Kirk and I took the boys up to Whidbey Island for a short weekend. We stayed at the historical Fort Casey Inn, which was the officer housing for Fort Casey. It was built prior to World War 1. We chose the Doctor’s House, which is a single house (the other houses are duplex). While they may seem a bit “rustic” on the outside, the houses are well-kept, very clean and offer a lot for the price (they do offer a winter rate if you ask!). The ceilings inside are amazing…..add in a gas fireplace and on a cold night, it was toasty. All we had to do was bring ourselves and food – we had a fully stocked kitchen, a dining area, a historical living room and 2 bedrooms upstairs.
The boys out on the front porch, on the wooden chairs. It comes with a gorgeous view of Crockett Lake and the Strait of Juan de Fuca (and the ferry to Port Townsend). It was so quiet at night – just us and a lot of coyotes howling. In the morning, Mama Deer and her Yearling came by.
Mushrooms and tree roots.
If you know my history, you know I lived on Whidbey Island for a number of years before I came back to the mainland. I worked in the town of Coupeville, which Fort Casey sits outside of. It is where I started my love of hiking. A lot has changed in the 14 years since I left. One of the newest land transfers is Admiralty Inlet Preserve, which is a work in progress still, though the trails are done. The land was bought from SPU, which owns the Inn. Just walk out from the Inn, take a left and the trail is right there!
The trail starts along Engle Road (the road to the Fort and ferry, straight out of Coupeville). It is a quiet road, outside of when a ferry lets off. The trail itself winds behind a light wall of trees along the road for much of it, so you don’t feel exposed. It comes to the first junction, where you can head into the woods, to the bluff. There is a loop trail to the left, and is worth it. Otherwise, head straight ahead.
The bent over tree on the right is most likely over 250 years old. It is a Douglas Fir, hanging onto the bluff.
Looking across to the Olympic Mountains, across the Strait.
Looking up the Island, to Ebey’s Landing and the lagoon.
The trail turns to the right and follows the bluff, in and out of the woods.
As a teenager, bored on an island that offered little fun…we often went looking for the old bluff installations from Fort Casey and Fort Ebey, along the bluffs. No, it wasn’t legal. We were trespassing. That was a long time ago though. I didn’t realize there were at least 2 of these back there. They are fenced off. This one was larger – it has an actual entrance. Most of them you had to go over the top and drop into the shelter. These are behind fences now. With a bajillion danger signs. Even the bluffs carry signs now. I mean…I don’t blame them, but it does make one wax nostalgia a bit.
At the end of the bluff trail spur. Le sigh! Lets hope they can continue to expand in the coming years. It was so awesome to see the dreams that had been wished for 20 years ago, finally coming to life here.
We took the loop back and walked the road side, with views of the mountains. We did about 2.3 miles of casual hiking. In the wooded sections it is generally sheltered, however, as you walk the trail along the road be prepared for the wind. The wind is just part of the Island – and while the temperatures of Whidbey are temperate, the wind can chill you quickly. It is a great hike for children though. Every part of the bluff that is accessible is fully fenced off.
During our hike, the boys each came across 1 rock. Alistaire found the round one (Pokemon??), Walker found the Propaganda Or Facts? one. We love doing the Rocks thing here in Maple Valley, Whidbey has the Whidbey Island Rocks group. We had no idea there were rocks there, but the boys love looking and see stuff I never see!