Fragrance Lake

Janet was free for a hike and we settled on a trip north to Chuckanut Mountain. Thanks to the pandemic we had not hiked together in a year and a half. Because of it we drove separately to the Two Dollar Trailhead off Chuckanut Drive just south of Bellingham. There were only two cars there at 8:12. It was in the low 40s but dry as we set out. The trail climbs in switchbacks then begins a traverse to Fragrance Lake. Not far along we met a couple heading back. That accounted for one of the cars. We saw nobody else before the lake. The waterfall had a pretty good flow. Time for obligatory photo stop. We reached the lake at about 9:18 am. We took just under an hour to hike about 2 miles. We were not out for a fast hike. Our route was around the lake clockwise. On the way back we went around the other side of the lake. The water was still as there was no wind. Good for reflections.

By the end of the lake we started to see people. The trail up from Chuckanut Drive is more popular and reached the lake at this end. Once past the junction with that trail it became much quieter again. Just as expected. At the junction with the old road we went left uphill towards Cleator Road and the Cyrus Gates Overlook. Our loop would bring us back to this junction later in the day. The old road is grassy and easy walking. The grade is uphill but gentle. After about .60 miles we reached Cleator Road. We parked 2.5 miles down Cleator Road. We turned right uphill on the gravel road This was the only active gravel road we hiked. Another .60 miles brought us to the overlook. There were 8 or 9 cars parked there. Seven of them were Toyotas or Subarus. Most were white. The other two were trucks. So much for diversity.

It was only 10:38 when we reached the overlook. Time for an early lunch. Breakfast was at 6:20 am. There was a view this day. The sky was white but we only had a few low clouds blow through. It was 10:58 when we were back on our way. A short hike in forest brought us to the start of the Rock Trail. It begins with a series of steep wooden stairs dropping down a steep slope. After that the route is a traverse beneath  near vertical sandstone cliffs. In places the rock overhangs the trail. Sandstone is pretty rare in Washington. This is on of only a few places I hike with sandstone. There is some colored lichens on the rock. There are some spots with pockmarks too. The biggest ones allow a head to enter and creates headless hikers. I have quite a few photos of this.

Big rocks fall from above. Over time they are covered with moss and ferns. This makes for some colorful photos. I have quite a few taken over the past few years. This trail opened in April of 2014 so it is only 6.5 years old. The rock trail had more folks than I have ever seen on it. Not unending groups but at least half a dozen or more. All day folks were pretty good about wearing masks. We reached the bottom at 11:45 am. We headed to the right. The next section is a steady but gentle ascend on a road/trail. With all the falling leaves it was covered. There were quite a few white mushrooms along here. We saw them in other places too. They grew in a dense grouping.

Just before the high point we found two horses and some horse riders with a saw cutting out a down tree. We waited until it was cut to pass by. At the high point we turned off left to a viewpoint. Some views out to the nearby islands. Time for the rest of our lunches. back at the trail junction we turned left and continued our loop. Now it is mostly downhill. We saw a few runners and hikers here. More of the white mushrooms too. At the Double Diamond bike trail coming down from the overlook we saw some bikers. At the junction with the old road we saw more. We followed the old road to the right and soon completed our loop. A left turn took us back to Fragrance Lake. Near the outlet we turned left on a bridge. This took us around the part of the lake we had missed in the morning. This trail climbs a bit. Right above the trail is a near vertical sandstone wall. The rock is really impressive.

Back at the end of the lake we picked up the trail we came in on. Now we just had two miles back to the trailhead. There were a few more groups coming in on the Two Dollar Trail. The hike out seemed to have a lot more uphill  than the trail in had downhill. Just an illusion I'm sure. We reached the cars at 2:22 pm. We took 5:57 to hike 9 miles with 2000' of elevation gain. It was nice to see Janet again. We planned a hike where we would not see a whole lot of people and that was a success. We saw folks off and on but had long stretches of solitude as well. We had some views and a lake plus the Rock Trail. All in all a fun day in the lowland mountains.

Big Waterfall
Fragrance Lake
Nice Reflection
Snowy Peaks
Cyrus Gates Overlook
Janet Descends Stairs
Along The Cliff
Janet Leads The Way
Lichen The Wet Rocks
Photogenic Rocks
Sun Lit Ferns & Moss
White Rock
Sunshine On The Wall
Folks Stopped Ahead
Green Boulders
Headless Hiker
Another Boulder
Fallen Leaves
Hairy Rock
Ascending Again
Hanging Ferns
Witch's Butter
Heading North
White Mushrooms
Shrooms & Janet
Tree Anchors?
Another Rock Wall
Straight Up
Fragrance Lake Again
Yellow Leaves
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2020