Only nine hardy souls showed up at the Senior Center today for our usual Thursday hike. It could have had something to do with the headlines in the Bellingham Herald yesterday: "Possible snow, hail, and thunderstorms on tap for Whatcom County," with the warning that we could wake up to snow here in Bellingham this morning. I looked outside and shook my head at my folly as I woke to rain but headed out anyway. We decided to forget our scheduled hike to Stewart Mountain and go to the Hoypus Hill trail system in the Deception Pass area. It starts at Cornet Bay and winds through the forest.
I was thinking we were a bunch of crazy seniors as we drove south through the driving rain to our trailhead, windshield wipers at full strength and thinking that driving thirty miles to hike in the rain was going to be one of the least pleasant hikes I could imagine. But as we approached the Deception Pass area, the rain lessened, then finally stopped before we left our cars to start the hike. And yes, it was a truly magical day, with us winding through the green forest with sun and clouds. It was a bit on the muddy side, since the area had received a lot of rain.
As you can see from the picture, my boots and gaiters were well used as a patch of sunlight illuminated the situation. Although the clouds came and went, it wasn't cold and the mud was navigable. There were even bike tracks through the worst of the mud, as those mountain bike riders wouldn't let a little thing like MUD stop them! The trails were well marked, with whimsical names marking the way.
Al had downloaded the trails onto his GPS system from a website, and he was able to keep us from getting lost. The trails wound gently uphill and downhill, nothing like our usual elevation gain. But we did see that the trails were sometimes overgrown with fresh nettles. Last year I brushed against one of these and my hand burned and tingled for days. The fresh greenery around this tree is a very healthy patch of the stuff.
It makes me itch just to look at that picture! But we were careful as we wound through the thickets of nettles and nobody made the mistake of touching any. Even Mike who usually wears shorts was covered from head to toe on this hike. When we reached our starting point, we had traveled eight-and-a-half miles and gained and lost a mere 750 feet. But the entire day we never had a raindrop fall on us while we were hiking, although we certainly did on the way there, and on the way back we also had rain. So, it was indeed a magical day. I will leave you with a picture of Cornet Bay, showing the Deception Pass double bridge. Nine happy seniors headed home after a fine hike!