I set out hoping to hike to the fire lookout up on Park Butte. However, it was not to be. The first part of the trail is easy going and even the switchbacks heading up through the woods towards the base of Mt. Baker are relatively easy to handle, especially for a north Cascades trail.
Once out of the woods the snow quickly became constant as the “trail" continued to wind upwards. Although I was armed with a map, and following in what seemed like the appropriate footsteps of others, I began to realize after a long bit of ridge walking that either my map, my sense of direction (yes I even had a compass) or others footsteps were not pointing the right way. Since getting home I know what happened but that does little good now. Nonetheless, I was enjoying the scenery and decided to continue climbing hoping maybe I would spot the lookout and work my way towards it.
First View of Mt. Baker
After several hours of climbing (didn't seem like that long) I felt the endeavor had run its course when I came face to face with one of Mt. Baker's many glaciers. After all, a glacier is no place for a solitary hiker. Curiously I checked my elevation and found I had climbed a little over half way up the mountain (just over 7000ft). Soon enough some people attempting to summit confirmed this for me but also had no idea where the lookout was.
In the end I headed home satisfied with the day I had, vowing to come back later in the year when the lookout will presumably be more accessible.