Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Washington, Part II

We quickly found our way north and headed in the direction of Aberdeen. The tide was out, thus exposing the murky mud flats and marshes - sloughs - over which we passed, one after another. A leisurely drive upon the ever winding and undulating roadway brought our focus upon the borders of dense greenery of coastal Cedar, Sitka spruce and Western Hemlock of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, the second largest estuary of the Pacific Coast.

As we began to gradually ascend, the scenery changed to include groves of birch, revealing a glow among the evergreens and densely forested area. Farmland and the small town of South Bend, oyster capitol of the world, were interim sites in this landscape and accompanied by the sun's strobe of intermittent and penetrating light. Route 101 to 107, 12 became 8, to 108 and then back to 101.

Like gold, the shimmering yellow leaves glistened and dangled and lingered upon the maple branches of aged trees. A road sign marked Potlatch State Park and the Hood Canal 'Watershed', Hood Canal being a 60-mile long fjord-like inlet off the Puget Sound.

It was a perfect spot for lunch as we looked upon the gentle rippling of the calm water.

A walk along the lapping edge to look for agates, and a sea gull attempted to befriend; he scurried along side, glancing, patiently waiting . . . and when I said sorry, I cannot, he squawked with discontent, then flew away.

For miles we hugged the edge of Hood Dabob Bay as we bobbed in and out of small communities. The brightness of the day was intensified by the glow of the fall foliage. Such a leisurely drive and calmness everywhere, to think that just due east was the bustle and congestion of Seattle. Okay, enough of that thought.

We arrived at our destination, Discovery Bay, west and across the bay from Port Townsend. So good to be here and enjoy this evening and the wonderful view from our balcony.

29 OCT: 48 degrees this morning and we venture into Port Townsend for a stop at the Visitor's Center and a informative conversation with Bill. Following breakfast at a local restaurant, we boarded the ferry (reservations required) to Whidbey Island - longest island in the continental U.S. - and in thirty minutes we were there. Bill had mentioned that upon exiting the ferry, to disregard the signs to follow Route 20 E, but instead immediately turn left onto Engle Road, a more direct approach. Good advice. The drive led us through beautiful and rolling farmland and quite a nice and flourishing community, Oak Harbor, which services the U.S. Naval Air Station.

About a half hour drive would find us at the northern most point and our destination, Deception Pass bridge. It was so named because the Spaniards had charted this as a bay, whereas in 1792, Captain Vancouver's navigator and master of the HMS Discovery, Joseph Whidbey, found it to be a deep and turbulent channel connecting the Strait of Juan de Fuca with Saratoga Passage. There are two spans: 976 foot across Deception Pass and Canoe Pass Arch, a 511 foot structure.

We parked on the south side of the bridge and began our trek across the very narrow three-foot walkway. As the two-lane bridge began to shiver and shudder with the flow of tractor-trailers, trucks and automobiles whizzing past, we opted for a walk under the bridge,

. . . an amazing structure and achievement, completed in 1935 (began August 1934) by the young people of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) which was established as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. The cost was $482,000.

To the west of the bridge is an extremely steep trail that leads to the beach. Note the person's size in the top left water's edge.

Pan back toward the bridge and the expansive panoramic view:

Strikingly beautiful is the graceful curvature of the arching span of steel amidst the rugged cliffs and craggy edges rising from the turbulent waters below. We were awestruck as to dimension, space and time.

A drive across to Fidalgo Island for an alternate view and a return trip on 20W would find us stopping briefly for a look at the 100 year old Captain Whidbey Inn,

. . . then onto the now sleepy little town of Coupeville (bustling in the summer) for lunch overlooking Penn Cove. Crab bisque for me, clam chowder for my husband, and all we can say is it was the real stuff, the best ever.

West of Coupeville is Fort Casey, and we are headed there next. . . part 3.