More than a month ago I made a no-notice visit to the Chuckanuts. It just so happened to also be my birthday and it also happened that there wasn't anything else going on at home so the family encouraged me to go for a hike.
How often does that happen? Once, twice, MAYBE three times a year (birthday, Father's Day and whenever they get tired of looking at my mug or listening to my lame jokes).
With the intention of being home before dinner I grabbed a handful of essentials and drove straight to the Samish Overlook. Having a vehicle with more than three inches of clearance really does come in quite handy much more frequently than I imagined it would!
Seeing as how the Chuckanuts are basically 'in my neighborhood', this trip seemed like a great opportunity to make the hike from Oyster Dome to Lily Lake. I knew there was at least one trail to make that connection and I hadn't ventured that route before... so it's what I would call "New To Me".
The trek started out with the typical cloudy late winter non-views from Samish Overlook and a moody Chuckanut forest.
First stop: Check out the now missing bridge over the creek on the way to the Bat Caves. Confirmed that the bridge is indeed missing. Since the creek is small, crossing isn't too tough but it does require more skill than a simple rock-hop.
After taking a few photos, a couple rock climbers showed up. Their target was Oyster Dome... via a vertical route instead of the trail.
One of them immediately crossed the creek without trouble. The other dude, however, headed a short distance up stream to survey his options. After a little contemplation, he removed his pack and attempted to toss it across the creek to the opposite side.
His attempt resulted in a splash as his throw was about four feet short of success. Whoops. Here he is (upper right) before that fiasco.
His pack landed in that little cove between the mid-creek log and the large root midway up the hill side on the opposite side of the creek.
More about these dudes later.
My route continued onward up the trail to Oyster Dome where I took a typical photo of the rainy day view of the scene.
There were small patches of snow in some places here and there.
From here I backtracked to the turnoff toward Lily Lake. This is were it becomes 'New to me'.
There isn't a lot to say about this section of the trail other than it was more pleasant and interesting than I had anticipated. A pleasant surprise.
Interestingly enought, it's pretty flat, it follows a nice creek, there are mining and railroad remnants in the area, the route is relatively wide open and it's only about a five or ten minute was to the last turn off for Lily Lake. This is right where the beavers have been busy too (as mentioned in my previous Lily Lake reports).
Since my last visit here, the Beavers have toppled another tree.
The shallow part of the lake near the beaver activity was still frozen over.
Just as I was ready to turn around, another hiker came toward me, hiking from the other direction. We chatted (now I've forgotten her name) and she'd been here before, but not down the path I had just come from.
We headed back the way I had come from together, chatting about Bellingham and our favorite hikes.
She hadn't been to the bat caves before so I showed her they way.
In the wet weather, the granite that makes up the entire Bat Caves are is REALLY slippery. Unbelievable slippery. We both fell at different times, Vibram soles immediatley useless.
It was also sad to see that someone has decided to force their interpretation of 'art' on all of us who come out here to escape the monstrosity of urbanscapes. Unbelievable.
Here we were also able to see the rock climbers slowly makeing progress up the cliff face. Very slow progress. I didn't have all day to watch them so it was time for me to head back to the car. It's unlikely that they made it to the top.
Back at the Samish Overlook, I followed the trail around the loop a short ways without finding too much of anything to capture my interest - except I did learn that mountain bikes are allowed out here.
Returned to the car and back home in time for a birthday dinner with a loving family.
About 6.25 miles round trip and 1,500 feet of elevation gain.