Autumn's Last Hurrah in the CascadesHikers and lovers of the outdoors were just given an early Christmas present of four beautiful warm sunny days in the Pacific Northwest. Got to love those high pressure systems! With the family in town from back east we headed to Heather Meadows near Mount Baker to enjoy a wonderful hike on the Chain Lakes Trail. Shuksan and Baker shone like majestic giant bookends on this hike. A light blanket of snow graced shaded north slopes. Sun-kissed southern slopes refracted comforting warmth. Waters rippled in the half dozen lakes gracing the area and protected coves reflected stunning alpine scenery. If you haven't hiked the Heather Meadows region yet, you'll probably have to wait now until next July. Unless-of course you snowshoe or ski- in which case,that season should just be starting to rev up later this week.