you have the option, set your camera for the lowest ISO setting to prevent “noise.” Noise shows up as colored specks in the shadows. Use a higher ISO setting if necessary in low light situations. Have fun When you’re on the hunt for the perfect wildflower photo, always remember to have fun. Think about what you want to show and how you want the photo to feel, then have fun experimenting. Try a variety of approaches, review the results and see what works best for future photography. Mark Turner is an award-winning photographer whose work has graced national magazines such as Birds and Blooms, Sunset, American Gardener and Garden Design. He is the photographer and co-author of “Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest” and author of “Bellingham Impressions.” Based in Bellingham, Turner kayaks, bikes, hikes, climbs and gardens when he’s not photographing people, gardens or wildflowers. Visit him at www.turnerphotographics.com or www.pnw flowers.com.
Wildf lower Photography with a Pocket Camera Workshop Instructor: Mark Turner Learn more about using your pocket camera to its best advantage during a weekend workshop July 31 to August 2 with photographer Mark Turner. You’ll travel along the North Cascades Highway shooting at a variety of field locations and stay at the North Cascades Institute Learning Center. Turner will introduce techniques before heading into the field, and each day will conclude with group critiques of each student’s work. You should be familiar with the basic operations of your camera. Required materials: your camera’s user manual, spare batteries and/or charger, extra memory cards, a flash drive, a tripod and a laptop computer to download and edit your work for critiques. Cost is $215 to $455, depending on room occupancy, and includes two nights’ lodging and seven meals. More info: www.ncascades.org.
s Wildflower photography class in action. Photo by Jessica Haag/NCI
Forest on Scott Paul Trail.
Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011 21
From the ashes of Graham’s comes ... Graham’s! By Jeremy Schwartz For the past 20 years or so, Chris Collins has been trying to give back to his community both as a firefighter and as a chef. Collins once held both these jobs on Lopez Island, and later, perhaps more famously, in Glacier as the operator of Graham’s Restaurant. That is, until the end of April when Collins decided to turn the burners off at Graham’s for the last time. Roughly nine years after Collins opened a restaurant in the space next to Graham’s Market, he has decided to part ways with the Glacier landmark and seek his foodrelated fortunes elsewhere. Why? Perhaps that’s the best bit of irony in the whole tale: Whatcom Coun-
s Former Graham’s owner Chris Collins.
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ty fire code prevented him from expanding his restaurant into a music venue without a proper fire sprinkler system, which Collins as a firefighter in Glacier thought was overkill. Collins said the same sprinkler system requirements for a large nightclub in Bellingham should not necessarily apply to Graham’s. He said there is nowhere in Graham’s where a given person is farther than 20 feet from the exit. “The county sees things in black and white, but 34 miles up the mountain there’s a whole lot more grey,” Collins said. Despite this final setback, Collins said it was a privilege being a part of the Glacier community. Ever since Graham’s opened, Collins said he
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has met fantastic people up on the mountain who were nothing but accepting when he first came to the close-knit community. Collins had never run his own restaurant before. He said he heard about Glacier when friends of his from Lopez Island opened the Mt. Baker Snowboard Shop. He found that the space next to Graham’s Market was available and saw it as golden opportunity to open his own restaurant. The name for his restaurant came naturally from the name of the Graham family market that has stood in Glacier for more than 100 years. “All the pieces of the puzzle were there, but the box was well shaken up,” Collins said, referring to the start-up process for Graham’s. He quickly found mountain life bore some striking similarities to island life. For one, Collins was forced to be his own problem solver when issues, mechanical or otherwise, arose at the restaurant. Any sort of repair people were at least 45 minutes away. “Dealing with problems, that was not very exciting,” Collins said. “But it did make you one tough bird.” Despite the challenges, Collins and his staff were able to carve out a niche for themselves and become a must-stop place for anyone coming from or driving to Mount Baker. He said he and his staff quickly became like family, which made it all the more difficult for him to say goodbye. But say goodbye he did, leaving the space as empty as the hole in Glacier’s heart. But while Collins may be gone, someone new has stepped up to carry the torch and continue the legacy of Graham’s Restaurant. Katie O’Connell, a former waitress at Graham’s, took over the space a few weeks after Collins closed up shop. She said she plans to open a new restaurant with the same name and the same focus on great food and atmosphere. O’Connell said she could reopen Graham’s as soon as July 4, but that date could be pushed back based on when the county gives her the final go-ahead. The liquor control board and the county planning department still need to make their final inspections of the restaurant, she said. After Graham’s closed, O’Connell said Glacier lost about 10 jobs. Though she has never operated a restaurant, O’Connell said she feels reopening the place is a way for her to give back to the community that has given her a place to live and work for most of her life. Graham’s Restaurant is located at 9989 Mt. Baker Highway in Glacier. Call 360/599-3663 before you go to make sure they’re open.
6 IL CAFFE RIFUGIO 5415 Mt. Baker Hwy, Deming • 592-2888
11 SLIDE MOUNTAIN BAR & GRILL 7471 Mt. Baker Hwy, Maple Falls • 656-5833
1 BLUE MOUNTAIN GRILL 974 Hwy 9, Acme • 595-2200
7 NORTH FORK BREWERY 6186 Mt. Baker Hwy, Deming • 599-2337
11 MAPLE FUELS WASH-A-TON Corner of Mt. Baker Hwy & Silver Lake Rd. Maple Falls • 599-2222
2 ACME GENERAL STORE Hwy 9, Acme • 595-2146
8 BAKER ACCOMMODATIONS
3 EVERYBODY’S STORE Hwy 9, Van Zandt • 592-2297 4 DODSON’S IGA 3705 Mt. Baker Hwy, Nugent’s Corner 592-5351 5 KELLEY INSURANCE 103 W. Main St., Everson • 966-3732 619 Cherry St., Sumas • 988-2462
12 CROSS ROADS GROCERY & VIDEO 7802 Silver Lake Rd., Maple Falls • 599-9657
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14 WINTER CREEK B&B 9253 Cornell Creek, Glacier • 599-2526
9 MT. BAKER LODGING 7463 Mt. Baker Hwy, Maple Falls • 599-2463
15 SCOTT’S SKI SERVICE 9935 Mt. Baker Hwy, Glacier • 599-WAXX
10 HARVEST MOON BAKERY 7466 Mt. Baker Hwy, Maple Falls • 599-1347
Mt. Baker Highway Mile Posts
Mile 1: Junction of I-5 and Mt. Baker Hwy., Sunset Drive. Mile 3: View of Coast Mountain Range in Canada (left). Mile 8: Whatcom County Parks & Recreation Dept. (Right). The headquarters offers a rest area with picnic tables, restrooms and a view of Mt. Baker, elevation 10,778 feet. 360/7332900. Mile 9: Deming Logging Show – second weekend in June. Two-day show: log rolling, tree climbing and axe throwing. Nooksack River Bridge – great fishing spots can be found. Mile 10: Community of Nugent's Corner. Groceries, gas, bank (ATM), bakery, cafe, crafts and other services. Mile 11: U-pick berry farms (right and left). Strawberries in June, raspberries in July and blueberries in August. Christmas tree farms (right and left). Mount Baker Vineyards (left). Tasting room/gift shop open Wednesday through Sunday. Grape Stomp Festival in September. Mile 12: Community of Deming. Stewart Mountain – elev. 3,087 feet (right). Sumas Mountain – elev. 3,430 feet (left). Mile 14: Highway 9 South Junction (right). South to Van Zandt, Acme, Wickersham and Skagit Valley. Attractions: B&B, general store, mushroom farm and train ride. Nooksack River Forks (right). Nooksack River forks into three segments: the North Fork, which Mt. Baker Highway parallels; the Middle Fork, which heads southeast to the southern face of Mt. Baker; and the South Fork, which heads south into the Skagit Valley. Hwy. 9 follows the South Fork.
F IN D M O R E R ES O U R C ES AT
Mile 16: Mosquito Lake Road – Bald Eagle viewing spot (right). Dec. – Feb. Turn right onto Mosquito Lake Road, drive to the first bridge that crosses the North Fork Nooksack. Park on left shoulder of Mosquito Lake Road. Look for eagles. Mile 18: Community of Welcome (left). Grocery store, fire station, senior center and other services. Mile 21: Kendall Creek Hatchery (right). Turn right onto Fish Hatchery Road. The hatchery raises chinook, coho and chum salmon as well as steelhead, rainbow and cutthroat trout. Mile 22: Slide Mountain – elevation 4,884 feet (right). Named for a landslide on its north face that may have dammed up the Nooksack River in ancient times. Highway 547 North Junction/Kendall Road (left). North to Kendall, Peaceful Valley, Paradise Lakes, Columbia and Sumas. Gas, groceries, golf, tavern. Mile 23: Community of Kendall. Grocery store and gas (left). Mile 25: Community of Maple Falls, post office, pay phones, cabin rentals, lodging, restaurants, gas, groceries, liquor, library. Silver Lake Park, Silver Lake Road, 3.5 miles north (left). Park sits on 411 acres around Silver Lake. Mile 27: Farm stand (right). Fresh produce, gourmet foodstuffs. Mile 29: View of Nooksack River (right). Highway ascends a ledge overlooking the North Fork of the Nooksack River. Mile 30: Mt. Baker Scenic Turnout (right). Mile 33: Glacier – elev. 932 feet. Last community along the highway. Fire department, post office, library, general store, restaurants, snowboard shop, lodging, phones. Mile 34: Gallup Creek Picnic Area (right). Picnic tables and
16 MT. BAKER VIEW GUESTHOUSE 6920 Central Ave., Glacier • 599-2155 17 WAKE ’N BAKERY 6903 Bourne St., Glacier • 599-1658 18 MILANO’S RESTAURANT 9990 Mt. Baker Hwy, Glacier • 599-2863 19 GRAHAM’S STORE 9989 Mt. Baker Hwy, Glacier • 599-2665 19 GRAHAM’S RESTAURANT 9989 Mt. Baker Hwy, Glacier • 599-3663 20 CHAIR 9 WOODSTONE PIZZA & BAR 10459 Mt. Baker Hwy, Glacier • 599-2511
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trash cans; no restroom. Glacier Public Service Center (right). Open Memorial Day to October. Rangers assist with hikes and camp planning, and issues permits. Restrooms, picnic area. 360/599-2714, www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs. Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Boundary National Forest Scenic Byway. Glacier Creek Road (Rd. #39) to Mt. Baker Vista (right). Mostly paved, 9.5 mile road leads to Mt. Baker view. Mile 36: Douglas Fir Campground (left). National forest camp built by the CCC in the 1930s. Fees charged. Reservations accepted: 877/444-6777 or at www.recreation.gov. Horseshoe Bend Trail (right). Access for guided river rafting tours. Washington State Sno-Park (left). Permit required for snow mobiling or cross-country skiing. Mile 37: Church Mountain – elevation 6,245 feet (left). High elevation trails on the southern slope are often the first in the area to open for summer hiking. Turnouts to view North Fork Nooksack River (right). Mile 40: Excelsior Group Camp (right). National Forest Campground. No water. Fee charged. Reservations only: 877/4446777 or at www.recreation.gov. Nooksack Falls, Wells Creek Road Road #33 (right). Take Wells Creek Road a half mile down to parking area and fenced viewpoint. Fall plummets 100 feet. Mile 41: Excelsior Pass Trail (left). Mile 43: North Fork Nooksack Research Natural Area (left). Established in 1937, this is a 1,400-acre preserve of old-growth
Douglas Fir, Hemlock and Western Red Cedar. Mile 44: Nooksack River Viewpoint (right). Mile 46: Twin Lakes Road (Road #3065) at Shuksan Highway Maintenance Sheds (left). Twin Lakes is not accessible until early to mid-August. Hannegan Pass Road (Road #32) (left). Popular cross-country skiing area in winter. Shuksan Picnic Area – Hannegan Pass Road (left). Tables, restroom, Nooksack River views. Mining cabin nearby. Silver Fir Campground (right). Fees charged. Reservations accepted: 877/444-6777 or at www.recreation.gov. Mile 47: Goat Mountain – elevation 6,891 feet. (N.E.). Summer grazing range for one of four bands of mountain goats. Mile 49: View Mt. Shuksan – elevation 9,038 feet. (East). Mile 50: View Mt. Sefrit – elevation 6,015 feet. (Southeast). Mile 52: Mt. Baker Ski area White Salmon Day Lodge (left). Mile 53: Entrance to Heather Meadows. Mile 55: Picture Lake (road forks – stay to the right). Picture Lake – elevation 4,100 feet, provides a postcard view of Mt. Shuksan – elev. 9,038 feet. Vista picnic area (right). Picnic area; no restrooms. Mile 56: Austin Pass Picnic Area (right). CCC-built area sits in a bowl-shaped valley with glorious views. Heather Meadows Visitor Center (right). Open mid-July to September. Mile 58: Artist Point – elev. 5,140 feet. (End of highway). Parking lot surrounded by Mt. Baker’s peak (south), Mt. Shuksan (east) and Table Mountain – elev. 5,628 feet.
Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011 23
s Photo by Gene Davis
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24 Mount Baker Experience • Summer 2011
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