I won’t talk too much about the Maple Pass loop hike. Instead, I’ll let my photos do the talking. Unlike yesterday’s Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm hike, I hadn’t built up any anticipation for this outing. Its description listed seven miles, two passes, a couple lakes — pretty standard stuff. But what I got was one of the most impressive hikes I’ve done anywhere, with scenery that started great and then just kept getting better.
We started in dense forest but quickly left it behind for flower-filled meadows.
At Heather Pass, we got an excellent view to the east. These were the Cascade Mountains leeward forests with their coniferous green valleys and craggy amber peaks.
Climbing beyond Heather Pass, we got an excellent view of dark Lake Ann, which the hike encircles.
Another crest in the trail gave us a view to the west. Now we were looking toward the British Columbia mainland coastal forests, a colder, wetter place with mountains covered in glaciers and snowfields. Even the sky was grayer and darker.
The scenery reached its zenith at Maple Pass, where we could look back at the loop we’d done as well as the peaks in every direction. It was as if we were standing directly on the border between the east and west Cascades.
Maple Pass itself was a thrilling, narrow ridge that offered a short stretch of fine hiking. From there we made the steep descent through forest back to the trailhead.