I had this great plan for getting up super early, pre-dawn-style, hopping a ferry over to the Olympic Peninsula and adventuring through a trail system along a lake. That didn’t so much happen.
However, what did happen: I slept in a bit. Read a book. Decided to clean up, throw on some athletic gear and take a drive up to Picture Lake, snap some pretty pictures, and be content on my first foray out into the wilderness now that the doctor has cleared me for more “strenuous” activity than sitting on my backside. But that kind of didn’t totally happen either.
My buddy, Lilly recommended taking Highway 11 along the coast up to Highway 542 – instead, I took I-5 up to 542 and saved Highway 11 for the trip back down. No matter which way you go, take 11!
I came upon Horseshoe Bend which runs along the North Fork Nooksack River: an absolutely stunning river with pretty see-through bluish-green water running over some gigantic boulders as it’s fed by snow melt.
Not wanting to lose the great daylight I had, I headed up the mountain only to find the road to Picture Lake closed and I was forced into the ski chalet area. Not such a bad deal as you get to see the peak of Mount Shuksan (a glaciated massif) and some of the other surrounding mountains.
Having run into the roadblock, I decided to go back down to Horseshoe Bend to explore the easy/moderate trail system in its entirety for two reasons: 1) It was easy/moderate and therefore do-able after being out of the game of physical activity for the last 3 1/2 months, and 2) it was just really pretty.
After heading back down the way and over to Highway 11 heading south, I stopped off in Chuckanut Bay for a glorious view of the San Juan Islands as the sun began its descent.
If you’re ever up in the area, get out of the car, take a tiptoe through the woods, and catch a beautiful sunset over the San Juan Islands!