Artist point trailhead provides a vista out over the heart of the mountain portion of the traditional territory of the Nooksack Indian Tribe, as well as views of surrounding mountains.
Points of Interest
Nuxwt’iqw’em is the traditional name of the Middle Fork Nooksack River as well as the permanently established, year-round village that was located at its mouth. In the original Nooksack Indian Tribe language, Lhéchalosem, the word root t’iqw’ means turbulent and cloudy, a good description for the largely glacial runoff water of the Middle Fork. Located in the heart of the mountain portion of the traditional territory of the Nooksack Indian Tribe, the Middle Fork watershed was regularly used only by the Nooksack. Because it was a uniquely Nooksack area, Nooksack families preferred to go to the Middle Fork valley for both practical and spiritual purposes. The Middle Fork valley was also traditionally and historically important as a route to hunting and berry picking areas on the slopes of Mount Baker. Following the severe population decline of the early 1800s, Nuxwt’ iqw’ em was no longer occupied as a winter village although the area continued to be used regularly, including for fishing in the Middle Fork. Since that time, the area of the village site has been extensively altered by shifts in river channels, so archaeological evidence of the village is unlikely. While practical hunting and gathering continue, much of the current use of the Middle Fork valley by the Nooksack Indian Tribe is for ritual, religious purposes.
Rugged Kulshan Ridge, which extends from the west flank of Mount Shuksan to the base of Mount Baker, forming the southern wall of Heather Meadows, is at the road’s end.
To the southwest rises Mount Baker, the shadowed canyons in the foreground accentuating the cone’s white symmetry. Komo Kulshan (Ind. “white, shining mountain”), the name given the mountain by the Nooksack Native Americans, was superseded by El Montana Del Carmelo—the choice of the Spanish explorer Francisco Eliza, who saw in the mountain a likeness to the flowing robes of the Carmelite monks. For a time the mountain was called the White Friar and the Great White Watcher. In 1792, however, Captain George Vancouver named the peak after his lieutenant, Joseph Baker. Abutted by lesser peaks, Mount Baker seems none the less lofty for its broad base, for such is its conformation that each snowy slope upward adds grace and stature. Frequently, swirling winds toss the dry snow into flowing white veils. Such scenes have given rise to rumors of renascent volcanic action, yet no report has been authenticated in the past 20 years. The mountain has 12 glaciers and more than 44 square miles of ice fields. On the northeast slope Pumice Stone Pinnacle lifts, darkly solitary, against the sheen of Rainbow Glacier. A twin pinnacle was shaken from its pedestal in 1906, shattering into the gap between Table Mountain and Mount Baker. Easier of access than Mount Shuksan, Mount Baker was first scaled in 1868 by Edmund T. Coleman, who described his ascent in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine for November, 1869.