Field Trips

Koma Kulshan chapter Washington Native Plant Society field trips are generally free and open to the public. Exceptions are noted in the trip descriptions.

Summer 2017 Field Trips

June 24, Saturday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Hannegan Pass Trail

This trail becomes a busy route to the back country after the snow melts out, but should be ideal for leisurely botanizing in late June this year. We will likely go 2 or 3 miles on the gentle valley bottom part of the trail before we are turned back by snow. Meet at the southeast corner of the Sunset Square Safeway parking lot at 8:00 AM. Bring a lunch and water, dress for the weather, and wear shoes suitable for crossing snow patches. Contact Allan Richardson at 360-733-5477 or asrichardson5@gmail.com to confirm.

July 22, Saturday, 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Grouse Ridge

Grouse Ridge Wildflowers

Sulfur Buckwheat & Yarrow on Grouse Ridge with Mt. Baker & Black Buttes bkgnd [Eriogonum umbellatum; Achillea millefolium]. © Mark Turner

Hike a way trail to a rocky ridge and endless flower meadows staring Mt. Baker in the face. Look over to Marmot Ridge, Bastille Ridge, the Black Buttes, and Coleman Glacier. Explore plant communities of both thin rocky soil and lush alpine meadows. Parts of Grouse Ridge feel a bit like Chowder Ridge, parts like Skyline Divide, but without the crowds. There’s no maintained trail, but the boot track was in good shape in 2016. Approximately 5 miles RT with 1600’ elevation gain, high point about 5850’. Meet at the southeast corner of the Sunset Square Safeway parking lot at 7:00 AM. Contact Mark Turner (mark@turnerphotographics.com) if you have questions.

July 28 – July 30, Friday thru Sunday

Hart’s Pass Adventure

This will be a three day / two night car camping trip to Hart’s Pass on the far eastern edge of Whatcom County. The expectation is that Saturday we hike south along the Pacific Crest Trail out about 4 miles, in Okanogan Co. Our (Fri, Sun) two half days will likely be Slate Peak for one and a damp meadow south of horse parking the other ½ day. Assuming we can secure camping sites, we will be camping just to the south of Hart’s Pass, rather than Meadow camp. There will be a charge for campground sites, although we will likely be able to share these costs. Last year was lovely, warm and dry, but it can be quite chilly in this high elevation area even in late July; I have experienced August snowstorms here and frozen drinking water on Labor Day (snow then too). Bring a tent, sleeping pad, and warm sleeping bag, clothing for ANY weather. Also bring all the food and water you will need for three days. No limit to number of participants; more information when you pre-register with your transportation needs, or offers, before 6 PM July 25th. Questions and registration with Bob Lemon or Annie Prevost: lemprev@alphahunt.com or (360)714-8629.

August 12, Saturday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Church Mountain

At the western end of High Divide, Church Mountain towers over the North Fork of the Nooksack and has extensive views in all directions. Three miles of switchbacks and strenuous climbing through Douglas-fir and montane forests will bring us to diverse south-facing meadows. Here the grade lessens and we will botanize our way towards the summit, perhaps plucking a few early blueberries along the way. Overall we will travel 8.5 miles round trip with 3750′ of elevation gain, so bring a lot of water, extra snacks, and anticipate a full day in the mountains. Meet at the southeast corner of the Sunset Square Safeway parking lot at 8:00 AM. Contact trip leader Abe Lloyd with questions (arcadianabe@yahoo.com) or 360 303-1339.

September 1, Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Lake Ann

The trail is a popular hike — we will go on a Friday to miss the weekend crowd and to get first pick of the blueberries. This is an 8-mile round trip that drops 800 feet to cross Swift Creek and then rises 840 feet to Lake Ann beside Mt. Shuksan, with plenty of interesting plants along the route. Meet at the southeast corner of the Sunset Square Safeway parking lot at 8:00 AM. If you have questions, contact Jim Duemmel at 360-733-3448 or JimDuemmel@q.com.

September 7, Thursday, 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Moonwort Madness

Botrychium montanum

Botrychium montanum

Hundreds of moonworts (Botrychium ssp.) of six different species can be found at Yellow Aster Butte in a good year (the last was 2011). We’ll see if the melt water from last winter’s ample snowpack will coax the moonworts into making an appearance after being coy for several years. If not, there are plenty of other ferns, flowering plants, and amazing views on this hike to hold our interest. This is a moderately strenuous, 7-mile round-trip hike, with an elevation gain of up to 2200 feet. Bring a lunch, snacks, and water; and dress for the weather. The trail enters the Mount Baker wilderness, so group size is strictly limited to 12. Meet at the southeast corner of the Sunset Square Safeway parking lot at 7:30 AM. Pre-registration is required for this trip by contacting Tim McNitt at 360-714-9474 or mcnitt@acies.com.

September 16, Saturday, 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Scott Paul Trail

Mount Baker alpine meadows, forest, and glacial moraines, complete with breathtaking close-ups of the volcano as well as sweeping views of the surrounding North Cascades peaks. We will hike the 8.0 mile loop counterclockwise. The well-graded and smooth trail starts at 3,350 feet and gradually tops out at 5,050 feet. The diverse flora is documented in the plant list available on WNPS.org. Meet at 7:30 AM at the Fairhaven west side park-and-ride at the end of 32nd St. If you have any questions, contact trip leader Allan Richardson at 360-733-5477 or asrichardson5@gmail.com.

September 24, Sunday, 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Table Mountain north end (side table) for 8 outlier Pinus albicaulis!

The slightly lower “side table” is accessed from a historic, well-constructed, but neglected trail ascending the west slope. Expect alpine flora, Hippuris montana, and a far west occurrence of Pinus albicaulis (whitebark pine) as we circumambulate the table top. Elevation gain is 650 feet, distance about 8 miles depending on botanical wanderings. Alpine conditions prevail and may lead to a tough day or weather dictated re-scheduling. Limit 12, therefore pre-registration is required and will get you more information. Meet at the southeast corner of the Sunset Square Safeway parking lot for 7:30 AM departure. Questions and sign up with Bob Lemon lemprev@alphahunt.com or (360) 714-8629.


Previous field trips are listed on their own page in case you’re curious about where the Koma Kulshan chapter has explored in previous seasons.