Posted on November 30, 2009
I have decided to delineate the special features both Geographic and social that make the Greater Bellingham (focusing on Fairhaven) area, one special feature at a time. I am not going to limit myself to Whatcom county because Chuckanut Dr. and Chuckanut Mountains don"t recognize man made political borders.
A local report: the Sea Lion, the 87' Coast Guard Cutter is out to Sea, the Terrapin is still out my window. I am deeply saddened by the senseless death of the four police officers in Lakewood WA, my heart goes out to their families. If you know a policeman please call them and tell them how much you appreciate all they do.
Lizard and Lilly Lakes; I moved to Bellingham to teach (as a Graduate Assistant) Geography at Western Washington University and pursue my Masters in Geography. When I just moved here in the Summer of 1975 I explored many places and still do. I ran across a old timer who told me about Lizard and Lilly Lake on the top of Blanchard Mountain ( Skagit County at southern end of the Chuckanut Mt. range). I bought a USGS Map ( the South Bellingham Map) and set out to find the trail head by trial and error. The map showed that the trail started on the Shaw Rd which is a dead end rd off Barrel Springs Rd.. The trail goes over Blanchard Mt. and back down to the west at Chuckanut Dr. I went with a friend named Jim Munch. We left at 8:30 AM and crisscrossed through the brush and trees until we came upon a small makeshift cabin on the said of a ravine. As we approached a booming voice from within the cabin said " Who are and what do you want?". I said we were looking for the Blanchard Mt trail. The voice said that we had to go up and north and we would run across the trail. By the sound of the cabin voice I sensed he was none to social so we left following his instructions. In about 20 minutes we found the trail and hiked some one hour more and came upon a very nice gravel road with a car parked next to the trail. ( it would have saved us 1.5 hours of hiking had the map shown the road). The trail is known as the incline trail, for each step is up. As we neared the top of the mountain ( only 3,323 feet high ) we came to a beautiful trail that was graded and wide ( I have subsequently found out it is an old rail bed used for narrow gage rail for the original harvest of the timber some 100 years ago). This trail led us to Lizard Lake with a 150 foot high cliff above the lake silent serene and dark because the cliff was to the south. There is one of the largest stands of "Devils Club" I have ever seen with leaved 2 to 3 feet across with big thorns on the leaves and stalks they stood over 15'tall. We walked on the Lizard Lake a sunnier and rounded lake with more open water ( great fishing I found out on later trips). We hiked down the other side and stopped at the top of the Bat Cave cliffs. and gazed at the most beautiful view of the San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains to be seen from land. On our decent there was much mud and puddles. and we got dirty wet and tired. When we arrived on Chuckanut Dr. we walked to Chuckanut Manor and I talked to the owner Mr. Pat Woolcock. I told him that I had no wallet and only $2. in my pocket and if he did not want two muddy strangers in his restaurant I understood. Pat invited us into the bar and served us coffee and two hot and delicious bowl of Oyster stew. My wife picked us up in about 45 minutes and we returned with a party of 6 and had a wonderful dinner and I have been a grateful customer of the Manor ever sense ( Pat still owns the place and the trails are much improved and well marked now). On return trips I have walked through the tightest thicket of your fir trees I have ever seen I literally walked from limb to limb some 500 feet to reach the USGS marker that denoted the hight of the mountain and the view is fantastic. I walked the "plank" ( a Old Beaver lodge is out in the middle of Lilly lake with the narrow end of a tree trunk next to land and gets wider as you walk to the beaver island). I have good balance and grabbed my fishing pole and net with bait in my pocket and walked to the island, leaving two friends to watch me and contemplate the potentially wet journey. No sooner did i slowly drop my fishing line down to find the fish hiding under this floating island, I caught a beautiful trout. My friends were excited and took the risk and both fell in the lake on their log trek but eventually joined me and we caught a beautiful lunch of firm rainbow trout that we cooked and served on the spot.