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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Expecting a little snow, sure enough, we eventually found ourselves trekking over portions of the trail covered with snow.
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.
Then the we started climbing in elevation as we continued on to the Park Butte Trail.
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.
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.
We had the perfect view of Mount Baker right from our tent.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After a leisurely morning at camp, we packed up and started our hike back down.
Hiking down hill always feels easier – especially when there are heavy packs on our backs.
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.
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.
Such a wonderful backpacking experience this trip was!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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!
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!
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.
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.
Next we headed to nearby 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!
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.
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.
Finding a muddy logging road once we reached the other side of the logging operation, we scoured the forest for signs of our 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.
Just before the main highway, there it was – our trail!
So that was it, my sixtieth hike – and I can hardly wait to get back out on the trails again!
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.
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 way, there are several view points – some even with benches – that look out to Deception Pass.
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.
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.
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.