My husband, Nali, and I were invited to spend the past weekend on Whidbey Island with friends. We started off the weekend with a leisurely hike at Ebey’s Landing. It’s one of my favorite winter hikes and the sun even came out for us, just a little. The trail starts off parallel to farm fields speckled green with winter plantings. The lush green rolling fields reminded me of my home state Pennsylvania.
Soon the trail comes to a tee at a bluff overlooking the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The ferries and container ships crisscrossing the Sound looked like bathtub toys from our vantage. As we headed up to the right, a hang glider swooped overhead with a red, white, and blue sail. We waved and Nali barked at him, startled from his sudden appearance. From there its a short climb to the long winding section along the top of the bluff.
We admired gnarled trees and the winter textures of the dried grasses, oregon grape, and thick thorny bushes. It’s nothing but grand views from the bluff trail. A driftwood covered spit carves out a large lake of green water, calm compared to the opposite side where big frothy waves crashed. Toward the end of the bluff, the trail switchbacks down to the beach to make a loop.
On the beach we turned into the cold headwind and I wished I had a scarf. We scattered out, heads down and hands in our pockets scouring the surface for anything interesting. Nali found and ate some dried bull kelp and dug holes to find who knows what.
By the time we reached the stairs to return we were quite frozen. The incline back up the hill was welcome as it generated some body heat. On the way back we passed by Isaac Ebey’s old home and blockhouse.
Ebey was the first settler on Whidbey Island in 1850 and he and eight family members lived in the house while they farmed the neighboring prairie land. The blockhouse was built as defense in response to continuing conflict with the Native Americans who were displaced from their land. Ebey lived there until he died in 1862. He is buried at the Sunnyside Cemetary, just across the road from the trailhead.
We returned to the cabin just in time for sunset. We poured some cider and headed to the deck with our cameras. The sun lit the clouds in gold as the air grew colder. We went inside and warmed ourselves by the wood stove.
The next morning we explored Langley. Well, mostly we explored the bookstore, Moonraker Books, admired enormously chunky Italian yarn, and grabbed some great coffees. Then our friends made us marvelous cheddar rolls for lunch. After a never ending January, it was the perfect winter getaway without getting too far away.
Hikes featured in this post: