Thursday, December 3, 2015

We expected frightful weather

All ready for the rain
When I got up to head out for today's hike, I fretted about what to wear in order to be comfortable and safe on a day predicted to be wet, warm and windy. When I am exposed to the rain with the wind blowing, I tend to get cold, even if the temperature is in the 50s (13 C), as it was today. Twelve of us showed up anyway. You can see Rich here has got his rain cover on his backpack and a plastic cover on his hat as well. We drove in three cars to the trailhead on Whidbey Island, to walk up to Goose Rock, one of our usual winter destinations in Deception Pass State Park. We last visited it in February, when it was REALLY wet. I labeled that one "A soggy Goose Rock hike." We expected the same today, given the forecast.
Looking out at Rosario Strait
Nope. I took the picture above to show that little patch of blue sky as we looked out across the Rosario Strait. Last February (in the link above), I decided to include a map of the area, so anybody familiar with Whidbey Island would know just where we were. We started at West Beach and went under the Deception Pass Bridge on our way to Goose Rock.
Map of Deception Pass State Park with Goose Rock circled in red
We could also have parked at the bridge and gone directly to Goose Rock, but we are accustomed to a longer hike, so we usually start a little ways away. Al has managed to finesse this hike over the years to one that ends up somewhere around seven miles, with around 1,500 feet of elevation gain and loss. We can always make it shorter or longer, depending on conditions.
Al heading up the trail, ocean below on the left
The area is well used, especially in the summer months, so you can see how well maintained much of the trail is in the picture above. There are many side trails, and without someone with a GPS, it would be easy to get lost, but Al kept us on track. As we continued our hike, the weather only got better and better.
Peggy and Rich in front as we made our way up to Goose Rock
Although Rich is still in his rain skirt, he never needed it. This picture was taken just before we made our final push to the top of Goose Rock to settle in and have lunch. We did have some wind, but at this point, after traveling uphill, it felt good and helped to cool us off some.
A lovely madrona tree
We traveled through a grove of madrona trees, which has red bark that peels away to expose smooth green bark underneath. You can read all about them here. They are native to the Pacific Northwest and very beautiful. I've taken pictures of them every time we come here, and I did not doctor the color at all. They are truly that red.
The beach below
After lunch, we headed back to the cars, and this picture shows the beach we sometimes walk along when we return. Today we had high tide and the beach was inaccessible along much of it, so we stayed on the trail and listened to the waves crashing below us. I love that sound; it makes me so relaxed. And still, no rain. Until we were almost within sight of the cars, I didn't want to jinx it by mentioning our good fortune.

As we drove away, the sun came out in full force, causing us all to marvel at the unexpected weather. What a beautiful, perfect day! And now as I sit here writing my post, the wind is howling outside, and I think the rain will be starting any minute. But that's okay, now, since I'm safe and warm inside after a fantastic day at Deception Pass with some great people.


  1. How lucky. And lovely.
    I adore the madrona trees and would have many, many photos of them.

  2. Love the red bark...such a stark contrast to the other trees along the way.

    As for the hike...that one photo, with the ocean view to the left, reminds me of a highway in China!!! Don't ask me why, but it does.

  3. Sometimes, I wonder why we have weather forecasts when the forecasts are always wrong. I am so glad that you did not get rained on.

  4. It's so nice when rain doesn't materialize at this time of year. We always get more than enough in the fall, but this year has had a lot of dry aeather for getting out.

  5. Love the photos. The scenery looks very inviting. It sounds like a good trail to hike compared to some others that seem more like endurance than beautiful scenery. Are most of your hikes filled with picture postcard views?

  6. I always notice your concern with weather. Weather is important as it can cause serious problems if you don't respect it.

  7. Great photos. As always the scenery is incredible!

  8. What wonderful ocean views! I just love it when I go out hiking and the weather turns out better than predicted. Mother Nature's bonus!

  9. I love the color of those Madrona trees, I hope to see one someday myself! A great hike for sure, glad the rain stayed away! We are warming up and our snow is melting:)

  10. yay for a good day!! i could almost hear the waves. :)

    i can tell my eyes are tired. i read the caption under the first photo as 'al' instead of 'all' - then when you said 'rich here...' i said, wait, i thought that was al! :)

  11. You certainly had a lucky and wonderful day! Yay!


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