|Me at the starting point of today's hike|
Although this picture of me (taken by Melanie) shows the sign at the beginning of our hike, it was actually taken at the end, after almost nine miles and around 2,200 feet of elevation gain and loss. Sixteen Trailblazers hiked the trail without Al leading us; instead, Chris and Richard took over the reins. But Al had figured out the itinerary and sent it along with them.
|Admiring a waterfall on the trail|
We started out on the Two Dollar trail to Fragrance Lake, and then went up the South Lost Lake trail until it split and then we meandered up the Rock trail. It was a good group, although there was an element of "herd hiking" with so many of us, and some I either had never met before or only knew slightly. With that many people, it's hard to spend time with everybody.
|South Lost Lake trail in winter|
The leaves are all off the trees, making for a definite winter scene, but the weather was mild and rain, which was in the forecast, didn't dampen us at all; the rain was expected later in the day, but you never know for sure, so we were ready.
|Making our way up the steps on the Rock trail|
As we were hiking up the Rock trail to Gates Overlook, I saw this picture of six of our numbers looking very picturesque, so I entreated them to stop for a picture. That's Bob and then Katie, Louann, Mike, Melanie, and our leader, Chris.
|Some of the massive rocks|
I have now seen this trail in many conditions, gone up sometimes and down sometimes. I much prefer going up it, because it's a hard one on the knees on downhill, at least for me.
|The view from Gates Overlook|
And then we were at the Overlook, where we stopped for lunch. The Forest Service has recently thinned the trees so that you can actually look down at Bellingham Bay. As you can see, the weather was still not threatening, so we allowed ourselves to enjoy a leisurely lunch before we got too cold.
|Smooth Fragrance Lake|
After that, we made our way back to Fragrance Lake and walked the rest of the loop (at the top of the Two Dollar trail, you can go either direction to circle the lake) and walked the final 1.7-mile trip back to our cars. It was nice to see them in the distance, as I was wishing my feet could rest a little, and then there they were! Like magic.
It was a very good day, and as I drove home, fat raindrops began to fall on my car's windshield. I smiled to myself and thanked the weather gods for another good day, Al for the great itinerary, and Chris and Richard for leading.