November 21, 2015.
6.5 mi | 1900′ | 4:15 hr.
I arrived at the Chuckanut Drive trailhead and set out for Oyster Dome nice and early this morning. It was cold and dark in the dense, coastal forest. Although I knew Samish Bay was closeby, for most of the hike my view was blocked by trees.
The trail went consistently up, and up and up. I paused frequently to catch my breath. I was on a time schedule, as I would be meeting with a training group later in the day. But I made good time up the trail, reaching the Samish Overlook and then continuing on towards the top. Signs on the trail indicated that work crews were making trail improvements. Being unfamiliar with the area, I wasn’t sure if there was some recent damage to the trail or if it was work that needed to be done for awhile. I cautiously proceeded around the signs and eroded areas to continue on towards the top.
The summit was a bit anti-climactic. It was choked with trees. A small bald spot on the bedrock provided something of a view. But the rock sloped off steeply towards, presumably, a cliff…so I didn’t venture out too far.
It was still pretty early and cold. I sat there and took in the views, keeping an eye on the time. I had to be back at Larabee State Park for a workshop later this morning.
I only saw two people on my way up. On the way down, it was another story. People had woken up and gotten out to the trailhead. Many were tromping up the trail now.
On this hike I had passed by a few signs for the Pacific Northwest Trail. I’d never heard of it before. When I got back home I did some research. Turns out it was a 1200 mile trail leading from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean, traveling along the northern borders of Montana, Idaho and Washington State along the way. Interesting. It certainly didn’t get the same amount of press as, say, the PCT or the AT.
Back on the trail, the forest passed me by like a blur. I raced back down, traveling more quickly than I had on my way up. Downhill was always easier. When I got back to the road, now packed with cars all over the place, I already missed the forest. Funny how you don’t always appreciate things when they’re right in front of you.