Island County

Island County, Washington

143 – Heart Lake

Been here before, and loved it! It’s a sweet little trail around a sweet little lake.

The trail around Heart Lake

The trail around Heart Lake

This time we hiked around the lake and stopped to do some fishing along the way.

Fishing Heart Lake . . .

Fishing Heart Lake . . .

The catch of the day – this net!

Fish net . . . catch of the day

Fish net . . . catch of the day

Go here – https://60before60.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/17-heart-lake-loop-trail-210/ – to read about when I hiked around Heart Lake after completing the hike to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain once before, and here – https://60before60.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/12-heart-and-whistle-lakes/ – when I visited the lake a different time and for more information and directions.

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Super fun!

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110 – Shelter Bay Marina, Martha’s Beach & Warren Beach

In the Shelter Bay area for a visit with my good friend Dena, she took me on a wonderful tour.

(pic by Dena) On Martha's Beach

(pic by Dena) On Martha’s Beach

We explored the Shelter Bay Marina and walked for miles along the beaches at Martha’s Beach and Warren Beach.

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107 – Fort Casey State Park

On the Whidbey side of the Clinton Ferry, Fort Casey State Park, with its big guns, bunkers, miles of trails, beach walk and a third lighthouse visit in as many days always makes for a great hike.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse

Admiralty Head Lighthouse

Go here – http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?selectedpark=fort%20casey – for more information on Fort Casey State Park.

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106 – Coupeville Dockside Walk

Coupeville is one of those artsy, waterfront towns that tourists love to visit. Returning by ferry from a trip to the Olympic Vacation, we decided to stop at Coupeville to take in their Dockside Walk. Most of the tourists visit Coupeville during the warm, summer months, so it was very enjoyable to be there at the end of January as we practically had the entire town to ourselves.

On the Coupeville Wharf

On the Coupeville Wharf

This was really more of an urban walk than hike, but is included here as it is pretty easy to log several miles of walking along the dock, historic wharf, museum and side streets. Go here – http://www.cometocoupeville.com/ – for information on the town of Coupeville.

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67 – Park Butte Trail (Backpacking Trip)

Having followed the Baker River Trail for less than a mile last Spring before we turned off to cross the river and hike the Baker Lake Trail (see: Hike #46 – Baker Lake), we knew it was beautiful there and felt it would make a great backpacking destination as we continue to wait for the snow to recede from the high country, so we loaded up our backpacks, grabbed our boots and hit the road.

Loaded up and ready to go . . .

We stopped in at the North Cascades National Park Services Complex in Sedro Woolley to register for one of the two campsites along the Baker River Trail. Informed that both sites were already in use, we inquired about current snow levels in the high country and what other trails might make a good backpacking trip, and learned that the trail through Schreiber’s Meadow, located in the Mount Baker Recreation Area, was about ninety percent snow free.

Park Service Office . . . in Sedro Woolley, WA

The trail through Schreiber’s Meadow goes on to join trails to Park Butte, Railroad Grade and to Mount Baker, so with sunny skies above and humid temps in the mid to upper 80s, we decided we would start at Schreiber’s Meadows and continue until we found the perfect spot to set up camp.

Trailhead to Schreiber’s Meadow

As the trail often followed boardwalks made from thick, hand-hewn planks through its more boggy areas, Schreiber’s Meadow was a nice surprise. With lots of trees, plenty of early spring wildflowers in bloom, ground huckleberries forming on the vines and mountain heather bushes about to bloom, the meadow seemed more like a sunny forest to me.

Along the trail . . . through Schreiber’s Meadow

Expecting a little snow, sure enough, we eventually found ourselves trekking over portions of the trail covered with snow.

Snow on the trail . . .

We often find ourselves on trails with hazardous stream crossings this time of year, and this trail as no exception. Floods took the bridge out several years ago, and now a make-shift bridge of logs and plywood is in place.

Crossing the stream . . .

Then the we started climbing in elevation as we continued on to the Park Butte Trail.

Along the trail to Park Butte . . .

It was not long before the entire trail was buried under snow, but with Kent’s advanced trail finding skills, we were able to stay on route fairly well. When we lost the trail, he would scout ahead to determine in which direction we should go in order to pick up the trail again.

Scouting . . . looking for the trail

After climbing up one snow field after another for what felt like hours in the hot summer sun, we finally reached the absolute perfect place to make camp.

Entering snowfield . . . to our camp site

We had the perfect view of Mount Baker right from our tent.

Setting up camp . . . Mount Baker

With a 360 degree view of mountains, peaks and valleys, it was one of the most stunning places I had ever seen. Really, it could not have been more beautiful.

(pic by Kent) . . . Mount Baker evening at camp

We boiled snow and sipped hot cups of tea as we looked out at the glorious view. Then we had a backpacker’s dinner of hearty bowls of mashed potatoes with bacon and cheese stirred in. We walked around identifying the landmarks, taking pictures and taking it all in.

Photo op . . .

Sometimes the world feels small as far as when and where people’s paths happen to cross, and that snow field by our camp felt like one of those small world places as Kent’s old friend came back country skiing through. Hanging the food bag on a cable high up in the trees as two guys came skiing through, he looked up and said, “Jeremy?” Moments later, there was a very happy reunion.

Kent and Jeremy . . .

The next morning, we were joined by Canada Jays right about the time we finished breakfast. It is obvious why they have the nickname of “camp robbers”, but so entertaining, it’s not like we weren’t encouraging them.

Hand feeding Canadian Jay

The next morning, we saw several groups of climbers pass through the snow field on their hike back down, and a couple of groups of hikers heading up.

(pic by Kent) . . . hanging out at camp

After a leisurely morning at camp, we packed up and started our hike back down.

(pic by Kent) . . . hiking out from camp site near snowfield

Hiking down hill always feels easier – especially when there are heavy packs on our backs.

Observing wildflowers along the trail . . .

With so many hikers along the trail, there was a bit of a wait to cross back over that stream where the bridge had washed out.

Hikers ready to cross the stream . . .

Waiting for my turn to cross as Kent carried my pack to the other side, I wondered just how many hikers that make-shift bridge would support at one time.

Hooked on hiking, heading out of Schreiber’s Meadow on our way back to the trailhead, we were already starting to discuss possible trails for our next hike.

Heading out of Schreiber’s Meadow

Such a wonderful backpacking experience this trip was!

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Categories: Hiking, Island County, Nature, Photography, Skagit County, Whatcom County | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday – Sweet Sixty

Week after week, one hike at a time, working my way to the completion of the goal of sixty hikes before my sixtieth birthday made this entire year feel like a celebration as friends and family joined me. Making more incredibly wonderful friends, including meeting the love of my life, while experiencing exciting new adventures along the trails, I wore out the soles of a pair of hiking boots and even toned up my tush a bit. All surprise bonuses along the way! The entire weekend of the grand finale was filled with wonderful celebrations with lots of friends, family, fun, nearly too much food and great gifts – yet no hiking, unless that rather long, uphill path leading from the dock back to the parking lot after our three and a half hours of Contra dancing could possibly count as a hike.

Wearing my “birthday” hat . . .

From Saturday afternoon until well into the evening, we celebrated during the annual Ferry Boat Contra Dance Party. From Anacortes to Friday Harbor, and back, members of the Contra Sutra Band played their lively Contra tunes. We danced and danced and danced as the Elwha ferried us through the San Juan Islands. Go here – http://youtu.be/JVqJM5Egt58 – to see the video I took during one of the Contra dances. Beautiful music while dancing Contras – incredibly fun!

(pic by Beth) . . . Kent and I dancing to a Contra waltz

Sunday, the actual day of my birthday, was filled with even more celebration. Starting with breakfast with my son at our favorite waterfront restaurant, the Bayside Cafe, followed by a visit to our local Marine Life Center, the updated version of the original “touch tank” we often visited when he was a child. Later, as if a picnic, our morning celebrations closed with birthday cake at Boulevard Park, another of my favorite locations.

Birthday cake . . . at Boulevard Park

Following an afternoon relaxing and perusing a stack hiking books, Kent’s homemade lasagna and more birthday cake made the finest dining for any birthday celebration. Once again, it was time for more celebration with the receipt of the absolute perfect gift – a pack perfectly designed for extended backpacking trips.

The perfect gift for further hiking adventures!

And to make it even more fun, tucked into the many compartments of the pack were even more gifts. With clever clues written on each, sometimes my first guess was correct and other times, it took me several. Thank you, thank you for making this birthday so special and so much fun!

Hint – “I’m so attached to you”

Thanks also to Beth, Francean, Lori, Kriss, Fred, Jane, Joy, Lisa T, Kathy T, Kathy R, Kathleen, Camille, Dena, Sandy, DJ, Dan, Mike, Michael, Richard, Judy, fellow Contra dancers – and everyone else. I don’t mean to omit your name, but there really has been so many of you that have so generously given encouragement, support, friendship, cheers and love as each step got me closer to completing those sixty hikes – and to my sixtieth birthday. Some of you joined me along the trails, others wanted to, and you all helped. So, thank you, EVERYONE! Special thanks to Kent – for your love, for so effortlessly making our hikes together so much more of a fun adventure as we met up with bears, snakes, fossils, hot springs, wildflowers, birds, snow, streams overflowing their banks, beautiful waterfalls, lookout towers and so very much more. Thank you for letting me blubber and for holding me up last week through the passing of my sister. Words cannot express the thanks, appreciation, gratitude and joy I feel by sharing my life with you! I can only repeat what you said so well in your birthday card to me – your words:

“Building a life together,

Loving and supporting each other,

Creating so many good memories,

And many great adventures together to come.

I love you.”

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So, what’s next? We’re talking a backpacking trip now and researching snow levels, looking for camp sites where we can hike into, set up a base camp to do day hikes from there. Definitely stay tuned!

Categories: Dancing, Hiking, Island County, Nature, Photography, San Juan County, Whatcom County | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

60 – Rosario Head and Pass Lake Trails

With time remaining to sneak in even a few more hikes before the big six-O rolls around, the Rosario Bay and Pass Lake Loop trails mark my sixtieth hike. Goal met! Will this be it for hiking for me? Of course not! I have always been a hiker, and while the goal of completing sixty hikes between the first of Jaunary and my sixtieth birthday on June 10th set the pace for a rather ambitious number of hikes to be completed in a relatively short, six-month period, I really enjoyed having that extra motivation to keep me out there on the trails. It’s late Spring here in the Pacific Northwest and the snow is melting from our mountains. Very soon, we will have access to an entirely new world of beautiful trails and we’re digging out the backpacking and camping gear so we will be ready. Stay tuned, there will definitely be more hiking!

Along the trail . . .

Now back to Rosario Bay and Pass Lake. All part of Deception Pass State Park, we began this hike at Bowman Bay with a quick tour of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – Interpretive Center at the CCC camp. A tribute to the young men stationed at Deception Pass during this depression-era program, they learned valuable life skills as they built the structures, trails and campgrounds at Deception Pass State Park and earned enough wages to help support their families back home.

Display at CCC Interpretive Center at Bowman Bay

I have began hikes from Bowman Bay before – to Lighthouse and Lottie Points  (go here, https://60before60.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/18-lighthouse-and-lottie-points/ – to read about that hike), but this time I headed in the other direction – to Rosario Bay. Climbing the Rosario Head Trail along the hillside on the west side of Bowman Bay, we set off for Rosario Beach.

Rosario Head Trail . . .

Tide pools are always fun to explore, so even when the tide is not out very far, once on Rosario Beach, we followed the Tide Pool Trail. Do you notice the yellow rope that he is following in this picture? You see, this is a popular beach and in the late 1990’s during an extreme low tide, over 1,200 visitors trampled the tide pools causing significant damage to the intertidal life – some of which has not yet recovered. To minimize future damage, the yellow rope indicates a trail where visitors can now walk.

Once we explored the tide pools and followed a trail along the bluffs over Rosario Bay, we paused at the dock there before heading back to Bowman Bay.

Dock at Rosario Bay . . .

Next we headed to nearby Pass Lake.

Pointing out fish in Pass Lake . . .

The Pass Lake Loop Trail took us through the forest. On the map, the trail looked as if it might be close to the shoreline of the lake, but, unfortunately, it was not, and the forest thick so we barely even saw the lake. At least it was a beautiful forest!

Along the Pass Lake Loop Trail . . .

The map also showed that the trail exited Deception Pass State Park lands as it passed through a small section of private land before it looped back into the park. You can imagine our surprise as the trail immediately dumped us into a recent clear-cut logging operation once we entered that private land.

Trail ends abruptly in a clear-cut logging operation

Reminding me of the waste lands where gunslinger Roland Deschain of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series had perhaps passed, we climbed over logs as we walked through the rubble and around the huge stacks of logs as we worked our way to the other side of the property in our effort to once again find our trail.

Walking through the clear-cut logging area . . .

Finding a muddy logging road once we reached the other side of the logging operation, we scoured the forest for signs of our trail.

Searching for the trail . . .

We were not successful in our search for the trial, so ended up following the logging road, figuring it would lead us back to the main highway and we could walk back to the lake from there.

Following the logging road . . .

Just before the main highway, there it was – our trail!

Finding the trail near the main highway . . . along the logging road

So that was it, my sixtieth hike – and I can hardly wait to get back out on the trails again!

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Categories: Hiking, Island County, Nature, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

54 – Fort Ebey State Park

The Bluff Trail is my favorite trail at Fort Ebey State Park, a park on Whidbey Island built as a coastal defense fort in World War II.

Bluff Trail . . . Fort Ebey State Park

In full bloom this time of year, the trail to the top of the bluff is lined with Scotch broom bushes.

Along the trail . . . Fort Ebey State Park

The view is outstanding from the top of the bluff!

Along the bluff . . .

Taking a break along the trail to enjoy the view, a large red tailed hawk soared over our heads.

Taking a breal . . . on top of the bluff

Enjoying the view . . .

(pic by Kent) Me . . . looking out from the bluff

Driving directions to Fort Ebey State Park as well as a trail map can be found on the Washington State Parks, here –  Fort Ebey.

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52 – Hoypus Point

While other visitors to Deception Pass State Park were at Cornet Bay to launch their boats, share a picnic on the many tables available or fish from the dock, I started from there to hike to the beach at Hoypus Point and then along the trails through the Hoypus Point Natural Forest Area.

Cornet Bay . . .

It is an easy mile from Cornet Bay, first along an old service road and then along a trail, to the beach at Hoypus Point.

Along the trail . . .

Along the way, there are several view points – some even with benches – that look out to Deception Pass.

Deception Pass . . . from the trail to Hoypus Point beach

With the entire Hoypus Point beach to myself and the tide out, I strolled up and down and enjoyed the natural treasures found as I combed the beach.

Beachcombing . . .

Seeking shelter from the heat of the sun, I then set off along the seven miles of trails through the Hoypus Point Natural Forest Area.

Hoypus Point Natural Forest Area . . .

Enjoying the cool shade of the forest, I took the time to follow all of the trails, including the CCC Crossing trail which was originally used by the Civilian Conservation Corps workers to haul lumber during construction of the park.

Trail options . . .

More information about Deception Pass Park can be found on the website for the Deception Pass Park Foundation – here http://www.deceptionpassfoundation.org/ – and on the Washington State Parks website, here – Deception Pass State Park.

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45 – Goose Rock and Pass Island

Said to be the most visited state park in Washington, with its rugged coastal headlands, beautiful coves, old-growth forests, and nearly 40 miles of trails, it is no wonder I have been visiting Deception Pass State Park since the early 1970s.

(from the Deception Pass State Park website) . . . Trail Map

Beginning at the parking lot near North Beach, today’s hike included Goose Rock, Pass Island and North Beach. Following the trail through an old-growth forest to the Deception Pass Bridge 100 foot above, I walked under the bridge and connected with the Goose Rock Loop Trail.

Along the trail . . . walking under Deception Pass Bridge

After following the perimiter trail around Goose Rock, I continued on to the Summit Trail, and began the climb as it twisted and turned to gain over 400 feet in less than a half mile. After that final push, to my delight not only was the view spectacular (to the north, Mount Erie; west, the Straight of Juan de Fuca, Olympic Mountains and San Juan Islands; and to the south, the Widbey Island countryside), there were wildflowers blooming just about everywhere.

By a rock wall of wildflowers . . . Goose Rock summit

Next I took the trail back down to Deception Pass Bridge and followed the walkway along the bridge to Pass Island. While there does not seem to be an official trail map for Pass Island, there is a stairway leading down from the viewpoint deck that allows access to footpaths. These paths lead down to the huge, jagged rocks under the Deception Pass Bridge, and on around the tiny island. Those paths are on very steep, rocky terrain and are very close to the edge of dangerously high cliffs, so if you decide to venture off that viewpoint deck as I did, be extremely careful. It was a beautiful hike and worth the effort – and I was careful. Again, wildflowers were blooming in the meadows and along almost every path.

Wildflowers . . . Pass Island

The view from under Deception Pass Bridge is absolutely stunning. A river otter was swimming near the rocks just below the cliff on which I sat, and on the other side of Deception Pass above the trees on Goose Rock (where I had just hiked), eagles were soaring.

Taking a break . . . on Pass Island

I spent about an hour exploring the trails around the perimiter of Pass Island, even lost the trail a couple of times in the more forested area on the back side, before finally making my way back to the viewing deck up on top. Heading over Deception Pass Bridge again, I followed the walkway on the other side, and returned to the trail that took me back to the beach below. Continuing on to North Beach, except for a family of geese, I practically had the entire beach to myself. I watched as the parent geese took their babies for a swim. Go here – http://youtu.be/FWigJ4EoklI – to see the video I took their swimming lesson. So cute!

Goose family on North Beach

Rather like living in our own little “Water World” here in the Pacific Northwest, I sometimes tend to take our water and mountain views a bit for granted, but wildflowers – they are seasonal and not as easy for me to find. The wildflowers were definitely the highlight of this hike. Okay – the views were absolutely outstanding too!

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