The view from Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island, WA

Summer is the Annual Permission Slip…

Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds.   Regina Brett

The view from Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island, WA

For the second summer in a row our traditionally beautiful August has been smothered with smoke from wildfires burning across the western United States and Canada.  After weeks of air quality alerts and directions to remain indoors with closed windows the noxious smoke is starting to dissipate leaving me longing for missed hiking opportunities and lazy summer days at the beach filled with sunshine and a good book.

Whenever there was a break in the smoke we literally ran for the hills so I do have a few new mountain photos to share, stay tuned, but I had to dip into the archives for a pretty summer day at the beach…

 

Advertisements

Textures and Elemental Sounds

The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.  Henry Beston

Regular readers know I like to start these WordPress photo challenges with a quote that leads to a small story related to a favorite photo and I build the post from there.  It usually takes me a few days to find a quote that both catches my interest and matches a picture but 9 times out of 10 it all comes together.

Every once in a while though I start the process at the end deciding on a picture first and sometimes I don’t quite make it through the full circle of quote with challenge word, story and images.  Today’s post is one of those exceptions where I hit 2 of the three marks but that elusive third is not quite complete.  Oh well.  I feel a connection to the quote, it works with my photos and it’s a good intro to this weeks story.  The fact that the word prompt, textures, isn’t in the quote will just have to be ok because this primeval wood is full of texture.

I started nodding my head as I read this quote for the first time and when I called Ryan in to read it he looked over and said “Mom, you say those things all the time.”  My words don’t quite match Henry Beston’s but these are indeed the three natural things I enjoy most about this part of our country.  I pick remote hiking and camping locations just so I can hear the uninterrupted sound of wind through the trees and the mesmerizing rhythm of waves rolling onto an otherwise quiet beach is something I seek out often as possible.  I even find ways to enjoy the sound of rain and find comfort in the pitter patter of wet drops on the roof while trying to fall asleep.

As luck would have it Ryan and I found all three of these elemental sound textures during our latest hiking trips through the islands and forests of Washington state.  I’ve included a photo of a small waterfall to illustrate the rain because we’re in the middle of what may turn into the longest rain-free stretch in Seattle area history but take my word for it, a small trickling waterfall sounds a lot like rain.

 

Satisfaction

Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.  E. O. Wilson

 

If you’ve ever wondered why Pacific Northwesterners put up with dreary, wet winters it’s because of summers like this.  We don’t have formal vacation plans this year but when an island hike is a short hour away from home who needs an airplane!

It only took a few minutes for Ryan and I to pack a lunch and check ferry schedules before we were out the door and on our way to Whidbey Island for our favorite hike along Ebey’s Landing.  We started at the top soaking up these beautiful views then made our way down to the beach for lunch where  Ryan found a driftwood fort just the right size for two and we settled in for our picnic, watching the waves and listening to seagulls.

A day away from our usual routines does wonders for the soul and the satisfaction of a true escape to nature can carry us through the weeks ahead.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weight(less) Kites

You will find truth more quickly through delight than gravity.  Let out a little more string on your kite.

Alan Cohen

Weight(less) 1

This week Ben asks us to share a photo of something marked by its weight – or it’s weightlessness.  Ryan carried his new kite through a full day of hiking and beach combing on Whidbey Island waiting for the perfect amount of wind and if you look closely at the bluff in the background you can just make out the winding trail that led us to the viewpoint in my last post about an invincible summer.

Weight(less) 2

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Weight(less)

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (Invincible Summer)

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

iPhone Nature 2 1-8_Snapseed

When our winter days are cold and dark I hold tight to moments like this knowing summer will come again.  I took this Whidbey Island photo on a picture perfect August day as we hiked along Ebey’s Bluff after lunch on the beach below.  The warm, salty sea breeze and sparkling blue water were enough to make the day memorable but what you can’t see is the pod of Orca Whales that swam and played just off shore.  I’ve had the good fortune to spot whales before but this was my quietest encounter and the first time I could enjoy the view completely free from boat traffic and small airplanes buzzing by to follow their every move.

Posted today as part of Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge:  Nature

A Surprise Every Day: Shaking Up August With Hipstamatic (week 1)

Well, it’s Monday morning and our staycation week is over but sorting through my new photos to find one image from each day has been a fun trip back through our latest adventures.  Our goal was to visit at least one mountain, island, river, beach and city while trying new things and as of today we accomplished just that.  Our feet need a rest and the laundry is out of control but we’ve got plenty of happy memories stored away and a long list of places we want to revisit when summer changes to fall.

Our week started bright and early Sunday morning with a hike up to Wallace Falls.  We made it all the way to the upper falls and the view down was spectacular but my favorite part of the day was the climb through old and second-growth forest.  This shot is from our last rest stop along the river on the way back down.  We spent Monday exploring Port Townsend and Fort Warden on the Olympic Peninsula, a pretty ferry ride from Edmonds.  I’ll have plenty of photos to share over the next few weeks but this view is of the caretaker’s house next to the lighthouse at Pt. Wilson.  Tuesday found us a little closer to home enjoying lunch on the deck and a walk through Carkeek Park in Seattle.  Inside the park we found this little orchard and some of the trees had bags tied over the young apples as part of an art project to be revealed in September.  We’ll have to go back to see the final results.

Wednesday was our “in-the-city” day with a trip to the Seattle Aquarium, lunch on the waterfront and a ride on the Great Wheel.  Thursday was our 21st Anniversary and my aunt Maryellen joined us on a beautiful hike up the Ira Spring trail near Snoqualmie Pass.  This peaceful view of Mason Lake was our lunchtime reward for climbing the 3.5 mile trail straight up the mountain.  Our sandwiches, fruit, trail mix and chips were just enough fuel to power our trek back down to the forest service access road and by the time we made it home pizza on the couch was the perfect dinner.

Our final adventure of the week was a trip to Whidbey Island and a hike through Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve.  We enjoyed another ferry ride followed by coffee and cinnamon rolls in Coupeville before heading to Ebey’s Landing for lunch on the beach and a hike along the bluff.  I could write a weeks worth of posts about this day but today you get an image of Ryan winding up for a rock skipping throw before flying his kite while whales jumped and swam past our picnic spot on the beach.  What a day!  I knew it would be hard to live up to Friday but Saturday definitely took a turn for the worse and I’m sorry to say my aunt’s sweet little Prius will never be the same…  She’s alright though so everything can be solved with a little time, a little luck and some creative thinking.

Even though I was away from WordPress last week I posted plenty of new photos on Instagram and Facebook so if you’d like to see more of where we’ve been please stop by and take a look. 🙂

Each photo was taken with my iPhone 6 using Hipstamatic’s “shake to randomize” function then posted without any additional editing. If you like a particular combination and want to try it at home just click on the image to see the lens and filter used.  For variety I continue to add new lenses and filters so if you want to try Hipstamatic but are unsure how to start let me know and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall (Deception Pass Bridge)

The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.
Theo Jansen

Wall

Whidbey Island’s Deception Pass Bridge is a wonderful example of Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s premise that the walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.  Dedicated in 1935 this beautiful cantilever truss bridge joined the National Registry of Historic Places in 1982 and today carries 20,000 cars a day between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands.   The bridge has two lanes for traffic and two sidewalks for anyone who would like to experience the crossing on foot and take a few photos to share back home.

If you’re interested in a short history of the bridge I wrote a black and white post about this area last year and if you’d like to learn more about the construction process and the surrounding State Park this Whidbey and Camano Islands website is full of technical information, local stories and historical photos.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Wall.

Black & White Tuesday: 4-29-14

B&W Tuesday 4-29-14

I haven’t posted a new Black and White Tuesday photo for a few weeks but after our Sunday afternoon hike around Deception Pass State Park I’ve got plenty of new photos ready to share.

In the spring of 1792, Joseph Whidbey, master of HMS Discovery and Captain Vancouver‘s chief navigator proved that it was not really a small bay as charted by the Spaniards (hence the name “Deception”), but a deep and turbulent channel that connects the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the Saratoga Passage, which separates the mainland from what they believed was a peninsula (actually Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island). Thomas Coupe, a sea captain and founder of Coupeville, was the only man ever to sail a full-rigged ship through the strait discovered by Whidbey.

In the early years of the 20th century, travelers of the horse-and-buggy era used an unscheduled ferry to cross from Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island. To call the ferry, they banged a saw with a mallet and then sat back to wait.

The bridge, one of the scenic wonders of the Pacific Northwest, is actually two spans, one over Canoe Pass to the north, and another over Deception Pass to the south. Construction began in August 1934, and the completed bridge was dedicated at noon on July 31, 1935. The Wallace Bridge and Structural Co. of Seattle, Washington provided 460 tons of steel for the 511-foot Canoe Pass arch and 1130 tons for the 976-foot Deception Pass span. The cost of the New Deal-era construction was $482,000, made possible through the Public Works Administration and county funds.

In 1982, the bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

It cost more to paint the spans in 1983 than to build them in 1935. They were painted again in 1997.

Source – Wikipedia Deception Pass Bridge