Along with my son and good hiking friend Trent, we set off to Artists' Point near Mount Baker for an overnight hike to Ptarmigan Ridge. The USFS service station indicated that there was snow on the trail and route finding required and they were right. Though only about 10% of the trail was snow-covered, the spots that were were usually deep and fairly steep. The views began immediately and only got better as we progressed. Gorgeous Mount Shuksan was always present with its steep granite cliffs and blue-white hanging glaciers. Mount Baker's summit would pop in to view every now and then, but in all directions were countless peaks of both the North Cascades as well as the central to souther. Some I could name, most I could not, but I was stunned by the sheer amount of towering peaks that you could see. Mount Rainier's summet was visible 180 miles to the south.
We picked our spot on a ridge of scoured rock that was snow free. We only saw one other group of 4 people while we were up there. The flies were persistant, but the mosquitos were almost entirely absent! Some of the things I wanted to photograph was sunset alpen glow on Shuksan, morning alpen glow on Mount Baker and the dark night sky. Weather conditions permitted them all! I don't recall the last time I could see the Milky Way run from horizon to horizon. Countless satellites and even a few shooting stars from the Delta Aquarids shower were visible.
After an amazing breakfast, we broke camp and headed back. We wanted to give the sun a chance to remelt the snow to make those snow crossings more readily passable. On the last, large snow field we had to cross, Trent and Cohen glissaded down on their butts on makeshift plastic sheet sleds.
By the time we got back to the Chain Lakes junction (about a mile from the car) we ran in to throngs of day hikers who could only go that far without having to traverse snow, which most weren't willing to do.