Ptarmigan Ridge is a popular hike for many reasons. The only bad thing about this hike is crossing the border if you come from Canada. Tuesday we headed up to Baker, using the Sumas crossing. Last week we planned to cross at 9, but aborted our trip when we heard the border line was close to 1 1/2 hours. Tuesday at 7:30 we drove right to the border booth without any wait. It's a long time since we've managed that!
Our plan for the day was to hike to the base of Coleman Pinnacle carrying our skis, then stash our skis and explore the area while waiting for the snow to soften in the warm sun. We carried microspikes and ice axes, but didn't use them at all as the snow is melted from most of the steeper slopes along the trail. If you wanted to explore steeper snow off the trail, I think you would still need your ice axe.
We were lucky to see a herd of goats.
The day was beautiful, with endless views and fabulous flowers. We stashed our skis near Coleman Pinnacle and headed up to the top for lunch. (recommended - great views).
Ruth and Hannegan Pass
Then we explored to the end of the trail, including some minor bumps in between. Some of the flowers are finished, but there are still patches that are incredible. As a bonus, the blueberries are starting to ripen.
The view from the end of the trail.
we figured it was time to head back towards Artist Point, so we went back to our skis and boots. We enjoyed a nice break while we put on our boots. Since we can't bring fruit or vegetables across the border, we made do with chocolate cake for our afternoon break. The ski back was great. There is nothing quite like skiing soft snow in the hot sun, while wearing shorts and T-shirt! It's not fluffy powder, but the sun and warmth more than make up for what the snow may lack. The snow is not continuous on the route back. so our strategy was to ski down as far as we could, then angle back up to the trail, carrying our skis. We skied four slopes on our way back, for a total of 600 m of skiing.
We saw lots more people on our way back. Most people were taking it easy. The scenery is so amazing, that most people just like to relax and enjoy it. We did meet one man though who was thinking of climbing Baker while his girlfriend was having a nap along the trail. I guess Baker looks a lot closer than it is if you don't know how big it is.
Back to Artist Point we were impressed by how busy it was for a Tuesday.