Note: Oyster Dome, the gorgeous trail featured in this post, is currently under threat of clear cutting that will drastically alter the trail and others around it including Lily Lake. Read more about it here and find out what you can do. Now onto the post…
Step 1: Hold breath while checking calendar a month in advance. Husband is not working day shift, night shift, on call, or out of town AND Valentine’s Day is on a weekend! It’s a miracle!
Step 2: Choose a trail that almost meets all of your unrealistic expectations: has spectacular unobstructed west-facing views, a water feature (preferably with an island or two), is easy to navigate in the dark, and is not too difficult (sweating is not romantic, you guys). Oyster Dome has all the things! Although, let’s face it, there is going to be sweating. There is always sweating…
Step 3: Completely forget about plans until Valentine’s Day morning and wake up in a panic. But oh, sweet joy! You planned a sunset hike and you don’t have to get out of bed for hours! Propose deal to get husband to make you blueberry pancakes and bacon for breakfast in exchange for carrying the backpack up Oyster Dome. It’s totally worth it. Then make mental note to find smallest bottle of wine known to man to pack for the hike.
Step 4: Pack up the car and the dog and convince husband that the blanket is the thing that makes it a picnic and that yes, it is absolutely necessary to bring along. Stop at the grocery store to purchase picnic items. Branch out and get those little french pickles and something you’ve never had before like quince spread. Then grab the old staples: salami, cheese, and water crackers. Lastly, get one of those super chocolatey tiny fancy round cakes in the bakery section for dessert. Don’t worry, you earned all of it.
Step 5: Hike up Oyster Dome while regretting the deal to carry the backpack and attempt not to sweat. Reach the rocky overlook and choose a spot to put down the (totally necessary) blanket while pointing out how freaking photogenic it is. Nosh on your new favorite thing in the world, crackers with cheese and quince spread, while the sun begins to set. Spend like half an hour setting up the tripod and camera and take a hundred photos to capture a romantic moment between the two of you before finally getting one where you are not in mid-run when the timer goes off or the dog’s tail does not appear to be coming out of the side of your head. Then pause for just a moment when your husband and the dog look at each other and feel your heart melt with love. While hiking down the trail in complete darkness, stop, turn off the headlamps, hold hands, and look up until the stars come into focus. Vow to do it all again next year.
Hikes featured in this post: