I’m liking Washington very much. The people have been great, very welcoming. The Olympic Peninsula was awesome and now, Bellingham, seems like a very nice place. I selected Bellingham because one my best trail friends from the Appalachian Trail lives there with her partner and it is close to Canada. As I got closer, I heard more and more about the good restaurants there, specializing in sea food. I’ve been enjoying the seafood up the coast, and was curious. It’s hard not to like the hiking, the seafood, and the view of Puget Sound around Bellingham.
At the RV Park, I met Liga from Latvia, a displaced person from WWII. The young woman groundskeeper at the RV Park recommended Oyster Dome to me.
Some shout-outs: Bender, at the top of Oyster Dome, a 70 year old hiker. He had hiked up from the opposite direction, longer but 1,000 feet less than the 2.5 mile, 2,100+ feet that I had just done. He brought me up to speed on other Washington hikes. Dwayne and Sue showed the Calypso orchid to me. Pounder and Maribama and Mary the to-be-nurse who walked down with me part way. And from Switzerland, Marianne and Arno who were passing through and stopped at the Oyster Bar. Their beautiful curly yellow-haired child of perhaps 2 took an interest in me. So we chatted. They were from Zurich where I had spent some time over the years. They updated my memories of restaurants, hotels, and sights.
The drive to Oyster Dome is a very narrow, winding, 25mph or less, two-line lined on one side by rock and the other at times by a rock wall or guardrails separating you from Puget Sound below. At places, the rock wall had been taken out, whether by falling rocks or vehicles?
The hike up Oyster Dome is like Dog Mountain, unrelenting up roughly 1,000 feet per mile. I counted 17 different flowers on my way up, but became suspicious that several different flowers were variants of one: the same leaf and stem, but the flowers were white or salmon or white fringed with salmon, 5 or 6 petals up to 8. So I dropped my count to 12 different flowers plus 1-5 pending further investigation.
Near the top, the trail reminded me of Maine: steep, rocks and roots, but lacking the mud and rain that’s Maine. Near the top, the trail could go any of several different directions. In fact, I continued towards the top until I heard voices down to my left. There the trail opened to a rock ledge with a great view of Puget Sound.
Down below, my truck hadn’t fallen into Puget Sound. You park on the edge, off the road, somewhat tilted seaward. I turned my rear view mirror in and my truck hadn’t been side-swiped. Hurray!
The Oyster Bar is close to the start of the Oyster Dome Trail. I sat outside to enjoy the view with a plate of oysters and a Trappist beer. The Oyster Bar is an upscale, white table cloth, restaurant, with an excellent wine list, yet reasonably priced and friendly to sweaty, smelly hikers, like me, as well as casually dressed travelers. While there, boats left the shore to go out to the oyster farms in the Sound. Nearby is Samish Farm Shellfish Market (Taylor Shellfish Farms).
The menu looked appetizing, but I was there for oysters. I selected a dozen, two each of 6 varieties. I enjoyed all, but liked the Royal Miyagi from Georgia, British Columbia, with its kiwi finish, best. Fanny Bay and Kusshi from Vancouver Island, Fort Hood and Kumamoto from Puget Sound, were mild described as cucumber, clean, melon rind, and honeydew. My least favorite was Barron Point, described as a musky finish. But to tell you the truth, without the descriptions, I question my ability to characterize the differences, and if not for the size and shape differences, one variety from another. I very much liked the Oyster Bar and recommend it to anyone who enjoys oysters. I did not try any of the other items. I met the owner on the way in. After my meal, I asked permission to include the Oyster Bar on my blog.