Not only was today's hike, a hike to enjoy views, exercise, escape the concrete jungle and socialize, but it was an opportunity to share in a birthday celebration! The venue was to be at the old Cameron Fire Lookout on top of Mount Burke. The pink star marks our destination. I hiked there before, one and a half times. The first time it was cloudy, foggy, windy, rainy, cold and the half time it was so snowy we deemed it unsafe to carry on past the tree line. I hoped Mother Nature would cooperate today!
For the first few kilometers, we followed Salter Creek before veering off and starting our ascent along switchbacks through the forest. Here we were protected from Mother Nature, but once above the tree line and out into the open the wind was fierce. At least we had part sun part cloud, no rain, no fog. After three hours and just under 900 meters of climbing, we reached our destination. I was the first to arrive and got my summit shot dealt with while I waited for the others. For added security, I held on to the cable, I wanted to stick around for the party!
There wasn't much protection in the old Lookout but I hung out in there for a few minutes while I waited for the others to arrive. After this last hump, they had one short bit to climb to the summit.
He's ascending quite quickly considering the heavy load on his back, but he wants to get things set up to start his birthday celebration. The decision was made there was more shelter behind the solar panel structure then there was in the Lookout so that became the designated party place.
The boogie box was set up and the music started. We ate our lunch and danced a little all while the chocolate was melting. Once it was ready, we celebrated with a fondue!
The party lasted for awhile and the longer we stayed, the colder a couple of folks got. Those with extra cloths shared them, the rest of us were fine. I think a lesson or two was learned today that one should always go prepared because you just never know, the weather can change so quickly.
The birthday celebration was an extra reason to embrace today!
We went for a quick descent along the open stretch, only stopping once for a group photo then again to delayer when we were back into the shelter of the trees. We followed an already braided trail straight down crossing over the switch backs and then took a cut line for the balance of the way which brought us out to the parking lot near the campground. We just had a kilometer to walk to our vehicles from here. This descent route cut off close to two kilometers.
While I have learned to treasure the time I spend hiking solo, I truly enjoy being in the company of others. I always seem to learn something new and make new friends and that alone makes these hikes special!