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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostTue Feb 17, 2009 11:02 am 
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We headed out to the Chuckanuts yesterday.  JimK introduced me to the Blanchard Mountain trails last summer;  though it was too hot a day for me to thoroughly enjoy the place, I saw enough to know I would definitely like it in normal Pacific NW weather.

I had brought an old Signpost magazine along that contains an interview with Eric Ryback (Winter 1974 issue).  Jim had fun reading it and perusing the other articles and advertisements - noting Dave Page's first business address - presumably his home - and oogling the bikini clad model for Stephenson gear.  Now there's drool all over my dashboard. rolleyes.gif

We took the Alger exit (#240) off I-5 and turned left, over the freeway.  After a mile or so we turned left onto Barrel Springs Road.  In a couple of miles we turned right at a clearcut area, onto a road with a hard-to-see sign that read “Blanchard Mountain Trails.”  We passed by the first parking area – this is the only parking area with a bathroom, passed by the small trailhead parking area to Lily Lake, and parked at the medium sized parking area just beyond.

We then walked the gated road uphill about a mile to well-signed Alternate Incline Trail (the old incline was a logging incline, a swath used to haul logs.  The Alternate Incline Trail is an actual built trail with switchbacks).  The trail winds through second growth forest.  We were impressed that there are many old trees interspersed here as well.  The assumption is that these trees were too young to cut then, and now are quite large.

The trail is a nice grade, and we had no blowdown to negotiate.  No massive mudholes, either  – the trail is in excellent condition, and the forest is very, very pretty.  After a couple of miles we hit the old railroad grade. Here are old rusty logging artifacts buried in the moss and fern.   We followed this to a junction with the Lizard Lake Trail.  Lizard Lake is under snow – not too deep, but hiker boots and mountain bikes have beaten it into a fairly slick groove.  After hanging out by a huge rock awhile, we went back to the main trail and headed to the junction with Lily Lake.  We continued another snowy mile to the Oyster Dome trail, which is in excellent condition – no snow on this trail.

On the way back, we passed by the spur trail to Lily Lake and turned right onto the  unsigned Lily Lake trail (beyond signed Max’s Shortcut trail) down to the second trailhead we had passed by on the way to our parking spot.  This Lily Lake trail is very, very pretty.  Large Doug fir trees grow along this trail, and nice creeklets trip down the fern draped slopes.  We listened to the wind in the treetops and an owl hooting in the distance.

We met only a few other hiking parties all day and a couple nice guys on mountain bikes.  We chatted a bit with them about the

The Lily Lake trail has received recent trail maintenance.
I like to read about the history of a trail when I visit it.  Here’s a nice little page about the settlement of Blanchard and the mountain’s logging history.

Jim at big rock
Jim at big rock
Branchy doug fir
Branchy doug fir
Alder in front of rock - lookalikes
Alder in front of rock - lookalikes
Best view of falls from Stupid Behemoth Bridge
Best view of falls from Stupid Behemoth Bridge
Spotted tree
Spotted tree
Colorful green rock at Oyster Dome viewpoint
Colorful green rock at Oyster Dome viewpoint
Hmmmm
Hmmmm
trees and rock
trees and rock
branchy doug fir and trail
branchy doug fir and trail
typical of a forest whose canopy is closing in - lower branches are dying and will soon fall, leaving the tall, branchless trunks we see in older forests whose canopy has already closed.  Blanchard Mtn was logged about a hundred years ago and now the forest is transitioning to another stage of life.
typical of a forest whose canopy is closing in - lower branches are dying and will soon fall, leaving the tall, branchless trunks we see in older forests whose canopy has already closed.  Blanchard Mtn was logged about a hundred years ago and now the forest is transitioning to another stage of life.
Snow hills and a patch of sunlight
Snow hills and a patch of sunlight
Reflection of trees
Reflection of trees
Reflection in pond with drop circle
Reflection in pond with drop circle

Rant:  There's a big stupid behemoth bridge built right over some beautiful waterfalls.  The bridge is a bit overkill.  They didn't think this one through....there are these long plank things that stick way the hell out so if you are tall enough to peer over the ridiculously tall top railing, you have these big planks and bolts sticking out.  There's a pretty creekbed there, but you can't actually see it.
This is the view that a person of average height can expect.
This is the view that a person of average height can expect.
Stupid Behemoth Bridge.  6'4" hiker for scale
Stupid Behemoth Bridge.  6'4" hiker for scale
What hikers are missing.  To see this, you have to exit the bridge.  Not difficult to do, but still....
What hikers are missing.  To see this, you have to exit the bridge.  Not difficult to do, but still....

Oh, and does anyone else have a love for the drinkamugamilkameal truck?  Everytime I see a drinkamugamilkameal truck, I happily hollerout:  "drinkamugamilkameal!"  It probably drives my freinds crazy(er), but I do it anyway.  Ya gotta love hollering out, "drinkamugamilkameal!"  I try to fit "drinkamugamilkameal" into a sentence as often as I can.  It's not easy unless a drinkamugamilkameal truck is around. 
Drinkamugamilkameal
Drinkamugamilkameal
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Bloated Chipmunk
Farblondjet



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 2619 | TRs
Location: Margaritaville
Bloated Chipmunk
Farblondjet
PostTue Feb 17, 2009 11:12 am 
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Quark wrote:

Oh, and does anyone else have a love for the drinkamugamilkameal truck?  Everytime I see a drinkamugamilkameal truck, I happily hollerout:  "drinkamugamilkameal!"  It probably drives my freinds crazy(er), but I do it anyway.  Ya gotta love hollering out, "drinkamugamilkameal!"  I try to fit "drinkamugamilkameal" into a sentence as often as I can.  It's not easy unless a drinkamugamilkameal truck is around. 
Drinkamugamilkameal
Drinkamugamilkameal

That is a funny truck.  Since I live down the street from the Darigold factory, these trucks are frequently maneuvering their way into the parking lot just as I'm trying trying to get home.  hmmm.gif It's all good though, it makes me think of Milky Way chocolate bars.  tongue.gif

Nice pics BTW.  smile.gif  up.gif  up.gif

--------------
Home is where the hiking is. 

"Peaks that have come and gone four times should halt a man in his steps." -- William O. Douglas

A balanced diet is a margarita in each hand.
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostTue Feb 17, 2009 11:20 am 
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I know!  I think I'll apply for a job there, just to be around those trucks.  I might drive everyone nuts though, hollering out, "drinkamugamilkameal!" all day.  It's sorta like Holden Caulfield's grandfather who had a habit of hollering out the street names while riding the bus.*



*ha!  who would have thought that a drinkamugamilkameal truck would help me in my ongoing project of eventually having quoted or paraphrasing every line in JD Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye."
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1803 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostTue Feb 17, 2009 11:31 pm 
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Quark wrote:
I know!  I think I'll apply for a job there, just to be around those trucks. 

lol.gif
I worked for them for a while... and I'll put in a good word for ya (heck, lots of good words for ya) ... but you'll prolly haffta move to Lynden.

Nice write up of Blanchard by the way.   up.gif
~E

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
My Trip List
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Highwalker's Daughter
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 1567 | TRs
Location: Snohomish, WA
Highwalker's Daughter
Member
PostWed Feb 18, 2009 7:03 pm 
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Thank you for the write up and the pictures as I was thinking of doing this one soon.  I've just been snowshoeing for weeks and am ready for something different.  It sounds like it will be a nice change.
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JimK
Member



Joined: 07 Feb 2002
Posts: 5382 | TRs
Location: Ballard
JimK
Member
PostThu Feb 19, 2009 2:07 pm 
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My turn to chime in.

Kim and I headed north for a Presidents Day hike. I first hiked to Oyster Dome in 2005(map at link). Last year I returned with Suzanne for a trip completely on snow. Later in the year Kim and I visited but did not make it to the viewpoint. This would be a good time for a return visit. On each of my previous visits I started on the east side of Blanchard Hill rather than off of Chuckanut Drive. This allows for more miles, many fewer people, lakes, and a variety of loops. We parked at the upper trailhead just a few miles from exit 240 off I-5. There were two cars already there. It was cold and cloudy though it was supposed to clear up and warm up.

Ice Patterns On My Car
Ice Patterns On My Car
Upper Trailhead
Upper Trailhead
Creek
Creek
View West
View West
Start Of Alt Incline Trail
Start Of Alt Incline Trail

We walked up the gated road to the Alternate Incline Trail. We had some views though the top of Mt. Baker was in the clouds. On my first visit only four years ago there was only a small sign off the road. The Incline Trail was there along with the Alternate Incline Trail. Now the Incline Trail is unsigned and hard to find. It is definitely closed. The upper end was much easier to see. The newer trail gently climbs up the hillside. There is a lot of green with the fir trees, moss, and underbrush. As we climbed we began to see small patches of snow. We passed the unsigned upper end of the old Incline Trail and began to see the old logging remnants.

First Snow
First Snow
Kim Is Stumped
Kim Is Stumped

When we reached the junction with the Pacific Northwest Trail. there was snow all over the trail. It was hard. A motorcycle track was right in the middle. It was deep enough to make it hard to walk in the narrow trench and hard not too. What was a motorcycle doing up there? A short walk to the right led to Lizard Lake. It is completely snow covered. A few photos and we headed back to the junction,. It was 11:00 already so we stopped for part of our lunches.

Lizard Lake
Lizard Lake
Icicle
Icicle

The railroad grade over to Lily Lake is pretty flat. The snow came and went but began to get a little deeper nearer to Lily Lake. We reached the Lily Lake junction and continued on the PNT. That would be our route back. There were fresh footprints in the snow and they were headed the opposite way. We passed the turn off to Lily Lake and continued on. The creek here lined with skunk cabbage in the spring but not a single one has sprouted through the snow.

PNT
PNT
Old Snag
Old Snag

The route begins a gently descent. We soon crossed the creek to the left bank.  We soon crossed back over. Puget Sound was visible in peek-a-boo looks through the forest. The junction with the  Oyster Trail still does not have any signs. We stayed right heading towards the Dome. The icy snow was more than a little slick and I hoped it would not be too slick on the last climb to the viewpoint. We finally met the first hikers of the day. They said that the snow actually disappeared up ahead.

One more climb and we topped out at the viewpoint There was only one other group there. We went to the highest point and had an unobstructed view to the west. It had been clearing and soon the sky was mostly blue. It was not all that warm but the sun made it feel like spring. We had a long lunch and enjoyed the views. Groups come and went. This in a popular place. Fortunately the vast majority take the short trail and avoid our route.

Oyster Dome View NW
Oyster Dome View NW
Oyster Dome View SW
Oyster Dome View SW

It's amazing how close the Sound is. The San Juan Islands were also right in front of us. All too soon we packed up and started down. We retraced our steps to the Lily Lake turn off and shortly after that reached the Lily Lake Trail. We found signs of very recent work on this trail. All downed trees have been logged out and a number of drainage ditches have been dug. The trail contours all over the side of the mountain. It is not the most direct route down but it is gentle on the knees. It crosses a number of small creeks some on bridges and some with easy rock hops.

Snowy Reflection
Snowy Reflection
Dry Beaver Pond
Dry Beaver Pond
Sun On Snow
Sun On Snow
Shooting The Shooter
Shooting The Shooter

One biker zoomed by us. I was surprised to not see any hikers coming up. We did see one thing I have never seen before. There is a tree right next to the trail. It is about 40 feet tall. It is covered in green leaves -- in February. The leaves are partly serrated like holly leaves. They are more rounded that holly and some had only one or even no serrations. Some small branches hang down like vines. What the heck is it? We have no idea. It would not stand out in the spring with the alder and maples are leafed out. In February it sure does.

Benches Near Creek
Benches Near Creek
Mystery Leaves
Mystery Leaves
Vine Like Branch
Vine Like Branch

After what seemed like a mile heading away from the trailhead we finally switched back and headed for the car. The road to the Samish Overlook comes into view long before the end. We just kept hiking a short distance above the road and never seemed to get closer. We met two more bikers who were coming down. It certainly was not crowded along our route. The sun was now low and it was getting pretty darn cold. I had gloves on all the way down. It felt about 25 degrees cooler at the car than at the viewpoint. When we returned there were no other cars.

This was a nice day on the trail. We had some snow but not enough to need gaiters. The sunshine at the viewpoint was a nice bonus. That weird tree was worth the hike by itself. After my steep and deep snow slog at Red Mountain on Saturday it was nice to hike on some dirt in the forest. We were too early for any flowers but still had a very nice time.

--------------
Hiking Northwest
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 14140 | TRs

Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostThu Feb 19, 2009 3:02 pm 
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God I'm fat.  And I have no chin!  huh.gif

The top of your car is gorgeous!  up.gif

Jim, did you get a side shot of that Stupid Behemoth Bridge that you can post?
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