Because our scheduled hike into the High Country is still impassable, eight Senior Trailblazers who met at the Senior Center discussed our options for today's outing. The weather was gloomy with a 50% chance of rain, so driving for any distance at all didn't make a lot of sense. We decided to stay close to town and chose a pretty hard hike: Chuckanut Ridge. Several of you have asked about the origin of the word "Chuckanut," so I looked it up. It's a Native American word meaning "beach on a bay with a small entrance." To me, it sounds like something a squirrel would do (smile).
When we gained the ridge from the Arroyo parking lot, you can see we had little view of Bellingham, but lots of clouds towards the mountains made it obvious we had made a good choice for today. This trail is not an easy one, with lots of ups and downs, and the scenery for most of the hike was just what was in front of and around us.
The fog began to close in by the time we stopped at Gates Overlook for lunch. I haven't bothered to show you the view from the overlook, because there wasn't one. Marjan, today's leader, gave us options many times during the day to make it longer or shorter, but by the time we packed up from having lunch, nobody seemed to be inclined to make it any longer than the eleven miles (round trip) we would cover on our return. It might have been a smidgen longer, but both of our GPS people were elsewhere (Al is in Las Vegas in over 100-degree heat, and Fred had taken Monday off work for our snowshoe trip and decided to put in some work hours today).
By the time we started heading back down the trail to our cars, the sun began to break through the clouds a little, so we had mixed rain (enough to cause us to put on our rain gear) and sunshine. Cindy pointed out these little flowers to me, which she thinks are called foam flowers (or at least that's what I heard). They remind me of baby's breath, which florists use in bouquets. On the way back down, I couldn't resist asking Dan to let me take a picture of him with this sign:
I don't know who the original Dan was, but our very own Dan will be 78 years old soon, so I figured he deserves a traverse if he wants it. Happy birthday! Not to mention that he had no problem with our long hike and almost 3,000 feet elevation gain and loss. I learned today that he started hiking with the Trailblazers in 2000, when he was about the age I am now. Made me hopeful that I'll still be playing in the Chuckanuts with my friends when I'm 78!