A few days ago I was fortunate to tag along with fellow blogger Dave of Fidalgo Island Crossings and Wild Fidalgo for a hike through the park. Dave, who has lived near Deception Pass for over 25 years, is an astute observer of the natural world. He is the perfect guide for a walk in the park he knows well, and shares his impressive knowledge of plants with an infectious enthusiasm.
We meet on a weekday morning at the North Beach Parking lot, where Dave greets Julie, Jerry, and me with a smile and leads us up the trail and into the forest. Our primary goal is to see the wild rhododendrons (or "rhodies" as I grew up calling them) blooming in the forest below Goose Rock.
|Dave leading, scanning the forest.
Thinking I'll show what I know about native plants from growing up beside a lowland forest, I point out "Oregon grape!"
In the nicest way possible, Dave corrects me. "That's actually mahonia nervosa, low Oregon grape. Easily confused."
As we stroll through the gorgeous forest, Dave talks about the poor soil conditions here, and how the smaller trees shoot off from the older, larger trees to grow and be sustained. So really, under the soil surface, much of the forest life is interconnected. Which I think is quite beautiful and analogous to most life on our fragile planet.
Dave gets excited as he spots the first rhodies in the woods. While not in bloom, the rich, dark pink buds are visible on several branches, atop the shiny splayed leaves.
We skirt down to the Cornet Bay shoreline, where I attempt to go dip my fingers in the sea, a ritual of mine. The others sensibly watch me from the high tideline. It's too mucky to get to the water.
We then follow Dave up another trail that goes to the top of Goose Rock. En route, we have views down to the bay and spot brilliant orange-red harsh paintbrush alongside the trail.
|Harsh paintbrush (Castilleja hispida)
Approaching the rock "balds" near the summit, all sorts of delicate meadow wildflowers line the trail. Cameras come out and we start snapping away in the spring sunshine.
|Chocolate lily (Fritillaria affinis, F. lanceolata) in front, blue common camas (Camassia quamash), and buttercups.
|Death camas (Toxicoscordion venenosum, Zigadenus venenosus)
Work demands that we head back down now, but first Dave leads us under the south side of Deception Pass Bridge and up onto the bridge. I always find this bridge/view exhilarating.
|Have camera, will travel.
|Looking west-northwest towards Deception Island and Lopez Island in the distance.
What spring wildflowers have you seen this year? We always love to hear from you in the Comments below. Happy trails and thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons.
When You Go
Now playing! The show is on now, so go soon for the peak display. Bring your camera, sturdy walking shoes, and the usual suspects such as rain gear, sunscreen, etc. depending on the weather forecast. You'll need a Discover Pass to park at Deception Pass State Park, which is about a 90-minute drive north of Seattle. Here is a map of the park, where you'll see Goose Rock. We found the rhodies on the Discovery Trail - I think.
Click here to see Dave's blog, where you can learn about the plants and wildlife we saw on this outing. My blog is more about experiences and some things I learned along the way.