Thursday, October 27, 2016

Oyster Dome in reverse

Ellen dressed warmly, and Mikey dressed in his regular outfit
Today nine Senior Trailblazers showed up on another rainy day, with no idea where we might go for our Thursday hike. Obviously the original destination in the wilderness was not going to work out, since even though it was forecast to be rainy in town, it was forecast to be more so in the High Country. We finally decided to head up to Oyster Dome, a regular winter hike, but this time do it in the opposite direction from usual, since it's a nice nine-mile loop.
Samish Bay Overlook
Usually we arrive at Samish Overlook towards the end of our hike, but this time it was early. As you can see, we didn't have wonderful weather, but it was only windy when we were in open areas like this one; the rest of the time we were in the trees snd sheltered. Plus we didn't have much of the "r" word, just the occasional mist.
Linda with a giant maple leaf
At this time of year, the trail is covered with golden leaves everywhere, and the giant maple trees shed these amazingly beautiful ones. We have to tread on them, but they didn't seem to mind. Sometimes we thought we might need to don our raincoats, but we only used them for warmth when it got windy.
Leafy carpet
By the time we reached Oyster Dome, is was a few minutes past noon. The view from the Dome is always nice, but although it looked quite lovely, it was too cold to stop, so once we admired the view, we went back down to a place out of the wind.
View of Samish Bay from Oyster Dome
Once we had our lunch, it was time to start the final push back to the cars. There is only one section of the trail that we cover twice, so it was fun to see the Oyster Dome trail from the other direction than we usually take. It almost seemed like a new trail.
Mushrooms growing in an old tree stump
These mushrooms are growing all around this old tree stump, and inside it as well. We admired it for a few minutes before resuming our descent. I am sorry that the picture doesn't do it justice. Some of those little mushrooms really did look almost lime green.
Looking up at the canopy above us
At one point, I looked up to see the beautiful canopy of trees that we walked under today. And as I said, we never had much precipitation to cause us concern. We covered around nine miles and almost 2,000 feet of elevation, and after not knowing what to expect, we were all pleasantly surprised by the fine day we had. Returning to town, I noticed large puddles, making me think we were again protected from the rain by our guardian angels. And choosing just the right trail for the day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tuesday again already

Gene and John at Avellino's
I smile when I see these guys hanging out at the coffee shop as I arrive for my regular morning latte. Once I opened up my own iPad, I decided to capture this picture for my post, and then I logged in so that I could join them in digital community. They are both reading Facebook and will stop to share either a cartoon or a video that we might not be seeing at the moment. What a world we live in today: we really did talk to each other once upon a time.
This year's giant pumpkin
And over at the Community Co-op this morning, I saw that they have put out the annual giant pumpkin for patrons to guess its weight. I remember vaguely seeing the weight of last year's giant pumpkin, but now I've forgotten. Maybe it was somewhere in the 300 to 400-pound range. I'm not sure. Anyway, this is a big one, don't you think?

Now that I've gotten my morning exercise routine out of the way, and once this post is written, I don't have anything else on my calendar for the day. Tomorrow is a really full schedule, and then Thursday is the hike. I'm not sure where we'll go, since it's forecast to be another damp one, and we're probably not going into the wilderness area. You never can tell, though; maybe the forecast will change in two days.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A beautiful Saturday in October

Reflection of leaves on Lake Padden
This morning dawned clear and cool, after several days of rain, interspersed with a little sunshine here and there. No rain today, though: it's simply gorgeous. Twenty-three women showed up to walk twice around Lake Padden. Some of them went off for coffee, but I headed over to the Farmers' Market to pick up some bread and headed home to get my laundry done.
Zack's art work this morning
And earlier, when I got my usual latte, my barista created this smile, the first of the day for me. Now my laundry is drying and I'm feeling pretty good about the rest of this fine day. Hope you are having a wonderful day in your part of the world, too.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What a fine, crazy hike

Eleven of the SIXTEEN who showed up this morning
When I arrived at the Senior Center up on a rainy, dark day for our Thursday hike, I sure didn't expect to see a crowd. One by one, Senior Trailblazers showed up on a day that was not only rainy, but was expected to stay that way for hours. As some of the others were getting ready, I captured this picture, with Al, Rich, Barb, Jim, and me missing. Does it look rainy? it was!
Misty forest
We decided to park at the North Chuckanut trailhead and hike up to Pine and Cedar Lakes. When Al suggested that we might take a short side trip up to Raptor Ridge, I thought to myself that it would add a little distance, but after all, we were out to get exercise, so why not? As we hiked, the rain did come and go, and some of us were even willing to take our raincoats off to stay a little bit cooler.
Raptor Ridge when we arrived
By the time we got to Raptor Ridge, to our surprise the rain had pretty much stopped, and the clouds parted to give us the tiniest bit of a view!
Looking out at the view from the ridge
Although it came and went, for a brief moment we even had sunshine illuminate the ridge, but it was very short-lived. No matter, it wasn't raining, it wasn't really cold, and we had all our friends to visit with. We headed from here to Pine Lake for a lunch stop. We saw this pretty fungi (or as one hiker said, a fun guy.)
Some pretty fungi
We finally made our way to Pine Lake for lunch right around noon. By this time, the rain had let up pretty much, and as we sat down to enjoy ourselves, we got a real treat: sunshine!
Pine Lake
The sun came out to light up the trees and the lake as we sat down on the soggy ground for a nice repast. We'd hike more than five miles and some of us were more than ready for lunch,
Making ourselves comfortable
Finally we decided it was time to start our return journey and leave our wonderful surroundings for another day. We had traveled over this boardwalk to get to our lunch spot, and now it was time to navigate these slippery boards again.
Proceed with caution
Since these boards were wet, we had to carefully pick our way back to the trail so we could return. Fortunately everybody was able to stay dry as we began the journey back to the cars. We decided to go straight back with no side trips, since we knew we would cover more than ten miles and more than 2,000 feet anyway.
Yellow leaves and the trail
Finally we got back to the cars, and we realized that we had been given a wonderful day with plenty of exercise, and a mostly dry afternoon. Everybody was feeling pretty good, and as we drove back to the Senior Center, guess what? It began to rain again! Somebody up there likes us, that's what we decided. Another wonderful day with some of the best people! What's not to like?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It's that time of year again

Keith's spooky front porch
My downstairs neighbor Keith has once again hauled out his Halloween decorations. Since I walk up the stairs to my apartment right next to his front porch, I get to smile at these several times a day. I think most of the pumpkins are from his garden. The eyes on his BBQ are new this year. Glad he's got a sign warning people about the danger here.
My new rain jacket
And I just got back from REI, where I purchased yet another rain jacket. The one I bought last year didn't work very well, and it was too heavy. This one feels just right, but the enormous selection didn't make it an easy choice. Not to mention the prices were all over the place; this one was sort of middle-of-the-road. The reviews online were mostly positive, and it has high zippers which makes it much easier to use the pockets when I'm wearing my backpack with the waist belt.

To think I could have spent close to $400 on a rain jacket shocked me! This is an REI brand, which means it's less expensive than a Patagonia or Black Diamond, which I also looked at and tried on for size. If you're interested, REI has a very interesting page that explains how rain gear actually works. Check it out here. My new jacket is made with something called "REI Elements" and has pit (underarm) zips, which I think really helps to keep me drier and certainly more comfortable when I have to wear it while hiking.

Anyway, you know I'll keep you posted if it works well enough to recommend. I just returned from reading the entire page I linked. Very interesting read indeed!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Another wet day

Lily's coffee and mine this morning
Both Lily and I went off to join the ladies for the 8:00am walk on this soggy morning. We had a brief respite between rainstorms and started off walking in dry weather. Now it's after 1:00pm and it's been raining pretty consistently since halfway through the walk.

We are heading off to a going-away party for my dear friend Carol, who is moving from the apartment complex at the end of the month. It's bittersweet to lose one of my favorite neighbors. Since the apartment is next door to Lynn's, she is hoping for a sweet single guy in his sixties who likes to go places who will move in to Carol's old place. We''ll see what we get!
Taken in our back yard early this summer
Carol is moving back to North Carolina where her family lives. That's Carol in the back with sunglasses on. She will surely be missed. We'll send her off in style, though!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A short, rainy but enjoyable hike

Lisa, Mel, Carol, Ellen, Peggy, Al, Steve (and me)
Yes, eight Senior Trailblazers showed up for what we knew would be a wet hike. We were supposed to be heading into the wilderness, but when we saw a forecast of three inches of rain where were would have hiked, we decided to make it something closer to home. We ended up carpooling over to the North Shore of Lake Whatcom, three miles each way on a mostly flat trail with trees that would shelter us from some of the wind.
Lake Whatcom
We never had a hard rain, but it was wet from the time we started at 8:30am until we finished the hike at 11:00am. Two and a half hours out and back, and everybody had someone to chat with as we walked, making it seem even shorter.
Al with his umbrella
Al took a tip from Mikey and carried an umbrella, which he wasn't sure he would be able to use, if the wind was a problem, but we didn't have any, so he was able to stay pretty darn dry under it. He also didn't carry his pack, although most of the rest of us did.
Red leaves
It was a gentle, enjoyable way to spend a rainy morning together. And since we were done so early, we decided to head back to the Senior Center and have lunch inside where it would be warm and cozy.
Melanie at the trailhead
Once we got back to the cars, I saw that Mel's pretty blue hat was sparkling with raindrops. We only had a light sprinkle falling as we piled in and drove the half-hour back to the Center. Not a really exciting hike, for sure, but downright pleasant indeed. And here it is, early in the afternoon, and I've got an entire day left to settle in, as well as to get ready for the wind storm forecast for tonight.