The Alpine Trails Book Club hasn't had much luck with mountains this year but I had high hopes for a crisp, sunny fall day with clear views of Mt. Baker for our September hike to Park Butte. Driving north to the trailhead, the weather looked promising, but the closer we got to Baker, the cloudier it became. By the time we hit the trail, the mountain was shrouded in a dense layer of cloud that refused to budge all day. Even if Mt. Baker refused to make an appearance for us, there was plenty to enjoy on our hike.
Instead of mountain views, we enjoyed the abundance of insanely sweet alpine blueberries. Rather than hiking to a lookout where we'd have no views, we agreed eat lunch in the meadow near a trail junction so we could spend a couple hours picking berries. Andy and I hadn't come prepared for berry picking, but with a shortened hike we had plenty of water to spare, so we dumped out half our water since obviously blueberries are more important than water! The peace of the meadows was interrupted only by the occasional group of hikers passing through. Most couldn't resist commenting on our newest and most adorable member - a tiny bear foraging among the berries.
Once we had picked all the blueberries we could, we headed back for the trailhead. Even with full containers, it was hard to walk past the loaded berry bushes and leave behind the beautiful autumnal meadows. Fall is far too fleeting a season, one that will be gone long before I'm ready, but with all the berries we brought home, at least I'll have a taste of it saved for the darkest days of winter!