I've already written a little about our recent night spent at Lizard Lakes, but the nocturnal drama aside, it was a great trip. While it was overcast and a little chilly as we left the trailhead, it wasn't raining - a first for us hiking this trail! I'd chosen the trail to Lily & Lizard Lakes for this trip for several reasons, but mostly I looked forward to exploring the network of trails more. I also hoped we'd get to enjoy a great sunset from nearby Oyster Dome! For a few years now, I've had a picture in my head of a dreamy solstice backpacking trip, with long days to explore a rocky alpine wonderland and a phenomenal sunset. With so much snow still left in the mountains, an alpine adventure wasn't an option, but this seemed like an excellent alternative.
We set off carrying our heavier overnight packs for the first time since last summer, but with the cool weather and fairly gradual climb, we hardly noticed the extra weight. As we hiked toward Lily Lake on the familiar trail, I was amazed by how few signs of summer I found compared to our hike in 2016, only a week earlier. The new spring ferns were still unfurling, and there wasn't a single huckleberry to be found!
Without berries to snack on during our hike up Blanchard Mountain, we made good time, reaching Lily Lake by 11 AM. Since we'd never ventured further than Lily Lake, and we found a large, loud group already set up for the night, we decided to venture on to Lizard Lake to see what it had to offer. We found Lizard Lake more peaceful, with several options for campsites with a view of the large lake. I was also excited about the many signs of beaver activity, so we decided to set up camp at Lizard Lake, in the hopes of seeing some of the busy rodents. After eating lunch, Andy set off to gather firewood, while I decided to head for Oyster Dome. We'd begun to see a few patches of blue sky, and my hopes for a good sunset over the San Juans were renewed.
By the time I reached Oyster Dome, those patches of blue sky had vanished, and a heavy blanket of clouds had settled in. With no sun to be seen, there would certainly be no sunset. I was disappointed to have the weather refuse to cooperate with my plans, but even on a hazy day the views from Oyster Dome were awe-inspiring and well worth the hike. I also found the quieter approach from the Lily Lake trail much preferable to the crowded, steep climb from Chuckanut Drive. If you're looking to visit Oyster Dome, I'd highly recommend taking the Lily Lake trail for a more peaceful trip!
After making the trek back to our campsite at Lizard Lake, I joined Andy for a lovely evening around a campfire shared with the other groups camping at the lake, cooking our various meals over the fire, swapping stories, and laughing a lot. As dusk approached, we noticed ripples in the water. We'd seen several ducks paddling around the lake, but this time it was definitely something larger - a beaver! He swam back and forth near the shore, warning his friends by slapping the water with his tail several times as I snapped photos. After his show, darkness settled and I headed to the tent for a early bedtime. After the excitement that followed that night, I don't know that I'll return to these lakes soon, but it was certainly a trip we won't soon forget!