Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oyster Dome 2011

There's a reason why the Senior Trailblazers set out on days like today that have a 70% chance of precipitation. Around here you can't wait for a favorable weather forecast: most days have at least some chance of rain at this time of year, and if you're lucky you can have a day like we had today.  Last night it rained heavily, but this morning it had come to a stop and, although these leaves are wet, the green ferns and the trail absorbed most of it. And more never came.
The hike starts steeply uphill from the Chuckanut Highway where we parked, and doesn't let up much until you reach the top of Oyster Dome. Since the weather was fairly warm and we had no icy patches, we decided to cross this rickety bridge (one at a time) to visit the Bat Caves before heading up to the Dome for lunch. In previous years, we skipped this part of the trek because that bridge was just too scary.
Here we are looking up at Oyster Dome from the Bat Caves, where we will eventually stop for lunch, but the caves themselves didn't give me any real pictures. (Some were blurry.) But you can see the sheer rock why the Dome gives us such a good lookout over Samish Bay. Notice that sky: it's blue! And by this time we were all very warm from the uphill nature of this hard hike.
Ah, lunchtime! We've reached Oyster Dome and are getting ready to sit down and have our lunch in the sunshine as we gaze out over the Bay. But the clouds began to come in since it is, after all, November. We had a fairly quick break and headed down to Lily Lake, so that we wouldn't have to come back down over the same steep and treacherous uphill. (It adds more than two miles to the return, but it's much less steep.) Even though the picture below shows us packing up after eating our lunch, I couldn't resist including it. I really like the red pine needles in the foreground contrasting with the trees.
We had a new hiker who joined us for the first time today. Here you meet Holly, who moved to Bellingham one week ago and is looking to learn the local area. I can speak from experience that she has found the right place! She and her husband decided that they are done with the Idaho winters and since they have family in the area, moved to the "right" side of the Cascades. (That's just my opinion.)
She was busy taking a picture, but I caught her smiling at me and hope that we will be spending time getting to know her over the Bellingham winter. Today was such a beautiful day that I didn't even mind that we have left the High Country behind for the season. We are back to the Chuckanuts! Today we climbed almost 2,500 feet up and down and covered more than nine miles before we strolled back to the cars.

Fred has asked me to write a post detailing my favorite hikes of this past summer and fall. Since we had so many extra ones, courtesy of Fred and Al doing the research, I am happy to do it. The only real problem I'll have is to determine which ones I liked the most. I figure I did at least seven brand new hikes (to me at least) and with the delayed wildflowers, we had some of the most amazing flower displays late in the season I've ever witnessed. Hmmm.... processing....
:-)

24 comments:

  1. i dont know how you pick a fav...i know i could not...cool on the bat caves...and nice views...i hiked about 4 miles today...still feel like a weakling in comparison...smiles

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  2. If you will ask me, I like all your hikes haha and your skydive stories which until now,the picture of you with knees on breeze is still clear in my mind. Anyway, glad you finished hiking despite of the unpredictable weather, same here, it'll get hot in while then heavy rains will pour (sigh). Take care DJ!

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  3. Hiking is a good outlet for you, because you get to socialize while you walk and climb. It would be a totally different experience if you were to do it solo. Probably more dangerous, too.

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  4. I walked two miles in our neighborhood today. That was good enough for me. Still envy you, though.

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  5. Stunning photos, especially that one overlooking....well, everything. Your new member certainly found the right group!

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  6. I'm pretty sure I'd be the chicken sitting on the side of the rickety bridge waving good-bye as the rest of you hiked away.
    :-)
    jj

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  7. I've never done a hike I didn't like . I would do everyone over again. Made some bonehead moves I wouldn't do again though.
    With your weather you just have to suck it up or you stay inside all the time.

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  8. I loved the ferns in the photos. I am fascinated at how they grow in your area.

    I will be interested to see what you might pick as your favorite hike.

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  9. I wouldn't know where to start picking a favorite hike, they are all so special !
    I love the contrast between the red pine needles and the green wild ferns....
    Another great hike !
    ~Jo

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  10. Awesome photos, DJan! You crossed that rickety bridge?!? Aaack! That looks really scary. You sure did get to explore some gorgeous scenery.

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  11. What a lovely area. Glad you had some sun and warmth on your hike today. Your new friend looks very happy and like somebody who would be fun to get to know. Looking forward to hearing which were your favorite hikes of the season. :)

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  12. I agree with Al, I like all of your hikes. Each seems to have amazing scenery. You did have great weather today. Your rains from last night made their way over the mountains to us today.

    Hello to Holly. It's funny, we are just now discovering Idaho and have fallen in love with it.

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  13. The first photo looked so inviting and that bridge might have been scary, but it was in a most beautiful setting. Look forward to your favorite hikes post, DJann!

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  14. Wow. What a struggle to get there but then where else are such views possible?

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  15. That view is to die for. Wow.

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  16. All that exercise and breathtakin' scenery to boot! Woohoo!!!

    What a magnificent hike! Girl, you rock!!!

    God bless and have a wonderful weekend!!!

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  17. You surely do get to experience some of nature's glory. If i could I would try to join a group but Buddy keeps me more home bound. We try what we can to get out and about.

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  18. You mean to say you climbed that sheer rock face?
    Never!

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  19. I am so grateful to be able to share your walks. The leaves in that first shot were probably my favourite, but I loved them all.

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  20. You're very brave to take on that hike. It does look scary. I keep wondering at what point in the year do you have to stop hiking due to the weather in the northwest. I used to ski and we always said the best part was when it was over. Just kidding.

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  21. Rickety bridges and Bat Caves - sounds inviting and intriguing DJan. Great Photos and lovely views. Congrats to your new hiker on her first hike with ya'll. Great to get in that extra hike while the weather holds. We are having exceptional days mid Oct right up to today and have hiked about the bay - no exceptional mountains though, although we do see a lot of life in the Bay of Fundy. Looking forward to your fav picks - I think you might have difficulty doing that. Cheers

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  22. Nine miles. Several thousand feet elevation. I think I need to raise my standards a bit. :) Actually hiking the dog and birding along the way would probably for 9 miles take me about 2 days....

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  23. I wonder what made that bridge less scary this time. Your new friend looks like she could be your sister!

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  24. The view is beautiful! It is nice to meet Holly..it seems I am getting to know all your hiking friends! They are a great group! :)

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