Thursday, November 13, 2014

A cold, sunny Oyster Dome hike

Noriko, Al, Rich, Doug, Peggy, Jacqueline 
Eleven Senior Trailblazers showed up in freezing weather for today's hike up to Oyster Dome from Chuckanut Highway. It was in the mid-20s (around 3.5C) when we started our hike today, but it was sunny with no wind, since we were on the lee side of the mountain, meaning we had plenty of sun but were blocked from the wind. This picture was taken just a short mile from the trailhead, and by this time we had all shed some clothes. (Rich always wears way less than everybody else, except Mikey, who was not with us today.)
Looking out at Samish Bay and across to Anacortes
Our first view of Samish Bay as we hiked upwards towards Oyster Dome shows the clear skies and beautiful views we had. You can see the plumes from the refinery near Anacortes, and behind are the Olympics, showing up quite clearly on the horizon. The conditions could not have been more perfect for us: no breeze, cold but not frigid, and all of us happy to find sunny conditions at the top of the dome. But after a short break (since it was still early), we headed off to Lily Lake for lunch.
Frozen ice on Lily Lake
We found a nice place in the sunshine, and we had a very leisurely lunch, with some people even taking a short nap in the sun. I think the temperature might have reached close to 60F (15C) in the sunshine, so nobody was anxious to jump up and go back into the shady forest. But of course we did need to do that in order to continue the hike.
Illuminated moss
The low angle of the sun allowed me to capture this picture of moss hanging from a branch as we were making our way back to our cars. Although the temperature was cold and we were sheltered from the wind, the humidity today was so much lower than usual it felt a bit like I had returned to my old Colorado haunts: until I would see such sights as moss hanging from the trees like this. I never saw anything like it before I came to the Pacific Northwest.
Samish Flats, with hikers in the foreground
With only two miles to go before we would return to our cars, we enjoyed the beautiful view from the newly constructed parking lot at Samish Flats. You can see the lush valley behind the hikers in the picture above. I love this particular spot, although today by the time we reached this place, I realized I was very tired and would be glad to see our cars. In total, we covered almost nine miles and 2,500 feet of elevation gain and loss on today's hike. There's a reason it's rated "moderate to hard." It is.

But now that I am home and enjoying my wine, my feet don't feel nearly as tired as they did. Another wonderful hike with the Senior Trailblazers!


  1. How very, very beautiful. My 'sweet spot' is around 15C so I would have been in my element. We will nudge 100F today, so I am loving this reminder that cool weather still exists.
    Thank you.

  2. glad you had sun and some shelter from the wind! i'd have been hard-pressed to leave that 60F spot. :)

  3. I love the blue sky we've been having this week.
    The wind finally slackened today, and tom and I wne out for a walk about noon, our first since returning from our trip. We walked our legs off while traveling and needed a rest for a while.

  4. That was a long hike today. You had beautiful weather.

  5. I love the sun glistening the edge of the moss - now that is a neat photo. I also like the crew overlooking the flats - all lovely photos. WOW - 9 miles now that is a long hike - you deserve to be relaxin. I also liked "some were snoozing in the sun" - I have actually done that during lunch break on a hike. It just feels so good. Lovely post DJan.

  6. Your photos seem more bright and colorful this time. Excellent photography!

  7. Good to see the sun shining on you instead of pouring rain. Loved the shot of the moss.

  8. Clear skies!1 Beautiful photos! I love that last photo...great perspective! We had -6 this AM...I am so not ready for below zero so soon it is supposed to be Fall yet NOT Winter. :(

  9. I was surprised at first when you said it was 20 degrees to see the lack of coats but it is true, when you exercise, you warm up. What a beautiful day and that moss was special.
    I am always so surprised when you causally mention that you just walked 9 miles.

  10. What a great place to hike! Great photos too.

  11. 20 degrees and then 80 in the sun. Wow. And what spectacular views. I really like the Olympics and the plume of exhaust in the distance AND the 'illuminated' moss. Spectacular.

    But, just teasing you DJ...the caption that says "Frozen Ice" on Lily there any other kind besides frozen?

  12. Some great pics., esp the "Illuminated moss." But I thought Washington was supposed to have a temperate climate with no snow, no frost. Mid-20s? Brrrr!


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