Oysters on a Sunday


Let’s face it – Jon’s schedule sucks.  While I am an 8 to 5’er, with weekends and holidays off, Jon has an extremely unpredictable schedule.  He works an endlessly flip-flopping schedule of days, afternoons and evenings, with the occasional two or three week stint of graveyard shifts.  He gets one weekend off per month, and he is supposed to get one other Sunday off each month (but he usually doesn’t).  The only predictable part of Jon’s schedule is the fact that I typically have no idea when he is working the next week, or even the next day.

One weekend off per month, and one Sunday.  Let that sink in…  That means, that unless we are on vacation, Jon and I get a maximum of three days off together each month.  That sucks…

Earlier this summer, Jon did get a Sunday off, and we took the opportunity to do a local hike to Oyster Dome.  There are two different starting points for the trail, depending on if you want to take the long, hard way, or the short, hard way.  We did the long one.

The trail starts out with a series of switchbacks, with steep sections and not so steep sections.  But there are enough switchbacks in the woods that you begin to wonder if they will ever end.  The answer is no – I really believe that they just continue on forever.  There are a few places along the way where you are greeted with beautiful views of Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands, and the Skagit Tide Flats.  Stunning!

The day that we were there, it was threatening to rain, which made for an extremely humid day.  The humidity enveloped the woods in an ethereal mist that was really beautiful to see, but difficult to capture in photos.  The cloud cover also meant that parts of the woods were fairly dark, giving it a foreboding horror movie feeling.

Hiking in the Misty Woods – that’s Jon up ahead

Hiking in the Misty Woods – that’s Jon up ahead

The switchbacks eventually end, and we hiked quietly through the woods for awhile, over a few small creeks and boggy areas, until we were greeted with a scramble straight up the hill over tree roots and loose rocks.  It is the hardy hiker that doesn’t resort to grabbing a tree branch here or there to steady himself.

Then comes more wandering through the woods, past huge, old chains that once helped loggers haul gigantic trees out of these woods.  When logging operations ceased, they just left some of the bigger equipment there.  We also saw the old marks on tree stumps made by the springboards; loggers would make notches in the trees to insert boards to stand on.  This allowed them to cut high enough where the tree was narrower and the saw could fit around it.  Of course, this left stumps between 6 and 10 feet tall that are still standing today.

Evidence of Century Old Logging

Evidence of Century Old Logging

When you finally get to the top of Oyster Dome (I have no idea why it is called that), you come out of the woods to stand on a huge, bare rock overlooking the Bay and the Tide Flats.  The view is beautiful and peaceful.  This is always where I realize that the grueling hike was worth it.

Looking Out Over the Tide Flats of Skagit County

Looking Out Over the Tide Flats of Skagit County

Skagit County Farmland – With Ominous Clouds Above

Skagit County Farmland – With Ominous Clouds Above

The hike back down is the same trail – so it is the same steep, tree root and rock scramble in reverse, and then we hiked down the never-ending switchbacks to the bottom.  By the time we reached the road, my legs were jelly and I swear I used muscles I never knew I had.  I was soaked in sweat, but I was proud of my accomplishment.  This is one of my favorite hikes at home; it is beautiful and a great workout!

Note: The entire hike is 6 miles roundtrip and is listed in the hiking books as strenuous.  But if you decide to do it, the views are spectacular!

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10 thoughts on “Oysters on a Sunday

  1. That looks like a hike I would love. Terrific photos. Unpredictable schedules are a PITA! For the last 12 years of my working life, I worked EVERY Saturday/Sunday, unless I was on vacation. But, I sure did love my Tuesday/Wednesday ‘weekend’. Having a variable schedule would be tough.

    • I bet you would love it – it is gorgeous and a really butt workout! The only drawback is that it can be really busy on sunny summer weekends. There certainly are some perks to having weekdays off – it just makes it tough when we are both on such different schedules. And each week Jon has different days off… But we are still pretty blessed, so I try to look on the bright side. 🙂

  2. Your photos are amazing! Having different days off is miserable. I’m glad you make the most of them when they come along. 🙂

    • We try to! Sometimes our plans get mucked up though! For Jon’s weekend off in November we were going to go to Eastern WA, but the passes closed due to a snowstorm. And then we were going to go to a Wildlife Refuge a couple hours south, but here on the west side of the mountains it dumped rain. Thwarted! So instead I reminisce about some beautiful weekends! 🙂

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