Friday, February 5, 2021

Deception Pass State Park

Driftwood at Deception Pass State Park

I know I've said this before, but it bears and even demands repeating: I live in a beautiful place. Especially when viral pandemics and closed borders keep you close to home, it's all the more important that your home is a place offering opportunities and beauty.  Hooray, Washington State!

Lookout onto Strait of Juan De Fuca

Taking advantage of a sunny -- but very cold -- day, we headed to Deception Pass State Park and the Sand Dunes Trail.  The trail is located at the main entrance to Deception Pass State Park on the Whidbey Island (south) side of the bridge.  Follow the signs to the large, paved parking lot at West Beach.  The trail begins at the south side of the parking lot.  There were disabled parking spots, and I assume the restrooms were disabled, as well, but they were locked, so I couldn't confirm that.  Parking requires a Discover Pass; however, vehicles with a disabled placard or license plate are exempt.

The trail can be accessed from the parking lot either by a paved trail that goes past the beach on Cranberry Lake, with a beach house, outdoor showers, and a large picnic area.  There is even one picnic table with space cut out for a wheelchair and a paved path leading to it.  The trail can also be accessed by a wide unpaved road next to the water.  Either way, the Sand Dunes Trail, officially designated an ADA trail, is a paved 1.2 mile loop.

West side of Sand Dunes Trail

One side of the loop goes along Puget Sound, with views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the San Juan Islands. The beach is covered with driftwood, and trail name (Sand Dunes Trail) is reflected by the small dunes along the trail.  There are several informative interpretive signs.  I've read that in the summer, porpoises, eagles, and osprey can be seen.

South-east side of
Sand Dunes Trail

The other side of the loop goes along Cranberry Lake and then through a stretch of mossy trees.  

Among the trees, and perhaps best seen from the Puget Sound side, is a tremendous, twisted 850 year-old Douglas Fir.

This root is easy to bypass
The thing about trees is that they have roots, and big trees have correspondingly big roots.  Unfortunately, at the south end of the trail are two large roots crossing under the trail which have seriously broken through the pavement, causing an upheaval which makes the trail impassable.  I was able to get around both of these obstacles by going on the side of the trail.  Even if I hadn't been able to, I would have gone down and back on both sides of the loop, because the views were so stunning.

This root is harder to bypass,
but possible

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