Well, it's that time of year again: the snow level in the mountains is down to 2500 feet, rain and snow are due to come our way really soon, too. I figured hardly any of the regular Trailblazers would show up on a cloudy day with rain forecast for the afternoon. But seventeen hardy souls came out to walk eight miles up more than 2,000 feet in our first around-town walk of the fall season. Last week we were supposed to do something close by, but we decided since the weather was so good to take a longer drive up to higher terrain. That's Marjan telling us what the route will be, since she was our de facto leader, with Al out of town.
We went from the trailhead up Chinscraper Trail to Gates Overlook, which shows the gloomy sky and Bellingham Bay in the foreground. Now there is a REASON it's named "Chinscraper": we gained a whole lot of elevation in a very short time, and I was going faster than I should, since Marjan sets a faster pace than Al, and I didn't realize I was running out of steam. I fell toward the back of the group and rested. I also took a few moments to take a picture of this mushroom, which looks so much like a flower:
After leaving the Overlook, we meandered up and down around Chuckanut Ridge, and I was graced with a view of these mountains, looking the opposite direction from the Bay as we walked along the Ridge. If Al had been here, he could tell me the name of these mountains, which look to be in more sunshine than we had all day. You can also see the lowering clouds. Although when the wind blew we felt cold, the temperature was actually quite temperate for the entire hike, and we never had any raindrops to speak of.
You can also see that there is plenty of fresh snow on those peaks, so we were happy to have our hike close to home. We actually began hiking at 8:30am, which never happens when we drive a long distance. We had our lunch at Fragrance Lake, and when we finally sat down to eat, the wind kept us colder than was comfortable, so we didn't linger too long. It was a nice break before heading back to the cars.
Here Ray and Carol, two fairly new members of our group, are having lunch at Fragrance Lake. You can see that they are bundled up and not looking all that warm. It wasn't; I had my gloves off just long enough to eat a sandwich and then back into the warm gloves my hands went. On the way back down, a few of the hikers waited for me to catch up so I could take a picture of this amazing group of trees. Whatever decides a tree to plant itself on a huge rock like this? It makes for an interesting picture, that's for sure.
I suspect that some soil sat on the top of the rock and the seeds latched on. My local wag said the tree did what trees always do, and sent down roots to find purchase, thinking "man, these grains of dirt are really big!" They seem to be doing fine, don't you think?