Thursday, September 27, 2012

Point No Point: Fishing, Birdwatching, and Northwest History

While I'm a local girl with family roots in the Puget Sound region extending back over 140 years, there are still many places around here I've never been.  The way I see it, there's more than a lifetime's worth of places to explore close by, like Point No Point (Hahd-Skus as the local Indians called it) on the northeasternmost point of Kitsap Peninsula, just a ferry ride across the Sound from the Seattle area.

A few weeks ago a couple friends and I headed there early on a Saturday morning for a photography outing.  After Cameron picked us up at the Bainbridge ferry, with a bag of warm muffins from a local bakery  to share (bless him!), we drove north about 25 minutes. Our route passed through the Port Madison Indian Reservation and bucolic pastures en route to Point No Point, land's end, in Hansville.

First ferry of the day from Seattle arriving at Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island

Since we arrived early, we were there with the birders and fishers (mostly men but a few women, too). On this low-lying spit of land, a wetland below the lighthouse is a birder's haven. And most of the former mighty Puget Sound salmon runs pass by here, making it a seasonal magnet for local fishermen and women.

Fly fishers at Point No Point, facing eastward

The guy on the left  with a couple silver salmon had better luck than most today.
While reveling in the fresh  sea air on this cool September morning, we took lots of pictures and did a little exploring.  A trail south from the lighthouse extends past wetlands, and we stopped at a nice viewing platform just off the trail for some more shots. We didn't see many birds, but a great blue heron did grace us with his presence in the marsh below.

Trail to bird viewing platform, wetland to the right.
Driftwood sculpture...or not?
In the the late 1870s the lighthouse was established here at Point No Point (the first on Puget Sound). Today the historic lighthouse is no longer functioning, but it was just restored and reopened a few months ago as a symbol of the region's historic lighthouses. 

Historic Point No Point Lighthouse

And this point was the site of the sweeping Treaty of Point No Point in 1855, where  local Indian Tribes (S'Klallam,  Chimakum, and Skokomish) were essentially bullied into ceding their land from the Olympic Mountains on the west all the way to the Cascade Mountains on the east to the U. S. government.  While the tribes were provided token reservation land to inhabit, an important trade-off  was the allowance of hunting and fishing rights, which persist today.

I'm tempted to grab some friends and come over here some weekend to spend the night at the former lighthouse keeper's house, which has been converted into a duplex, half of which is available for rent.  I can see it now - relaxing on the covered porch with a nightcap and then again in the morning with a cup of tea. 

What are you memories of Point No Point? Have you stayed at the lighthouse keeper's house? Would love to hear in the comments below!

When You Go
This link has directions to drive to Point No Point.   Here's a link to rental information.  There's a two-night minimum stay on weekends and it costs $215/night. We took the Bainbridge ferry from Seattle, but if you're north of downtown, the Edmonds-Kingston ferry is closer. For a good article about the lighthouse history, here's a story from the Seattle Times.


Dave Wenning said...

I remember visiting the light with my parents in the 1950's when it was still an active Coast Guard station. One thing I recall were the strange plants growing there, like Teasel, that I had never seen before.

Do we no longer use the term fisherpersons? ;-)

Gayle said...

Great shots, Jill. Especially the ferry sunrise--wow!

jill said...

Ha Dave, I can't stand "fisherperson," sounds too uber PC. Not sure if Teasel is still growing there, not sure what that is! BTW my grandparents place on the Sound was just two houses away from the Brown's Point Lighthouse, and the light from the lighthouse used to flash all night long, remember seeing that even through the closed curtains.

Dave Wenning said...

Yes, I think "fisherperson" and its ilk went out with the '70's.

Brown's Point is not too far from Gig Harbor where I grew up.

Anonymous said...

Great shots! I loved my visit to point no point...took our pup there when she was just little, great memories!

mab said...

Our family was just at Point No Point for the first time last month in August and we toured the lighthouse too and visited the little volunteer-run shop where we got icecream bars and walked barefoot all the way down the beach. fun.

Northwest Native Plants said...

Thanks for providing such valuable info worth recommending to our friends and followers. More power to you!

Anonymous said...

Ive been visiting point no point my whole life. Its one of my "peaceful places" in washington. A good tip is: the part of the beach when you first pull in is where most of the big waves hit but if you keep going to the point of the beach thats just behind the lighthouse the water is more calm and you'll find that its very pleasing to wade into the water a ways out and fish for seashells. I actually was just there today and the fisherman dont go too far around the bendso its also better if you want open spsasce without gettin hit with a line lol i always tell people who either arent from Washington or have just never been that this is definitely a place you want to make regular visits to. Beyond beautiful.