Deception Pass State Park

In case you have never yet heard of Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey/Fidalgo island in NW Washington, let me enlighten you. It is one of the most engaging hikes I have ever been on, and I’ve now been there twice in a month! It’s not difficult, only reaching about 500 or so feet of climbing, and the mossy, forested trail overlooks the Puget Sound most of the time.

The first time we went, I had Jim and my sister, Mary, with me. We forgot our Discover Pass, and in answer to whether or not we should purchase a $10 day pass, Jim said, “Nah. We can just dispute the ticket by putting our pass number on it. I did that at such-and-such a place and it was fine.”

So we just parked and hiked. Here is what we saw:

It was a perfect day: overcast, recently rained, cool but not blustery. There were plenty of overlook spots, and places that went down to the water. We explored (or tried, anyway) a sea cave, but the tide was coming in, so we couldn’t get there.

One of my favorite things about this hike is that you’re free to wander. There were very few railings, and you could get right up to the cliffs and look over. I’ve lived near the Pacific coast my whole life and I’ve never seen live bull kelp – still attached to the bottom, not washed up on shore like so many gullwhackers in Mariel of Redwall. It seemed like Ireland (or what I imagine Ireland to be in my head) up top, green and grassy, misty and rather morose (in a good way).

There are also a lot of madrone trees up here. It was pretty surreal – we are used to seeing them in hot, sunny, (mostly) dry Southern Oregon, and they don’t grow up past Eugene area, really. And then all the sudden, they pop back up in the rainy, cold, mossy Northernmost tip of Washington!

There were also tide pools on the north side of the hike – we hiked south first, then looped back to the parking lot and went north. I collected a ridiculous amount of rocks and shells, and poked a number of sea anemones. One tiny, iridescent shell caught my fancy, and I tucked it in my palm with the others and headed up to show my sister, when I felt a little tickle, shrieked, and flung the lot of it onto the beach. After gathering them back up, I discovered this coveted little shell was already taken!

You may be wondering how our “Nah we’ll just dispute it” ended up. Let’s just say this was a very expensive hike, and bring your fricking Discover Pass or pay the extra $10.

Anyway. On our second trip, Jim and I took his parents, and my mom (and our Discover Pass!) on this hike the day after my birthday. It was a lot windier, and pretty rainy that time around, but still beautiful! I tried to take some different photos. The tide was low, so we made it to the cave! This is my mom at the cave. We saw at least four banana slugs out, some pretty flowers, and more tiny crabs!

This is a beautiful hike, a quintessential NW trip, and I encourage people to go there. Just not too many people, ’cause I wanna hike there with no crowds. 🙂

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