Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hike of the Week, Part B : Ebey's Landing Bluff Trail

After the previous day's successful hike, we headed back out early on Sunday morning, hitting the road before 8 and somehow making the 8:30 ferry from Mukilteo -- woot!

We were hoping for stormy weather because we wanted to test out our Gore-tex ... jackets, trousers, the lot. Driving north on Whidbey Island through the drizzle it seemed promising. We got out of our car at the Prairie Overlook to this sky:

Okay, okay, that was just bad lighting. But here's a panorama. Seriously cloudy... but the rain had stopped.

What's more, it looked like the sky was getting brighter. Amusing that a day when we wanted rain stayed dry... We did, however, bundle up against the wind...

We set off from Prairie Overlook along the Ebey Prairie Trail.

Ebey's Landing is named after Isaac Ebey, who settled here in 1850 and claimed land for his family (including his father, Jacob... who named his claim Sunnyside...)

We would be hiking out to the bluff, then along the bluff, then down to the water and back in a big loop.

Amusingly, this trail is described as having a "mercifully short gravel access road". Now, look, it's not as if this is an 8-lane superhighway... just a nice, flat bit of gravel.

The trail ran next to a field that, apparently, will grow alfalfa soon. This sign still makes me laugh. (And, no, before you ask, they don't grow buckwheat...)

The field to the left had recently been plowed and looked rich and fertile.

We got to the bluff and, as recommended, turned right. With a very strong wind at our backs, we headed up the hill. The path on the ridge was super smooth, but pretty narrow and, in parts, had a steep drop-off down the left-hand side.

Between the gusting wind and the steep slope, Wil chose to use his walking pole. Smart choice!

We could look down and see Perego's Lake below. (Or is it a lagoon?)

We only met a handful of people on the trail... and luckily none when it was especially slender!

We couldn't see anyone on the beach below us, but at least could tell that there was a path and we'd be able to walk back along it.

When we reached the end of the lake, the trail split and we headed down to the beach. The trail marking was a little weird, with the sign being a few yards after the fork, evidently in an attempt to stop people using a shortcut. But we soldiered on. When we got to the first switchback the edge had been slightly washed away, which probably looked scarier than it was, but we just stuck to the uphill side of the hairpin and kept going. That said, you'll note there are no photographs during this phase...

Here at the top end of the lake, you can see how high up we were. Seriously.

In case you were wondering, yes, it was still super windy down here. So windy that I got blown over a bit while taking a panorama. Note the black edge in the top right of this photo:

The sky and the light kept shifting, and we walked alongside the lake. Or lagoon.

We wondered whether it's salty or fresh ... but it looked a bit murky so we didn't try it. I've since read it described as "saltwater-influenced" ... whatever that means...

Looking across the lake you can see the trail on the bluff, and some tiny hikers.

When we got to the lower end of the lake, we crossed over onto the beach for a bit. While walking here we saw a seagull suddenly rise up out of the driftwood with a wriggling beastie in his beak. I had no idea that gulls hunt animals like that!

Though there were a few people we could see behind us, we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. Glorious!

We got to the parking area at Ebey's Landing and headed up the stairs back to the bluff.

Just a couple of hundred yards of gradual elevation gain, and then we were back on the Ebey's Prairie Trail and then back in the car. We made a stop in lovely Coupeville for lunch at Toby's and a bit of shopping.

Another great, giddy, happy day!

Ebey's Landing Hike
5.6 miles
260 feet elevation gain

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