It’s raining. That shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing as this is the Pacific Northwest. However, they have had an unusually dry summer and this is the first rain in weeks. Given the chaotic nature of the past week, it’s been a good opportunity to catch up on writing. Continue reading “Settling In, Sort Of”
This recent trip to Washington State was mostly taken up by the funeral for Laura’s mother, Merline Wright. However, we were able to do some things not related to funeral services. These included some shopping expeditions, meals out, and one trip up into the mountains. Continue reading “Washington State – the Non-Funeral Stuff”
I’ve been offline for the last week or so. Laura’s mother passed away on June 13 and we have been in Washington State on Samish Island for the funeral. I only had my phone for Internet access, so I’ve not been able to upload photos or do much blogging. I’ll try to catch up with things in these next couple of posts. Continue reading “A Funeral in Washington”
The celebration actually started yesterday. There were the beach fireworks Duff and I saw while paddling, usually involving ordnance obtained from the reservation and NOT approved by Washington State law. Also, the neighbors a couple of doors down had hired a band. Duff and I had heard them while paddling, and back home they were really loud.
After dark Laura and I walked out front and watched (and listened to) fireworks both on the reservation across Padilla Bay and on the San Juan Islands. For some of them, if these weren’t official shows, then someone was REALLY in violation of the “safe and sane” fireworks laws.
Monday, July the Fourth was one of the best Independence Days we’ve ever had. It started quietly enough like every other morning on the island so far. I even skipped another paddling opportunity in order to sleep in a bit. Mid-morning we decided to head down to the Samish Island Parade on North Beach. Continue reading “A Samish Island Fourth of July”
It looked like I wasn’t going to get to go paddling this trip. I had thought about just buying a kayak and leaving it up here for future trips, but couldn’t find anything reasonable. I thought about booking another tour, but by that time most had filled up with holiday travelers.
Fortunately, the neighbor Duff came to my rescue. He had several homemade Fiberglas boats that we had used before, but they weren’t easy to reach. They were at the bottom of the cliff on the south side of the island. We managed to haul them up the cliff, but by that time it was late in the evening, and we were a bit tired from the haul to go paddling.
After discussing options we decided to take the boats up the Valley and run a section of the Skagit River. This was something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, so I was psyched. We loaded the boats onto our rental, since it had roof racks.
The next morning Duff and I headed out in two vehicles. We had barely gotten off the island when one of the boats came loose and slid off of my car. Fortunately there was no damage to car or boat, and we were able to get it loaded back on an limp home. However, we needed to regroup. Continue reading “Paddling Around Samish Bay”
The view from Mrs. Wright’s living room is constantly changing. The lighting changes with the rising and setting of the sun, clouds and weather roll in, and there is the constant shifting of the tides. Throw in a couple of eagles, herons, and humming birds, along with some boat traffic, and you’ve got a constant … Continue reading A Day on Samish Island
Mrs. Wright’s house looks out over Padilla Bay, a section of the Puget Sound bounded by Samish Island to the north, the flat farmlands of Skagit Valley to the east and south, and Fidalgo Island south and west. The Swinomish Channel runs between Fidalgo Island and the mainland, connecting Padilla Bay to Skagit Bay.
On the east side of the bay, near the little community of Bayview, is the Padilla Bay Preserve. As many times as I’ve driven past here over the past 20 years, I had never stopped in. I decided that had to change on this trip. It was sunny one afternoon this past week, so I headed on over.
The Padilla Bay Preserve actually encompasses the east side of the bay. Just south of Bayview is a paved walkway that provides great views of the bay and the surrounding wetlands and farmlands. North of Bayview is the Brezeale Interpretive Center – a research and meeting center with displays for the general public. I had walked along the pathway, but had never been to the visitors center. Continue reading “Padilla Bay Preserve”
Wednesday I left Laura and her mom to get settled into the house a bit more, and I headed out to explore. I kind of had a couple of destinations in mind, but I wasn’t really sure where I would wind up. as it turns out, I did a ton of hiking in several locations.
My first stop was at a wildlife observation area just about a mile from the island. You have to have a permit to park there, so I park out on the road and walked out anyway.
I followed a trail along cultivated fields, heading toward the dike that keeps Padilla Bay from flooding the farmlands.
Our first morning after arriving on the island, Duff the neighbor came over and asked if we had seen the fireworks across the bay. Of course, we were still on East Coast time then, so we hadn’t. The next evening I managed to stay up late enough so that I could watch them. At this … Continue reading Fireworks, Swinomish Style
Every time one of Laura’s family visits from the West Coast we get the inevitable comment about there being a church on every corner. The comment is valid. Even as a native I’m surprised when I turn a corner to find a large Greek Revival structure I’d not spotted before – and that doesn’t even include the store-front churches that pop-up just about everywhere.
So, I guess my friends here in the Pacific Northwest have the same reaction when I comment about there being a coffee shop on every corner. I’m stating the obvious. After all, this is the home of Starbucks.