Bay to Baker
Brett Baunton Photography

Bellingham Bay to Mt. Baker

Bay to presents a photographic journey from the Salish Sea, Bellingham Bay to the summit of Mt. Baker featuring Brett Baunton's images. The goal is to celebrate and showcase the natural splendor of the Mt. Baker and North Cascades region with fresh, local, organic images. This collection will be added to as more images become available from the vast archives. Brett and Denise travelled nearly every trail on and around Mt. Baker in search of wild images and wilderness experiences for over 30 years. We expolered places above and beyond trails and way on up to the summit a few times. For another unique perspective we also flew around the mountain. Brett's passion for Mt. Baker's natural beauty is what led to this website. I hope you enjoy this presentation of majestic Mt. Baker.

Geology and Geography:
Mt. Baker (3,286 meters; 10,781 feet) is an active glacier covered volcano and the main attraction of this wilderness in the North Cascades of Washington State. Mt. Baker lies about 30 miles east of Bellingham. After Mt. Rainier, it is the most heavily glaciated of the Cascade volcanoes. The volume of snow and ice on Mt. Baker is greater than that of all other Cascades volcanoes except Mt. Rainier combined. It is the third-highest mountain in Washington State.

The Mt. Baker Wilderness Area was created as part of the Wilderness Act of 1984 comprising of 117,900 acres and is accessible by more than 200 miles of trails. Mt. Baker Wilderness borders the North Cascades National Park on the east and the Canadian border on the north.

Mt. Baker towers thousands of feet above the surrounding peaks of the North Cascades. Forests of Douglas fir, Cedar, western and mountain Hemlock carpet lower elevations. More than 16 square miles of glaciers carve down the mountain, with the resulting ridges of jagged stone dissected by a web of frigid rivers and streams that comprise the Nooksack and Skagit river systems, the area's two major drainages. This harsh landscape attracts extreme weather: Mt. Baker Ski Area recorded the world-record snowfall of 1,140'' during the1998-99 winter. Precipitation on the top of Mt. Baker sometimes reaches 150 inches a year. Many of the drainage's open into heather-filled meadows showcasing alpine wildflowers, huckleberries and blueberries. You may find Devil's club, salmonberry, skunk cabbage, moss and ferns lining the banks of creeks and rivers. High-elevation lakes and tarns dot the region, perfect for reflection surrounded by alpine meadows and rocky peaks.
Black bears, black-tailed deer, Marmots, Pikas and Mountain Goats are seen in the high country. Late fall, Salmon are visible in the streams and rivers.
Today Mt. Baker is a recreation mecca for snow sports, camping, hiking and climbing.

A bit of History:
Native americans called this mountain "Koma Kulshan".
The Lummi, Nooksack and Skagit translation is something close to "White Sentinel".
In 1791, the British explorer George Vancouver was to survey the northwest coast of America. Vancouver reached the NW coast in 1792. Third lieutenant Joseph Baker made an observation which Vancouver recorded in his journal: "About this time a very high conspicuous craggy mountain ... presented itself, towering above the clouds: as low down as they allowed it to be visible it was covered with snow; and south of it, was a long ridge of very rugged snowy mountains, much less elevated, which seemed to stretch to a considerable distance ... the high distant land formed, as already observed, like detached islands, amongst which the lofty mountain, discovered in the afternoon by the third lieutenant, and in compliment to him called by me Mount Baker, rose a very conspicuous object ... apparently at a very remote distance."

By the 1850s, Mount Baker had become a well-known feature on the horizon to the various explorers traveling the Puget Sound region.
Isaac I. Stevens, the first governor of Washington Territory, wrote about Mount Baker in 1853: "Mount Baker ... is one of the loftiest and most conspicuous peaks of the northern Cascade range; it is nearly as high as Mount Rainier, and like that mountain, its snow-covered pyramid has the form of a sugar-loaf. It is visible from all the water and islands ... [in Puget Sound] and from the whole southeastern part of the Gulf of Georgia, and likewise from the eastern division of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is for this region a natural and important landmark ..."