Washington mini-trip

I am struck by how much texture there is – especially in the woods where moss and lichen cling to everything; the bark on the trees seems extra rugged; termite chewed tree stumps; pine needles soften the pathways; granite.

A nice gentle hike in the rain (without rain jackets!) to Keekwulee Falls.

Walks around Yellow Lake in the neighborhood.

We took a run north on back roads to Fairhaven, Bellingham, Everson, and Lynden. We stayed at a lovely B&B Inn (Sundara West) enjoying deliciously luxurious bed linen and fresh, home-made breakfast.

Fairhaven is a quaint and historic suburb of Bellingham. Lyden, a Dutch settlement with windmill and all!

Onward via Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island which is accessed by the Deception Pass bridge.

(From Wikipedia: In the spring of 1792, Joseph Whidbey, master of HMS Discovery and Captain Vancouver‘s chief navigator proved that it was not really a small bay as charted by the Spaniards (hence the name “Deception”), but a deep and turbulent channel that connects the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the Saratoga Passage, which separates the mainland from what they believed was a peninsula (actually Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island). Thomas Coupe, a sea captain and founder of Coupeville, was the only man ever to sail a full-rigged ship through the strait discovered by Whidbey.

In the early years of the 20th century, travelers of the horse-and-buggy era used an unscheduled ferry to cross from Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island. To call the ferry, they banged a saw with a mallet and then sat back to wait.

The bridge, one of the scenic wonders of the Pacific Northwest, is actually two spans, one over Canoe Pass to the north, and another over Deception Pass to the south. Pass Island lies between the two bridges. Construction began in August 1934, and the completed bridge was dedicated at noon on July 31, 1935. The Wallace Bridge and Structural Co. of Seattle, Washington provided 460 tons of steel for the 511-foot (156 m) Canoe Pass arch and 1130 tons for the 976-foot (297 m) Deception Pass span. The cost of the New Deal-era construction was $482,000, made possible through the Public Works Administration and county funds.

In 1982, the bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

It cost more to paint the spans in 1983 than to build them in 1935.

  • Height from water to roadway: about 180 feet (55 m), depending on the tide
  • Roadway: two 11-foot (3.4 m) lanes, one in each direction
  • Sidewalks: 3-foot-wide (0.91 m) sidewalk on each side
  • Width of bridge deck: 28 feet (8.5 m)
  • Total length: 1,487 feet (453 m) (more than a quarter mile)
  • Canoe Pass: one 350-foot (110 m) arch and three concrete T-beam approach spans
  • Deception Pass: two 175-foot (53 m) cantilever spans, one 200-foot (61 m) suspended span, and four concrete T-beam approach spans
  • Vehicle crossings: 20,000 per day on average
  • Maximum speed of current in Deception Pass at flood/ebb tide: 9 kts
  • Maximum speed of current in Canoe Pass at flood/ebb tide: 10 kts
  • 12 total suicides by jumping from the bridge in 2009 and 15 in 2010)

A short 30 minute ferry ride took us from Coupeville (southern Whidbey Island) across to Port Townsend on the Quimper Peninsula. Originally named Port ‘Townshend’ by Captain George Vancouver (for his friend the Marquis of Townshend) in 1792, Port Townsend  was immediately recognized as a good, safe harbor, which it remains to this day. The official settlement of the city took place on the 24th of April, 1851. We stayed at the Palace Hotel, an ornate Victorian on Water Street.

We continued southward on Rte 101 through parts of the Olympic National Park. A small detour took us four miles up and around to the summit of Mount Walker (almost 3,000 ft) offering spectacular views to the north and south (including Mt. Ranier poking through a cloud layer).

North viewpoint.

South viewpoint.

There were warnings of cougar in the area, but luckily we only saw evidence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s