A Hike: Oyster Dome

By Leslie Parks - Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sometimes we have expectations and plans in life and when they don't happen we are disappointed or angry or despressed or all of them. We have these ideas of beauty and how something would be perfect and even if it did turn out the way you want it would be a let down or you'd realize that it wasn't as perfect as you envisioned.  Take this hike for example.  Earlier in the summer we had taken the kids to Oyster Dome and it was a beautiful hot Northwest Summer Day. The sky was clear, the ocean was calm and once at the top we just wanted something like ice cold lemonade. We rested and enjoyed the incredible view of the San Juan Islands. This hike was going to be the same. It had been clear and warm all week. I wanted to start October out with a hike to kick off the month. John convinced me to wait until Friday and he would head out with me. I had made bread, bought brie, and a friend gave me smoked salmon. I had packed all this in the pack for a tete a tete lunch with my husband on top of Oyster Dome.
 It was cloudy and overcast. We arrived at the trailhead and the sky became darker, threatening and the clouds decended masking the trees in fog.  We jumped out of the van and started making our way up the hill. I walked with my eyes wide open, looking for signs of fall. I found some bluish grey downy like feathers hanging on a spider's delicate almost invisible web. Then the leaves that were just starting to turn colors were creating a design with their shapes against the grey sky. The surprise of  an orange and yellow decidious bush among the cedar and fir trees, the lichen clinging to a branch colored in greys and greens hanging over the trail were some of the beauty and treasures that I found on the way.  We continued further even with sprinkles of rain to find that the ocean and sky merge into one with no clear boundary for either. Then came the trees rising straight and tall, devoid of leaves, only to be wrapped in mist and light that danced around the trunks making me feel like I've stepped into a story right at the mysterious part, waiting for something. I could almost hear the music grow. I stepped around the bend and continued on, with the trees and mist at my back.  I entered into almost a fairyland with the evergreen moss and colonies of mushrooms at my feet. I looked about waiting for something to flutter by or even an elf to glide in and out of the shadows but searched in vain. At my feet was a feather instead, signalling another creature alive in the woods, different from the first. This feather was orange and black, vibrant and perfectly in line with the path almost marking the end of the trail. The Dome greeted us with large drops of water falling from the trees and gusts of wind. The only dry spot was the rocky ledge and we looked out to nothingness. On a clear day you can see islands and water and boats and the curve of the earth but this day, it was covered and quiet and still. Too cold for the picnic lunch I had imagined so we quickly made our way down so my fingers could warm up. Each step of the path, I looked, taking my time to observe and enjoy the mysterious and quiet of the trail. Each step brought me closer to home and warmth and family. This hike was nothing like my expectation and yet so much more because I was looking for it. I was looking for the beauty, the imagination, the adventure of October and so instead of anger or depression, or sorrow, I found beauty in the wet and grey.

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