After the wettest March in decades, Washington made up for the misery by serving up record-breaking heat and sunshine for Easter weekend. JK, Wellie and I celebrated by basking in the sun on Oyster Dome.
Luckily we got an early start for once and were able to enjoy some almost-alone time on the Dome before the hordes arrived. I loved seeing lots of happy, smiling people enjoying themselves outdoors, but once we all congregated on the edge of a cliff, the acrophobic introvert in me decided it was time to hike on.
When we hiked Oyster Dome last year, we started at the regular trailhead along Chuckanut Drive. This time we followed Tom’s recommendation to start at Samish Overlook instead, and it will definitely be our default route from now on since the views from the trailhead are actually better than from the top. It also cuts a whole bunch of the mileage and elevation gain (which isn’t much to begin with), so we decided to visit the neighborhood lakes before heading home.
The side trip paid off – as we were walking along Lily Lake, a sudden, loud squawking scared the bejesus out of us. We saw two huge (so much bigger than Wellie!!) bald eagles two feet off the trail, giving us the stink-eye.
They were not happy about being interrupted in their exploration of the birds and the bees (spread-eagle?), but they decided to a) let us pass and b) not eat Wellie. It was the coolest wildlife sighting of my life so far, better than all the bears and even the marmots we saw making sweet love on Mount Baker.
We looped our way back to the trailhead where we sat down to eat the rest of our lunch and enjoy the sun and views. It’s a good life we lead.
– Oyster Dome | 7 miles | 1650 feet elevation gain –
We don’t usually bring Wellie snowshoeing since he is basically devoid of both fur and insulating body fat, but once in a while it’s warm enough or, in this case, short enough that we feel it’s safe for him to come along. The good thing about having a 17-lb dog is that if he gets cold or injured, we know we can carry him out in one of our packs.
Turns out there was no reason to worry about bringing him to Heather Lake – the first mile or so was
dry bare, and once we hit the snow, there was such a hard-packed trench that we didn’t even need snowshoes. However, once we stepped off-trail to find a good lunch spot, we would immediately sink crotch-deep. Looks like it’s going to be another slow melt in the Cascades this summer, so you can look forward to lots of whining on this blog come June. Yay!
Wellie wasn’t the only vertically challenged canine out there that day, he made friends with two absolutely adorable Boston Terriers. See, all the cool dogs wear coats!
There’s not much to say about this hike, really. It was just…great. I had an awesome day. Unhurried hiking, a family nap in the sunshine, sharing stroopwafels while watching avalanches tumbling down from Mount Pilchuck…yeah, it was basically just great.
I think I’m over the mindset of always trying to challenge myself on trail – this season, my only hiking goal will be to enjoy myself. That’s why we’re all out there in the first place, right?
– Heather Lake | 4 miles | 1100 feet elevation gain –