July 17, 2020
Summer has finally has come to the PNW, but the calendar cares not when the heat arrives and the days are getting shorter so fast. It was almost dark when I went to bed last night, and only just getting light when I got up. (And what was that racket on the patio at 5am, the footfalls on the deck steps, and the huffing? Black and furry? I saw nothing.)
It’s hard to tear myself away from the paradise I’m privileged to inhabit here on the hill, but it’s good to venture out to other slices of the pie. This week I booked a lovely two-night stay at an airbnb with a loft bed and a window seat on Whidbey Island, book-ending it with nights at my daughter’s Seattle home (they are on an epic two-week camping trip in Oregon).
I spent hours with my writing friend and mentor on her patio-with-a-view, across a six-foot table talking about our World War II writing projects and pouring over the letters and memorabilia my father and aunt saved from their service years. Just to be in the presence of other people was amazing, though we missed hugging in this new way of being. I sat in the sun in the private garden behind my cozy cottage and read the words of my forebears existing through their war, while living in the war of my times. There are many similarities.
Before returning to Seattle, I was up early (with a latte) to drive to the north end of the island for a hike at Deception Pass State Park.
Deception Pass is a strait between Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands, connecting Skagit Bay with the Strait of Juan de Fuca (one of my favorite place names). I hiked above the beach from the campground—breathing the campfires and sea salt, listening to foghorns and waves—to the iconic double bridges. I’ve never been to Deception Pass when it wasn’t foggy, and Wednesday was no exception.
Opened in 1935, the twin bridges over Deception Pass and Canoe Pass are on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridges are currently being repainted for the third time. The trail passes under the bridge for a view of the engineering marvel that holds it up.
The trail skirts the bluff below my destination—Goose Rock—and through the red skinned Madrona trees above Cornet Bay.
I was disappointed to miss getting a photo of a Great Blue heron. A few feet later I discovered 16 herons hanging out in the bay. I sat on a rock and watched them as the fog cleared.
At the Rock there’s a view across the water of the hazy top of Mt. Baker (not in the photo) and her sister peaks.
The upper trail back toward my starting point, is populated with people who came up to the Rock from a much closer parking lot, a half-mile walk compared to my 5-1/2. They missed the herons.
After lunch on the rocks, as the fog drifts back in, I headed for I-5 and Seattle.
Following another afternoon and evening in the sunny yard in Seattle, I’m back home to an overcast morning. True to my northwest love, I’m happy with the heat respite. It will be back, and I’m plotting my next hike to a favorite place. And my campground at Mt. Baker, reservation made six months ago for August, finally opened! I don’t know what the hold up was. Snow? Belated winter clean-up? Covid-19? Also, I’m dreaming of Takhlakh Lake campground…
The Littles will be here tonight! I have never camped for two weeks straight. Reports are they all had a fabulous time and don’t want it to be over. I can’t wait to hear about it. If there had to be a pandemic, I am beyond grateful to live in outdoor paradise.