Thursday, July 7, 2016

A fine day for a local hike

Our hike started from Chuckanut Highway
Since the weather forecast was for plenty of rain in the High Country, as well as some around home, it just didn't make sense to drive for more than an hour in order to hike in the rain, which we could do just as well right here. So, nine Senior Trailblazers agreed to hike up Oyster Dome, one of our winter hikes, where we could turn around and go back easily if the weather didn't cooperate.
Rich and Chris
Al didn't join us today, as he had some workers coming to his house, so Chris was willing to be in the lead and let me ask her to slow down if I couldn't keep up. We began in the rain but it was very light, nothing to deter such determined hikers. This trail goes uphill all the way to Oyster Dome, more than a couple of thousand feet, so even though it was raining, we kept taking off more clothes to get comfortable.
Chris on Oyster Dome, no view
Once we reached the top, the cold wind and our wet gear meant it was time to pile all those clothes right back on. The trail has been completely renovated in the past couple of years, and boy does it make a difference. It was truly enjoyable, but since it was cold and still early, we decided to head over to Lily Lake and Samish Overlook. This increases the distance of the hike by several miles, but the weather didn't seem to be deteriorating, so off we went.
Lily Lake
We stopped for lunch at Lily Lake and saw a mother duck and her goslings on the lake, but they were too far away for a picture. We settled into the trees and had a very nice lunch before heading to Samish Overlook via Max's Shortcut.
Samish Flats at low tide
When we got to Samish Overlook, you can see that the rain had stopped and that there were some oyster farms visible in the low tide. That dark square in the middle, just to the left of center, is an oyster farm. This link will tell you how it's done. We discussed it and nobody knew for sure, but agreed it was something of interest to us.
Oysters start out as larvae, so small that they are invisible to the naked eye. In about a year, they can grow to 1 – 1-1/2 inches. They usually reach market size within 18 months to 2 years time.
Steve, Carol, Sylvia, Rich, Mike, Chris, Roger, Kirk, me in front of Mike
By the time we were ready to head back down to the highway, the weather had cleared so much that I asked for a picture. A passerby offered to take the picture so I could get in it, too, and this shows nine very happy hikers and a spectacular view of the Samish Bay behind us.
Map showing our hike
This map shows what we accomplished today. We started at the highway and proceeded up the red line until we met that light green line that shows the trail up to Oyster Dome. They we backtracked to the blue line and up to Lily Lake. We took Max's Shortcut to the big arrow, showing Samish Overlook. Then we headed back down the red line to the road and our cars.
Ghost plant
On the way down, we saw this outcropping of monotropa uniflora, also known as ghost plant, Indian pipe, or corpse plant. A very exotic and beautiful plant, I learned this from that link:
Unlike most plants, it is white and does not contain chlorophyll. Instead of generating energy from sunlight, it is parasitic, more specifically a myco-heterotroph. Its hosts are certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees.
It was a real treat to see it! And with that, I conclude this post, having covered more than nine miles and more than 2,500 feet of elevation, with great company and a lot of satisfaction. This was a very special day and now I'm ready to relax into my easy chair.


  1. Love your photo of Samish Flats.

  2. Support in your hiking group gets you a long way. If you were alone you'd talk yourself out of going. the group talks itself into a challenge an along the way there is enjoyment.

  3. I'm glad your group went out hiking despite the forecast. I don't mind hiking in a little bit of rain. But it looks like you got lucky today!

  4. You deserve to relax. And I hope that relaxation included wine o'clock.
    Loved the ghost plant. And the group portrait.

  5. That was a long, strenuous hike.I have not seen Indian Pipe for a long time. Love that plant!

  6. What a beautiful plant! You had a good day, I hope your knee behaved! :)

  7. What a lovely hike! Your photos are beautiful. Nothing like an energizing hike to bring on the feel good chemicals in our brain that make us happy :-)

  8. I love our hikes, Jan. This was a great one.

    I have been looking for Indian pipe here, so it was a thrill for me to see it too!

  9. LOVE the misty scene for the backdrop in the 2nd photo [with Rich and Chris]!! Absolutely incredible.

  10. As always, thank you for sharing your beautiful walk. All NINE miles of it. So impressed.

  11. Sounds like you all made the right choice and had a fairly good hiking weather day. Besides the great panoramic views, I always enjoy the pictures you take of the plants and people. :)

  12. I am always how impressed that you all seem to carry clothes for any weather condition. What little hiking I have done made me realize that any extra weight carried really increases energy output.
    I really prefer the name ghost plant to corpse plant. The stark white is quite pretty.

  13. Nine miles up and down hill, that's quite a hike (as always!).

  14. Such pretty photos! And the camaraderie was just as nice as the hike.

  15. As always, the countryside is beautiful and the views are dramatic!

  16. Sublime views from up above Samish Bay! I've never seen that Ghost plant.

  17. really glad you had a great hike. nice to get a full-group photo. :) the ghost plant is very cool.


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