Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ferry to Whidbey Island, Washington

 Hi all, Dianne here.  One of the many things on our to-do list while visiting the Olympic Peninsula was to take a ferry over to spend the day on nearby Whidbey Island.   The main attraction (for us) was to do some awesome hiking, so our hiking buddies Bandido and Tequila came along with us.

We packed lunch and water for ourselves and the dogs, hopped in the car, and made our way to the Fort Townsend ferry dock.  

Never having taken a ferry before, we simply drove up to the toll booth and paid our fare.  The attendant asked if we had a reservation, but when we said no, she simply took our money and waved us into a waiting lane.  Our timing was impeccable, because we practically drove right onto the ferry (meaning we were the last people aboard) and we were off.  

I walked to the front of the ferry to snap a shot of Whidbey Island as we made our approach.

The trip to Whidbey Island took about a half hour.  They very efficiently unloaded once we reached the dock and we were soon on our way, ready to explore.
Roger had downloaded information about a hike we wanted to take, so we drove to Ebey's Landing to find the trail head at Prairie Overlook.

This truly was one of the most unusual (and best) hikes we've ever taken.  It starts off in an agricultural area (with beautiful views).  
That's Mount Baker in the background
We hiked up a hill and through new-mown hayfields  until we were on top of a tall bluff  overlooking the ocean. 
It smelled SO GOOD!

Hey, Mom!  Check out the View!

Roger had me and the "kids" pose with a dead log on top of the bluff, with Puget Sound as a backdrop. 

We followed along the high bluff for a while and then the trail made a steep decline down a sandy hill to the beach.

Did I mention it was a tall bluff?

By this time we had hiked almost five miles, and we still had two miles down the rocky beach to get back.  (We hiked a longer version of this hike than most people do because of where we started it).  

The beaches in Washington are not like those in 
Oregon.  They are narrow, with lots of rocks and downed trees that have washed ashore.   We collected a few pretty and/or unusual beach rocks to add to our collection....

On the way back we also saw an eagle perched atop a dead tree scoping out the beach below.
Finally after making it two miles down the beach, we took the spur trail back to where our car was parked at Prairie Overlook.  On the way we passed more beautiful agricultural areas...

By this time we were all starving.  Roger and I were especially hungry, because the day after Kaia left we started a 7-day diet plan.  (I'll explain more about that in our next blog update).  There had been no trail mix, almonds, cheese, summer sausage, or other of our usual carry-along trail snacks, only water.  All we had eaten this day so far were bananas and skim milk, and the days before that had been nothing but fruit and/or vegetables.  Here's what we packed for lunch so that we could stay on our diet plan that day:
Water, Vegetable Soup, and MORE bananas!  
While we were enjoying our lunch, a young woman came up to us and asked to see our dogs.  We talked for quite a while, and she explained that her husband, an E.R. physician, was biking around the island and she (pregnant with twins) was following him in their jeep.  As we started to say our good-byes, she said "If you're on the 4:30 ferry, I'll see you again."  When we replied that we  did not yet have a reservation for our return trip, she told us that they usually like to have reservations on this popular route, and that they are supposed to be made at least two hours ahead.  Uh-oh!!  We had so blithely lucked out on our ferry ride over to the island that it didn't occur to us that we might have trouble getting home without a reservation.  

We drove into a little town to get phone reception, and Roger called right away to make reservations.  
After working his way through the phone tree, he finally got a person on the end of the line who informed him that the ferries were all sold out until 7:00.  Needless to say, we booked it right away!  We were so thankful that the young woman struck up a conversation with us, or who knows when we would have made it home.  

Roger also wanted to see the Deception Pass bridge and state park.  Ordinarily we would pay the park admission and spend some time hiking, but having already hiked for 7 miles that afternoon we decided to just take a peek at the bridge.
You can kinda see the bridge through the trees....

We got a quick look at what the trails looked like, and someday when we return (we've already decided we will) we'll hike those trails too.

Then it was on to the small town of Langley.  On the way, we passed by an inlet filled with colorful sailboats.  

We arrived in Langley and saw that they were having a farmer's market.  
Unfortunately for us, it was late in the afternoon and most of the fresh fruits and veggies were sold out (we were only allowed to eat bananas and vegetable soup that day anyway).  The rest of the tents were serving up things that smelled way too good to us, so we beat a hasty retreat.

We found a small shopping area and walked 
around, but most of the shops were just closing up.  We did find a boutique with a watering station out front for our dogs, which they wasted no time emptying.

Here are my "salt and pepper" dogs sharing a drink:
We headed back toward Coupeville and the ferry terminal.  My soup and bananas had long-since worn off, and my stomach was growling.  

Another "bucket list" item for me while in the Oregon/Washington area was to stop at one of the ubiquitous drive-through coffee shacks that seem to be everywhere in the Pacific Northwest.  
So far this trip I hadn't made it to one.  But with  grumbling stomachs we decided to cheat a bit on our diet and have a skim latte.  The barista was a perky little thing, and fixed us right up.
From there, we continued on to Coupeville to be sure to make it for our appointed ferry time.  We were supposed to be in line 40 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure time.  I made fun of Roger because, true to form, we arrived way early.   

The procedure is to queue up in a special lane along the side of the road leading to the ferry terminal toll booth.

These cars in front of us had shown up early to try to get one of the few spots set aside for those without a reservation.  When we got nearer to the toll booth and they asked if we had a reservation, we were plucked out of line and sent to the front of lane 1.  What was really cool about that is that when it was time to drive onto the ferry, we had the primo spot in the front row, with a wide-open view of the crossing!  The early bird really does get the worm.  They even chocked our front wheels to make sure we didn't roll out the front during the trip if anything went wrong.  
We just leaned back and enjoyed the view!

The ferries allow cars, trucks towing boats, motor homes, and even semi tractor-trailers aboard, as you can see in this photo taken out my passenger window of the two lanes next to ours:

When we arrived back at the Fort Townsend ferry dock, all of the passengers who had walked aboard congregated in front of our cars so that they could walk off first.  There was a group of motorcycles to our side who also got to disembark before the cars.  It was interesting for us landlubbers to watch the whole procedure.

By the time we drove back to Sequim it was starting to get dark.  The doggies were sacked out on their hammock in the back seat, and for a moment I thought we might have to carry them in like we used to carry our girls when they were small.

The pet picture of the day shows Bandido and Tequila tethered to the fence at the trail head after we returned from our hike.  They must have looked especially cute that day, because they garnered lots of attention everywhere they went and loved every minute of it.
We love to hike!

1 comment:

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

That is a beautiful area. We have friends that live there, but have never visited them there. Clearly, a mistake on our part.