Day Hiking: North Cascades
by Craig Romano (The Mountaineers Books)
© Craig Romano/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
There were already several cars parked at the side of the road when we arrived at the trailhead at about 9:30 AM. Throughout the course of the day we saw many people, most with unleashed dogs (Arrgh!). Initially, the trail is well maintained and easy to follow (albeit rather steep). After you head up the left fork onto the Samish Bay Connection Trail/Oyster Dome Trail, the trail gets more rugged. It's still easy to follow, but expect a lot of rocks and roots to slow you down. We took the side trail to the Bat Caves, which is mostly just a bunch of large boulders with dark recesses. Nevertheless, the view of Oyster Dome from its base made it worthwhile. When we got to the top of Oyster Dome at about 12:30, there were already four other groups up there eating lunch. Despite the overcast day, the view was spectacular. Well worth the climb. After lunch we continued east a short ways to Lily Lake, and then followed the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Trail back down the mountain. On this portion we had to step aside twice to allow a group of mountain bikers to pass. There were also several piles of horse manure to step around. Still, it was well worth the extra two miles. The PNW Trail is much less rugged and steep than the Oyster Dome Trail. Also, in addition to enjoying the spectacular view from the Samish Overlook, we got to watch a couple of paragliders takeoff. Overall, this was a nice hike and the views made it well worth the effort. If not for crowds with their unleashed dogs, mountain bikers, and horse manure, I would have probably given this hike four stars.
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