I had the pleasure of taking my youngest daughter out hiking today. It wasn't the original plan for the day, but an unpredictable procession of events landed us both at Lake Samish Park, located in Whatcom County on Lake Samish (along I-5 for you out-of-towners).
This is a trail that doesn't seem to be written up anywhere in a book or online, except for my initial report in March 2007.
Not much has changed since then, although there was a lot less water underfoot and in the creek drainages.
We began a slow hike up the hillside switchbacks with Punk (short for Punkin, which started out as Pumpkin) leading the way. Taking our time... no agenda... no schedule... just enjoying the weather and the environment.
Windy Fall Colors
Stopped often to look at trees, plants, mushrooms, bugs and many other things.
Check it out
About halfway up we came across what I now call Punk Rock. Could be Lunch Rock for obvious reasons, but since it's not named on a map, I declared it to be Punk Rock. Had lunch. Read the rockfitti.
Enjoyed the available view.
Once rested and nourished, we decided to head directly up the pipeline route to the top.
Up the Pipeline
Parts were boggy and many parts were steep, with a small layer of soil on top of solid rock making for some slippery steps. With caution and dedication we proceeded up to the top at about 830 feet.
The view northward from the top at about 830 feet was less than impressive, I'm sorry to report. There are logging roads in the area and other nearby higher points which may lead to improved views, but those were left for some other day of exploring.
Our descent was uneventful, but we saw a lot more wildlife: 3 spiders, a wasp, a woodpecker and a few holes in the ground which Punk concluded must be snake holes.
Upon our return to the lake, Punk couldn't resist climbing up the lifeguard tower and testing out The Pole.
What I like about this trail is that it provides quick, high access into one of my favorite areas with lots of potential for future explorations when I have the time. The other upside of this trail is that it's a good intro to kids in that it provides interesting things to look at close up, along with a variety of ecosystems as well as some real elevation gain... all with an easy escape route.
What I don't like about this trail is that it just doesn't deliver the punch that one expects from the Chuckanut or Blanchard area.
If you really want the views, you'll have to visit Oyster Dome or Raptor Ridge with the rest of Whatcom County. Alternatively, try exploring the logging roads east of I-5 along the Lake Samish corridor. Reaching the top of that range provides some jaw dropping views of the San Juans.
Hopefully next Saturday I'll be able to tackle Pilchuck (with a view!) before the gate gets closed for the winter.
-------------- "Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas." ~John Dryden
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