Mount Baker was all but invisible from the ramp at the south end of Baker Lake, just 10 miles from the summit, the third highest in Washington. A pale gray overcast had wrapped around the volcano's 10,781′-high summit and the diffuse afternoon light had blended the snow fields and glaciers with the clouds. Only a few jagged obsidian-black lines—bare rock faces angled toward the peak—betrayed the presence of the mountain.It was midafternoon on a Wednesday in May, more than a week before the start of the summer camping and fishing season, and my 17′ garvey cruiser, HESPERIA, was the only boat at the ramp. The level of the lake, a reservoir created by a dam hidden around a forested point of land to the south, was down by at least 10′, and only the last 20′ of the dock was afloat. The rest of the molded plastic sections lay on the ramp like discarded mattresses.

Photographs by the author

The cove at Anderson Creek was one of the only places on the eastern shore that looked like a suitable anchorage.

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