Saturday, May 16, 2015

Driving Ms. Millie: A cloudy hike on Johnson Ridge

I got to be a dog person for the weekend! Becoming a dog owner is something I aspire to do one day, but my schedule and plans for the immediate future don't permit it for the time being. Until the day comes, I soak up my pooch time doggy sitting for friends when they're out of town. On Saturday, Millie (the dog) and I loaded up in the car and headed to the North Cascades for a hike at Johnson Ridge, which boasts spectacular mountain views with low crowds.

At over 2 hours, the drive there from Seattle was a long one. Not to mention I have the worst sense of direction of anyone I know and managed to get quickly turned around on the logging roads leading to the trail head.

It became quickly apparent as we got further into the mountains that the Cascade mountain views advertised on online message boards was probably not going to happen. In fact, we were so socked in by clouds that I was pretty sure we weren't going to see anything beyond the immediate trail.

road to the trail

Camas coming up for spring

the forest becomes foggy soon after we start the hike

Although the vistas never appeared, it was a fun hike with typical spring weather conditions for the Pacific Northwest. For most of the hike, we walked in a low cloud layer, which had a dramatic effect on the surrounding trees, dripping continuously from mist condensing on the branches. 

My favorite part was Millie's reaction to the snow. Every time we saw a patch of snow on the trail, she would dive face-first into it and roll around over and over again. Her unbridled excitement for snow was infectious and I spent most of the hike laughing at her and imagining what she could be thinking.

We came across several hillside meadows along the way that I imagine are bursting with wildflowers in the summer. We only saw a few patches of early flowers this early in the season and much of the grass was still beat down from the winter snow pack. I'm looking forward to getting back up to this trail this summer to see the trail from another perspective.

Millie loving the snow

What a view!

Millie rolled in every snow patch we encountered.

foggy trees

Walking along the ridgeline

We come across a meadow...too early for flowers.

Moisture dripping from the trees.

Millie on the trail!

After many tries, I finally got her to look at the camera!