Forest giants, rocky beach, treacherous currents-a trip to Deception Pass State Park

There are certain benefits of being retired, one of which is being able to take day trips on weekdays, when destinations may be less crowded.  One of the most popular photos on this blog has been a picture I took many years ago, from the Deception Pass Bridge, which connects Whidbey Island with the Washington State mainland near the town of Anacortes.  Yesterday, amid a record-breaking heatwave, Hubby and I got into the car late in the afternoon, and drove up to Deception Pass State Park, where the high temperature was forecast to be only in the 70s, versus the 90s around home.

We had a pleasant drive, and when we arrived on the south side of the Deception Pass Bridge, we discovered that the bridge was being worked on, and the south parking lot was closed, being used as a construction-site staging area.  We could not walk out onto the bridge, as all the walkways were reserved for the many construction workers we saw as we were leaving.  Personally, when I walk out on that bridge, my acrophobia takes hold, and I can only stand there for a very short time.  Gee, just writing this gives me heart palpitations!  So I didn’t mind not being able to photograph the beach from the bridge this time.  We were able to park by the side of the road, however, and headed down the steep forest path to the beach below.  I did get a picture of the hillside across the highway, with its mixed forest of evergreen and deciduous trees, including the Madrona which is endemic here.


I also liked the shadows of the trees, on the big rock by the road.

We didn’t have to go very far down the path, before we came upon one of the very large trees growing there.  I did a short video, moving the camera upward, to capture the full height of this Douglas Fir tree, with Hubby for scale.

Follow the camera up to the top of this big tree!

From a bit up the path from this tree, here’s the view to the beach below, and on down the coast.


A bit farther down the path, we encountered another forest giant, in a slightly different position.


On the left side of this picture, you can see the huge, downed Douglas Fir tree which is acting as a “nurse log” for the younger tree which is growing right out of the remains of its trunk.  I was fascinated by the way the smaller trunk in front grew horizontally for a few feet, before turning upward to catch the sun and grow vertically.  There are actually two new trees growing out of the trunk of the downed tree!  Nature doesn’t waste a thing,

A way farther down, at the beach parking lot, grew another huge Western Red Cedar tree.  I had Hubby stand in front for scale.


We were nearly at the beach.  We could now, after crossing some driftwood, see the bridge above, and its mantle of tarps.  I wondered how they were able to apply those tarps to cover the scaffolding?  Looks like an engineering marvel to me.


In this picture, if you look at the center of the channel, you can see what looks like turbulent water.  This is the infamous Deception Pass Current.  This violent, treacherous current runs from west to east under the bridge, and has been known to dash unsuspecting boats against the outcroppings of big rocks on either side of the channel.  I uploaded a video to my Rumble site, so you can see how fast that current runs.  Let me know what you think.

Here are some pictures I took down on the beach.  It was around 5:45PM.




Here you can see both halves of the bridge, and get a better idea of where the current tuns-you can see the more turbulent current in the center of the channel.  Here is another picture across the channel.


There was a huge driftwood log, that looked like it must have been a pretty big tree in its youth.  I always wonder where they came from, and where they went before fetching up on this beach.


The tide was coming in when we were there, and you can see the surf.  This picture also is great for seeing the current.


When we had been on the beach long enough, we headed back up the path to the parking lot.  There were some bushes growing by the path, and flowers!


We agreed that Hubby would walk back up the steep path to the car, and come down to pick me up.  So I sat down at a picnic table to wait.  However, just behind the picnic table was a big tree with a sign on it, and I just had to go investigate.  Here’s what the sign said.


Just from this picture, you can get a pretty good idea of what the whole tree looks like.


So this big tree is available for people to climb up, with supervision and available ropes.  I think this is an excellent idea-maybe a parent could reward a kid for good behavior, with a trip to climb that tree.

Across the parking lot, I spotted a huge stump of a tree that had been cut down.


That’s a pretty tall stump of a Douglas Fir.  I wonder why they cut it down in the first place, and why they left so much stump standing.  Here’s a section of the part they cut off, which was lying a short distance away.


I walked around the end on the right, to look at the cross-section to see if the tree was maybe rotten or diseased inside.  Sure looks healthy to me, and still dripping sap!


Just look at the thickness of that bark!  Here’s a closeup of the bark.


The bark even has layers.  And look at those rings!  I was not patient enough to count them all, but I bet that was an old tree.


All in all, a great trip to the beach, and the forest all in one!

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