Heliotrope Ridge, North Cascades, Washington
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2011 ·

The effort expended on this hike is nowhere near the payoff received. I guess you can take that statement both ways... but in this case I mean it in a good way. The hike is a mere 2.7 miles one way and only gains 1,400 feet in that time. The best part is at the end, as is the case with most of these hikes, not only because you're done gasping for air and ignoring the burning in your legs, but because of the view. Heliotrope Ridge in particular plants you about fifty feet from a massive glacier - Coleman Glacier to be exact. Unfortunately, none of the pictures I took truly capture the immensity of what lies at the end. You'll just have to see for yourself before global warming causes it to vanish forever.

The trail begins in a crowded parking lot about a two and a half hour drive from Whidbey Island. I was immediately greeted with a sign warning that the snow bridge is melted. Sure enough, the bridge was replaced with a raging river of melt water.

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