Oyster Dome Loop II

Snowing in the mountains. Chains required at Snoqualmie Pass. Janet and I chose a lower elevation hike. I visited Blanchard Hill and Oyster Dome in October. It as blue sky and low clouds all around. The inversion made it impossible to see anything but a layer of white below. This day was overcast but it would be a very different hike with the mountains hidden and Puget Sound visible. We started early, reaching the upper parking lot off of I-5 exit 240 at 9:10 am. There were only two vehicles in the lot. We did the loop counter clockwise, heading up the gated road to start. At the Mt. Baker viewpoint we saw only a wall of clouds. The snow level was below 2000' the day before. We saw snow on the hills driving up. Even at the high point of our trip we saw no snow at all. Most of the leaves I saw on trees in October have since fallen. Mostly bare branches now.

The mushroom display has improved if that is possible. Great then, maybe even better now. We headed up the Alternate Incline Trail. The previous days snow clearly fell as rain at this elevation. Lots of water running down the trails. I ware heavier boots and had dry feet all day. Our first stop was at Lizard Lake. Still plenty full of water. Nobody camping at the campsites. We did see some young folks later that were heading to camp at one of the lakes. We took the short cut trail and then the spur up to North Butte. No views at the Mt. Baker viewpoint. From the rocky high point we had great views of the Sound and Oyster Dome. It was 39 degrees and a little chilly when a light breeze blew. Part of lunch was consumed and by 11:30 am we were on our way down. The overcast sky really brought out the green color of all the moss and there is plenty of it.

We made a detour to the camping sites at the end of Lily Lake. The lake seems higher than I have seen it. The log walkway across the outlet was under water. At the junction with the trail to Oyster Dome we met a group of hikers heading to the lake. As expected we saw very few folks except near Oyster Dome. Many more mushrooms along the route from Lily Lake to Oyster Dome. The creeks that were easy to  step across just a month ago were runny high. At the junction with the trail coming up from Chuckanut Drive we began to see other hikers. Oyster Dome is seldom empty. A last climb and we reached the viewpoint. There were several groups there but nothing close to the more than two dozen on my earlier visit. The breeze was light and it was comfortable, even at 39 degrees. With a jacket on we stayed for half an hour. Nice views out except for the mountains. Last time I couldn't see the trees right below the Dome. At one point everyone left and we had the view to ourselves.

At 12:55 pm we headed back. Once past the junction the route was quiet except for the backpackers I mentioned earlier. We continued on the old railroad grade beyond Lily Lake. At the next junction we headed right on the Lily Lake Trail. A great display of mushrooms along the way. We did see a couple bikes that were coming up. Not many hikers. The descent is very easy. The gentleness of the trail does add more distance. It was only 2:45 pm when we reached the car. Plenty of time to drive home before dark.

The rain held off until we were on our way home. It was completely dry for the hike. This makes a fun 8+ mile hike with about 2000' of elevation gain. A good alternative when it is snowing hard in the mountains. Springtime has wildflowers and solitude so I'll likely be back in 4 or 5 months. All in all, a fun day on the trail.

First Of Many Shrooms
Cascading Creek
Lizard Lake
Lake Reflection
Beaver Lodge
Light & Dark
Lizard From Inlet
Mossy Rock
North Butte View
Janet At North Butte
Hiking Down
Leaves & Mushrooms
Lily Lake Color
Lone Mushroom
Oyster Dome View
North Butte From OD
Small Cascade
Janet Crosses Creek
Beautiful Color
Another Variety
Two Types
White Water
One Mushroom
Moss & Mushrooms
Lily Lake Panorama
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2013