Thursday, November 15, 2018

Oyster Dome, Lily and Lizard Lakes

Leslie amongst bigleaf maple leaves
Fourteen Senior Trailblazers met at Chuckanut Drive to begin our usual Thursday hike. Well, actually eleven of us were at the Senior Center to carpool, and the other three joined us at the trailhead. The destination would be determined by the weather and our leader, Melanie. If the rain didn't get too bad, we'd go up to Oyster Dome and then head over to Lily and Lizard Lakes. At the beginning, we were rain free (just a spit or two, nothing much) and set out on the steep trail, which starts right off the highway.
Stopping for a brief photo op
As we made our way upwards, we enjoyed the mild temperature and the lack of rain, thinking that maybe we'd make it the whole way without any. But nope, by the time we reached the junction that would take us either up to Oyster Dome or off to the lakes, it had begun.
Huddle to talk about options
At this point, we decided to skip going up the rest of the way to Oyster Dome, because there would be no view and we had all seen it before anyway. Al also told us about a medical procedure he will undergo at the end of the month, so we were all listening intently.
The way to Lily Lake
And then off we went to Lily Lake. The rain was light, but it gave me a chance to try out my new raincoat, which performed admirably in the light rain. I'm sure I'll get a chance to wear it in heavier rain, but not today.
Lily Lake
There was still some rain when we got to Lily Lake, and the fog was dense, so we decided to trek on over the Lizard Lake, not a long distance but over a small hill. Everyone was in a good mood and happy to be out in the Chuckanuts with our good friends.
Lizard Lake
By the time we got to Lizard Lake, the rain had lessened considerably, although it wasn't gone by any means. You can see some recent beaver work in the foreground. After a lunch break, we decided to head back to Lily Lake and take Max's Shortcut to Samish Overlook, rather than take the shorter route back the way we had come.
Tuning fork?
On the way, Bob pointed out this interesting tree with a distinct fork in it. We discussed what might have caused it. We will never know, but it created a lovely picture in the fog.
Samish Flats
By the time we reached Samish Overlook, the clouds had lessened and the rain had stopped. We were able to take the short distance back to the cars (well, maybe a couple of miles isn't quite short) rain free. We covered almost ten miles and 2,600 feet up and down, quite a good workout. Starting out at sunrise and finishing as the sun was setting, we were reminded once again about how short the days are growing as the nights are growing longer, on our way to the winter solstice.

But it could not have been a better way to spend a late autumn day, in a beautiful place with fine company. Next week is Thanksgiving, so there will be no hike, and we will be stuffing ourselves along with the rest of the country. But today, we were virtuous.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Who doesn't love rainbows?

Rainbow on Bellingham Bay
I hadn't seen this picture of me capturing this rainbow, and yesterday Lily showed it to me while we were quaffing some wine together. It was on one of our Saturday walks with the ladies, I'm not sure exactly when, but I wanted to share it with my pals. I'm late again getting a Tuesday post up (and I completely neglected to do one last Tuesday, election day).

It's been a good day. I'm sitting here after having "enjoyed" a visit with the acupuncturist and a lovely yoga class before that. So now I will have accomplished all my Tuesday tasks and can just sit back in the few short hours before climbing into bed, tired and happy.

You can never have too many rainbows.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Saturday walk by myself

A carpet of leaves
This morning, Lily had to work, and I wasn't all that excited about the long drive out to the north shore of Lake Whatcom to walk with the ladies, so instead I walked to Fairhaven along Boulevard Park. It was foggy and quite lovely, and as you can see from the carpet of leaves, our deciduous trees are well advanced in their shedding activities.
Kayaks emerging from the fog
As I walked along Bayview Drive to Taylor Dock, which takes me from downtown Bellingham into Fairhaven, the fog began to lift, and I saw these kayakers and could hear them talking to one another. Just a few minutes earlier, they would not have been visible. The fog is long gone and the sun is shining merrily at the moment.

We had a lovely day on Thursday, after a full day of rain on Wednesday, and then another day of rain yesterday with sunshine today. It's that time of year in the Pacific Northwest, and I'm loving it. I'm sure the ladies had a nice walk without me, but my own walk was serene, quiet, and restorative. It's all good.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Lost Lake and glorious views

Group shot from Burnout Point
You only get days like this one on certain days in the fall, and they are usually sprinkled between rainy and cloudy days. Today, sixteen Senior Trailblazers were treated to one of the most beautiful, glorious days I've experienced in over a decade with this group. We woke to our first hard freeze of the year, but with clear skies and not a breath of wind. Heading up the trail from the Larrabee State Park's parking lot (used to be called Clayton Beach), we walked on the old logging road until we got to the South Lost Lake trail.
Waterfall is there
Last time we walked by this spot, it was dry. No water at all, and now it's back. It rained hard last week and this perfect day between storms gave us another look at this now-running waterfall. You can see all the leaves in the foreground that have fallen already. It's definitely fall.
The view of Samish Bay 
We took a side trip to see the view from Burnout Point, which would add a bit of distance to today's long-ish hike, but as you can see, it was worth it. Beautiful! This is where the group shot (above) was taken. But then several of the hikers decided it would be worthwhile to walk a bit farther to see Mt. Baker and the Sisters, and I began to whine that it would make the hike too long for me. I was outvoted, and this is what we saw.
Mt. Baker and the Sisters
I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this view on a glorious day. The mountains are showing off a new coat of fresh snow, the sky is brilliant, and there wasn't even a hint of a breeze as we basked in the glory. It was hard to get going again, since nobody wanted to leave the view.
Hanging out
We took the time to have a little snack and just feel the perfection of the day. I felt as if it was soothing my spirit and causing joy to well up unbidden. Since we were already here, we took a short cut down to Lost Lake, where we would have our lunch. We reached our usual lunch spot just a bit after noon.
Lunch at Lost Lake
Aahhhh.... we spread out and enjoyed a wonderful lunch break in the perfect weather. I have been here when it was cold, windy, and rainy. Today, it was none of those things, but instead it was just magical. Of course Richard snuck off by himself and went swimming in the lake while we ate, but he joined us soon after.
Lost Lake
I have seen this lake when it was frozen over, and I might again this coming winter. But today, other than frost-covered leaves where the sun doesn't reach, there was little evidence of the coming winter.
Still some remaining leaves on the trees
As we made our way back to our starting point, we were treated to several scenes like this: sunlight coming through yellow leaves that will not be hanging on much longer. But today, they still light up the forest. We ended up covering about 10.5 miles and 2,500 feet up and down. A serious hike with many of my very best friends, with a leader (Melanie) who kept everybody in sight and added so much to our simply wonderful day. I'm so glad I was there.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Another soggy Saturday

Flaming tree and sculpture in Big Rock Garden
Guess what? It's raining again! Rain all day Thursday, all day Saturday, but Friday, the day in between, was sunny and gorgeous (go figure!). Fourteen of us ladies walked this morning, and when we started out, it wasn't raining, although it had been all the night before, and we thought we might luck out, but it started sprinkling lightly about a half hour before we finished our five- or six-mile-long walk. Cindy, our leader, waited for those of us with small bladders to take a quick side trip into the bathroom at Big Rock Garden, and I saw this stunning red tree in front of a sculpture on the way back to join the others.
Lots of yellow trees in the distance
Although many of us had removed our rain jackets as we trudged up the hills, just before this picture was taken we had begun to put them back on, as the light rain coming down just wasn't stopping. But still, it was rather warm and nobody minded the rain too much. It was a good walk.
Trick or treater slug
I saw this adorable photo of the perfect Pacific Northwest costume: a slug with a slime trail. Before I moved here I wouldn't have appreciated it nearly as much as I do these days. Slugs are ubiquitous in my garden, and they do really make long trails like this one. Someone's parents were ingenious!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

More rain this week

Chanterelle trail this morning
Well, last week seems like it was dry in comparison to today's hike. We knew from the forecast that it would be wet, and of course we were ready. It was already raining when ten Senior Trailblazers showed up at the Center. Ten? Really? What a dedicated group! I was more than a little surprised. I had to wrestle with myself all morning to decide to go ahead and brave the elements.
Melanie's delightful mushroom picture
Melanie took some nice pictures; this is one of my favorites of hers, with the mushrooms and greenery showing that even when there are no grand vistas, looking closely at the ground will give rise to some beauty, even when it's wet.
Dave, Jim, Joy, Al, Kirk, Tom, Mike, Chris
This is the overlook on the Chanterelle trail, where we would normally have had a good view. You can tell from our clothing that it was wet. A steady rain fell the whole time we were hiking.
The view from the overlook
This was the view, which was better than I expected it would be. Those low clouds are full of rain, too, and we only continued a short distance up from this spot, just to make it a round trip of five miles and around 1,000 feet up and down. 
Me busy taking pictures
Both Melanie and I are not in the group shot because we were busy being photographers. She took this one of me, which shows that I'm dressed for the weather. However, I did find that my raincoat is no longer doing its job. With this much rain, I ended up quite soggy underneath, while both Joy and Chris were dry. It turns out they both have raincoats made of the same fabric. I'm going down to REI to see if I can find one for myself, before our next adventure in the rain.
Our lunch spot today
Most of us had lunch at the Senior Center (Mike took off for home instead of joining us), where we were warm and dry and could actually relax instead of huddle somewhere trying to eat something fast and get moving again before getting too cold.

It was a really nice day, even if on the wet side, and I'm glad I got some exercise with these great colleagues, and that we were able to enjoy the great Pacific Northwest outdoors together. And now I'm dreaming about finding that perfect raincoat.