A Fall Hike to Lost Lake

Admiring the Chuckanut Sandstone cliffs

On Saturday Reconnect Earth set out on our first weekend day trip of the Fall 2019 season: a hike to beautiful Lost Lake in The Chuckanut Mountains just sought of Bellingham. Our group of seven people started at the North Chuckanut Mountain Trailhead, following the Hemlock and North Lost Lake Trails which took us gradually uphill higher into the Chuckanuts. Large Douglas-fir and western red cedar trees towered above us, and we paused throughout the trip to identify and talk about local plant species that also included western hemlock, big-leaf and vine maples, Oregon grape, sword ferns, and many others. Bird calls and the occasional long trill of a Douglas squirrel sounded from the forest canopy above us.

As we approached Lost Lake our group also stopped to appreciate one of the most impressive landscape features in this area: the immense Chuckanut Sandstone cliff formations. We looked up at these cliffs composed of compressed marine sediments that accumulated over the course of millions of years. Today the Chuckanut Sandstone shelters a variety of lichens that grow in the open rock face, and are a great place to look for fossils of ancient plant life.

Finally we reached the lake itself, a secluded spot in the heart of the Chuckanuts where water lilies float on the water’s calm surface and dragonflies patrol their territory. Some of us ventured out on fallen logs that took us several yards over the lake itself, while others chose to stay safely on shore. After exploring the lake for a while our group gathered together and had an lively discussion about climate change and its impacts on Washington. We also discussed groups and individuals who are taking the lead on confronting the climate crisis, from local sustainable business owners to the global Climate Strike movement.

Photo credit: Jonny Lee

On the return trip to the trailhead we had almost reached our destination when we were treated to a last unexpected wildlife encounter: two deer wandering across the trail who we were able to approach within feet of. It was a fitting conclusion to another memorable adventure into Northwest Washington’s wild places with Reconnect Earth.

Want to join one of our next weekend day trips coming up this fall? Find out more about them and sign up here.

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