Destination: Blanchard Hill 2310 & Oyster Dome 2085 (USGS Bellingham South)
I had heard that Oyster Dome had a rare cover of snow and frost. So I hiked up from the PNT trailhead on Chuckanut Drive.
I filled out the trip with visits to four spots:
Blanchard Hill (2310 feet, 1740P), which is actually the high point of Chuckanut Mtn but has no views (basically a snowy lump surrounded by trees).
Lily Lake, just to see what it looked like (basically a flat snowy area surrounded by trees).
Oyster Dome for the only ocean view and pretty frosty trees.
And a hike 140 feet down a steep slope from the highway to Samish Bay, so I could have a complete sea to summit experience. I learned why the bay is labeled "MUD" on the map.
The trail was snowy from 800 feet upward. The packed snow was okay with my boots and poles, but spikes might be good. There were lots of people on the Oyster trail, only one set of footprints to Lily Lake, and no tracks to Blanchard. Snow maxed out at about 18 inches deep.
View from Oyster Dome
Blanchard Oyster GPS Track
Pacific Northwest Trail rock (there's also a large sign and area map 100 feet up the trail)
Snowy trail upward
the most frequent sign along the way
Misty frost trees
Summit view from Blanchard Hill
another view near Oyster Dome
Mud flat Samish Bay shoreline
Wood is Stronger than Metal
I wondered who had bent this sign, and then realized that the tree had done it, growing outward under the sign and crumpling it.
Bent sign (The hidden top line begins: "The striations atop this...")
Side view of the sign
Stats: 9.3 miles, 2770 gain, 5:10 hours
For driving, take Chuckanut Drive (Hwy 11) 10 miles from I-5. The PNT has no sign or official trailhead, but there is space to park on the west side of the highway. It's about 0.25 miles south of Samish, WA.
For Oyster Dome, just follow the many trail signs.
For Blanchard Hill, take the Lily Lake trail to the junction between the two lower lakelets, then just follow the rib uphill to its high point, moderately steep and only minor brush.
-------------- “As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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