Rainbow Ridge Hike
This hike was planned for a few weeks in advance. It was supposed to be Cohen's first overnight backpacking trip. So I wanted to pick something relatively short (2-4 miles) with some decent views. I settled on Rainbow Ridge, which followed a ridge along an arm of Mount Baker.
This turned out to be one of the worst packing trips I have ever been on due to the unpredictable nature of northwest weather. We suspected that we might encounter some rain, but the combination of a downpour and a treacherously muddy trail made for an awful combination. I am just overwhelmingly proud of my little guy for slogging his way through it.
Because Cohen had a soccer game at 10am, Chris, Cohen and I got to the trailhead at 2pm. Thanks to some good pointers from a post at NWHikers.net we found the trail itself very easily, which would have not been possible strictly following the information in 101 Hikes in the North Cascades. The trail was accurately described as a boot track, with several blowdowns and a lot of roots. It was a decent grade, but not overwhelming. We reached the top of the ridge itself in an hour. The weather here changed by the minute. Mountain and valley views appeared and disappeared a the fog rolled by.
We followed the ridge trial for about an 8th of a mile where we found an acceptible campsite. We dropped our packs then walked another mile along the ridge to about 4700ft with an astonishing view of the Rainbow Glacier . Unfortunately, that's as much of a view of Baker we got. It was pretty unfortunate, I can just imagine how massive it must appear from that point on a clear day.
As soon as we started trekking back to our campsite it began raining. By the time we reached our campsite it was a downpour. Luckily we covered our packs before we went on our walk. I set up the tent only to find that the plastic sheeting I had purchased was about a foot too small to fully cover it. Cohen sat in the tent downcast as Chris and I debated if we stay or go. By this time it was 4pm. After 15 minutes of no let up in the rain, we decided to call it and decided to slog it back to the truck and call it a rain out. Its just amazing how wet your gear can get despite being covered with plastic.
We donned Cohen in a large trash bag, myself in a poncho and Chris had a raincoat. The tent was too wet to go back in the pack so I rolled it up and carried it. The rain had turned the steep trail into a mud-slicked nightmare. Cohen did an astounding job of navigating his way down the trail and mostly avoiding falling. By the time we got to the truck at 7pm. We were a rainsoaked mess. Cohen was at his wits end. We got in to fresh clothes, cranked the heat and headed to Sedro-Wooley for some Mexican food.
On any other day this hike would have been amazing, but my combining the change of rain with a documented boot track trail was not my best decision. We'll try this one again next summer. I think September is out for North Cascade hiking for me.