Thursday, April 6, 2017

Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass on April Fools' weekend? Did I plan that purely for a blog theme? I wish I could say that I did. Well, I could say that because it's my blog and I'm telling it, but I'd be lying

We visited this park once before when we were dating, and I kid you not, it was 20 years ago to the month, also a coincidence. It's been on the top of our RV list for awhile but because it is billed as the most-visited of Washington's state parks, that didn't jive with our desire to avoid the maddening throngs. 

Right up until we were set to go, the forecast didn't look too promising, but that was apparently a fake-out because the sun appeared as we arrived and pretty much stayed that way for much of our visit.  

Arvie all settled into space 126, dry camping, no leveling needed, park and


Unlike bright, sunny days in mid-winter that try to put one over on you by looking all warm when they certainly are not, springtime sun is not quite as devious.

Flowers were beginning to appear everywhere, like these pink chaparral currants.

 After the walk around Cranberry Lake, we headed down to the waterfront, which we could also see through the trees from our "partial view" site. Because, you know, seeing trees and such is not considered a full view.

There is an interpretive loop trail. (view to the right)

The star attraction is an eight hundred and fifty year old Douglas Fir tree. 
It may be EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS OLD, but it is not a view.

We saw our first garter snakes of the year basking on the asphalt and in the little side dunes as well as lots of colorful little flowers dotting the grassy areas. 

 After that, we headed the other direction along the beach (view to the left) to maximize our sun exposure. 

 This is our photo from 1997 in the olden days when film had to be taken in to be developed, and you were surprised if you got any good shots. I don't remember walking on this beach back then at all. I used to have a good memory, if I recall correctly.

It's just under a mile up this stretch of beach. See where the rock juts out? We had to time our dash around it to avoid getting soaked feet. One of us may have gotten a little wet. Probably the one with shorter legs. Do you also see that white dot on the left hill? It will take on meaning in a few minutes.

We racked up about five miles of walking for the day, then spent the evening enjoying the partial view from inside the cozy rig.

Good morning! Coffee or tea?

This was to be a big hike day, but first we had to get to the bridge. TBGuide shows the way.

Up along the bluff to the bridge over Deception and Canoe passes. We did not take the obligatory pictures from up on the bridge this time, but 

 we did the other time. That was three rain jackets ago.

This was 20 years and zero rain jackets ago.

Lead on, trail-spotter!

So much to take in.

Like the great blue heron in this picture. 

And the harbor seal in this picture.

And the purple-eyed grass speckling the promontory of Lighthouse Point in this picture.

But NO lighthouse.

Where is the lighthouse? We were duped! There is no lighthouse, only a beacon. It's the white spot in that earlier photo. We weren't really duped because I already knew there wasn't a proper lighthouse at this park, but we did meet some other hikers who asked us if they were on the right path to the lighthouse. Their fallen faces when we told them the news nearly ruined our day.  

There are a couple places where the main trail branches off onto these small points. TBG walked out onto one,

while I walked out onto another.

Partial-view site.

When we made our way over there to Rosario Head, we encountered a couple who were bird-spotting with their high-powered scopes. We asked if they were seeing anything of interest, and they invited us to look for ourselves.

They were watching these Black Oystercatchers, the bills and eyes of which are shockingly orange. I couldn't tell what they were eating, but it wasn't oysters. 

A nice lady took a picture of us partially obscuring the partial view.

All total for the day, we hiked just over 10 miles. Again we spent the evening reading (him), doing a jigsaw puzzle (me), watching a weak sunset through the trees, and eating a pint of gelato. 

The rain came back overnight, and the wind whipped through the trees. Oddly, I wasn't worried about a huge tree crashing onto us while we slept. It was still raining when we first woke up, so we did what any sane vacationer would do, and went back to sleep. I woke up with this thought in my head, "Does Bigfoot believe in humans?"  

The weather report promised the rain would let up around noon, and we were in no hurry, so we continued with our reading and puzzling until about that time.

Then we set out for the Goose Rock trails. 

As with the previous day's trails, we had to walk the near-mile to the trail head, which started just past the bridge.

We began with the perimeter trail.

The Indian Paintbrushes were already starting to bloom!

Pacific Stonecrop, not blooming, but pretty even so.

Our legs were a bit tired from the day before, and this trail had some definite grinders. If you look in the bottom right of this pic, you'll see the trail before it switches back to where TBG is. Yeowch.

A deer was snacking at the top which is unfortunately marred by the power lines. Otherwise, it's a flat, open space, providing nice views (!) of Cornet Bay and the surrounding area. 

The birds up there were having a blast bathing during a sun break.

The sun stayed out for good around three o'clock, and not wanting to waste a minute of it, we went back down to the beach area. I was hoping to get some pictures of us, and I am glad it is no longer the olden days of surprise film because we would have been unpleasantly surprised by most of them. 

 This was me giving up, which led to one I like.

The good one.

The sun was showing signs of making a pretty set, so we bundled up and headed back down to the beach after dinner. On our way down the road, we saw up ahead a couple children with a what appeared to be a lemonade stand. The little girl, about 7 or so, spied us approaching, and too excited to wait for us to reach her, she grabbed up her sign and ran to intercept us. Her sign read, 

We sell
at 122 111.
You choose the price.

TBG recognized her from the first night when they'd camped across from us and he'd heard them speaking German. He told her to wait a moment while we retrieved some money. As we headed back to the RV for it, we heard her calling to her brother with the good news of customers.

I had just gone through our coins earlier looking for shower tokens (which I didn't find until we were home) and had found a Sacajawea dollar and a Kennedy half dollar. Arriving back at their table, we saw that they had made an egg-carton mouse decoration and some shells and crab claws they'd collected from the beach. Crab claws from the beach! I nearly cried from the innocence of it. We purchased the mouse and one claw with the special coins (the gold Sacajawea coin eliciting oohs and ahhs) and some paper money.

Meet Lili, the only Maus allowed in the RV. 

The wind was cold, and the sunset wasn't all that great, so we took a few pics and called it a night.

 The next morning, the sun highlighted the snow atop the Olympics.

We hadn't been doing our customary morning campground walkabouts, but I insisted we needed to. How else to catch this moody shot of the bridge?

 Or the waves crashing into the rocks, making sparkly rainbow geysers? 

Layered up, ready to head out the next morning.

But first, we needed to pay up for another night. It is not clear in retrospect why we didn't make our reservation for all the nights we were staying, but we didn't. The problem was that in order to see the list of who might have reserved our spot, we had to either walk a zillion miles to the main entrance and back and back again, or leave our spot and drive there and back then walk back, or leave our spot and drive to the trail head and take our chances when we got back. We chose what was behind door #3.

This section of the park as you may have guessed, is not directly connected to the part where the campground is. Until the reservation snafu, we had been planning to walk from there to here, but I am glad we goofed up because it would have meant a long walk on a busy road. Not the optimal way to begin and end a walkabout.

We began along an old access road out to the water, but then most of the trail system winds around and through the Hoypus Point Natural Forest Area. We saw two people early on, then no one the whole time we were out, despite the fact that it was, in both senses of the word, Sunday.

The long perimeter trail follows a defunct logging road.   

Interior trails meander through the woods. In case you're wondering, there are no bears or cougars on the island. Well, that's what they say, but I say if we can walk across the bridge, what's stopping them? Coyotes and deer are here, after all. At any rate, we didn't encounter any of those except deer.

Our stomp about Hoypus Hill racked up just under nine miles, then we motored back to the campground to see if any squatters had overtaken our site.


Some clouds had gathered during the evening, promising that the sun was going to put on a good show.

The waves were still crashing against the rocks, and it was just a matter of time before the sun would shine through the spray.

Like this.

 And this.

And this. The mist was starting to reach our lenses, so we put the cameras away and just enjoyed the show.

On our way out the following morning, we stopped to hike a final trail at Pass Lake. Several fisherpersons were already out.

 I'd like to say we saved the best for last, but I don't want to delude you.

There is nothing too very special about this area, and that Big Cedar trail? We're not sure who decided the route for that one, but it directly follows a fall line (big trail-building no-no) and not only was it begging for erosion damage, it was a misery of straight uphill slogging. I'm glad we hadn't gone the opposite way because I can't imagine getting down that same section very easily. 

There are some gigantic old-growth cedars, though. Surprisingly, we did encounter one other trail-user. With all the beautiful trails in the park, this one could easily be ignored with no regrets.

 Let's just remember the good times. That ain't no foolin'.