On our only free weekend for the entire month of June, I'd planned for Andy and I to go out on our first backpacking trip of the year. Then I saw the weather forecast. By midweek, there were chance thunderstorms forecast for the entire area - not something I want to worry about when sleeping on the ground in a tiny, wet tent! Checking the forecast again on Friday that week, the thunderstorms had disappeared from the forecast, but there would still likely be rain. Still, I was determined to go so we loaded up our packs and hit the road early Saturday morning. Destination: The Lily Lake & Lizard Lake trailhead near Bellingham.
Parked at the trailhead, we hit our second obstacle. The parking pass we thought was usable as a Discover Pass was only valid on WDFW lands, not the Department of Natural Resources land we were currently on! Andy was ready to give up and go home until I saw on the trailhead sign that you can purchase the Discover Pass online and use your order confirmation number as a temporary pass. Armed with the appropriate (temporary) permit, we hit the trail. It was an easy gradual grade through pretty coastal woods. Although we never had the ocean views, the trail reminded me of hiking around Deception Pass.
About a mile in, Andy started noticing little bursts of red along the trail - ripe huckleberries already! We were both happy to take a break and eat our fill of the tart little jewels. Andy even talked of trying to save some to put in breakfast oatmeal, but sadly we had no convenient way to carry them. A good idea for next time though!
Since we hadn't carried anything heavier than our daypacks in nearly a year, Andy and I were surprised at how little the extra weight of our backpacking gear seemed to slow us down. My feet got sore a little quicker than usual, but otherwise we were in much better shape than we had expected. As we climbed, we occasionally noticed a light rain coming down through the trees, but mostly it didn't seem to be too wet and the activity was keeping us plenty warm.
Once we arrived at the lake and sat down at an unoccupied campsite to eat lunch, the cold caught up with us. Andy was convinced that between the off-and-on showers and the cold, we weren't prepared to comfortably spend the night. We had no tarps or other camp rain gear, and weren't at all sure how waterproof our 8 year old tent was. I wanted to wait a while, and thought if we just built a campfire (there were actually benches and fire pits at each campsite! What luxury!) the cold wouldn't be a problem. When it began to rain in earnest while I was taking photos after lunch, I finally, reluctantly, agreed we should head home. We shouldered our packs once again and headed back to the car. While I was disappointed not to spend the night, especially at such a nice site, hiking double the mileage in one day with our heavier packs was pretty satisfying. A good night's sleep in a comfortable bed was pretty great too.
It hadn't been the trip I'd planned, but it was still a wonderful weekend, and a good reminder to this type-a planner that it's ok for plans to change.