It was gray and overcast this morning, so Larry did the laundry while I made homemade turkey noodle soup for lunch. Even though there was rain in the forecast, the drops seemed to be holding off. After lunch, the sun popped through for a bit so we decided to take a drive.
We decided on the 60-mile scenic Mount Baker Highway, winding eastward from Bellingham, alongside the North Fork of the Nooksack River. Our route took us through pastoral farm land, several lovely small towns, and dense rain forests before finally climbing past the Mount Baker Ski Area. The rain held off for most of the trip although it seemed to sputter on me every time I got out of the truck for pics!
Just a few miles along the drive, a side trip down Wells Creek Road took us to the pretty Nooksack Falls. The informational board there told us that this 175-foot gush is one of the thundering waterfalls that gave the Cascades their name. A nice surprise for us, as we didn't realize there was a fall. Instead of heading back up to Route 542, we continued on down the unpaved road for another ten miles or so, and that's where I took many of the beautiful pictures today. The colors were amazing! Suzi (our GPS) told us we were on Forest Road 33. We continued on, hoping that eventually we would wind up on ANY paved road. Never happened. Nor did we see another vehicle the whole way. We finally reached a sign that said 'this road is not maintained for public travel'. Ok, time to turn back and retrace our steps. We seem to do that a lot. But, we have seen some neat sights that others miss, so we think it's worth it, LOL!
Arriving back and continuing on Route 542, the road became more winding, with few side turnoffs. The further up we went the more dramatic the views. It was a bit unnerving as the highway clings to the edge of the mountain. Didn't seem to bother Larry though and he was doing the driving. We eventually arrived at the 56 mile marker, past the ski area and found the road to be shut down just a couple of miles before Artist Point. How disappointing. It was closed at the end of September, so we missed what I understand is one of the most photographed mountain/lake scenes in the Western Hemisphere. Ah well, maybe next time.
It was after 5pm before we began to make our way back down the mountain. Unlike many byways, this road does not lead to another location or area. It's a destination unto itself and was an adventure all along the way. A wonderful drive for sure!