It was January 2nd, Mark's 39th birthday and the day held the potential for lots of noise and interruption at home (gutters being put in despite our request that it wait) so I called up Cama Beach State Park just in case there was a cabin still available at such short notice. We were in luck and we were outta here!
Cama Beach is one of the newest state parks here in Washington. Its long history includes Native use, logging (you can see old spring board cuts on large stumps throughout the wooded areas of the park), and starting in the 1930's it became a fishing resort that ran till 1989. It was then acquired by Washington State Parks and refurbished with the help of a lot of volunteers. In 2008 it was opened up once again as Cama Beach State Park, a peaceful and secluded place to get away and relax in a beautiful setting here in the Puget Sound.
There's a lot of history and nature to explore at Cama Beach as well as the Center for Wooden Boats that is part of the new set up. All that exploring would take far longer than the short time we were able to stay. So we'll just have to go back. For the brief time we were there we most enjoyed the quiet and peaceful calm of the place. The long stretch of beach to walk along. The never ending supply of good skipping rocks and perfectly calm water to skip them on. Red-throated Grebes calling and diving, a pair of Bald Eagles chattering to each other from the top of the trees above the beach. Fisherman drifting by in their boats. A kayaker enjoying the sheltered waters along the shore. A spontaneous game of horseshoes. These were just some of the highlights of our stay.
Our cabin was one of the more simple ones. A second row cabin with two sets of bunk beds in the living space and one regular size bed in a small separate room with a hand made quilt by local volunteers. A kitchen with a refrigerator, sink and microwave, plenty of shelves to put our kitchen supplies and a table and chairs was supplemented by our camping stove out on the picnic table in front of the cabin. The only thing I would have changed is to have one of the bunks be replaced with a futon style couch or something similar so there would be someplace aside from the table to sit and relax. Oh, and maybe a firmer mattress.
When we weren't outside playing we played a game of Dutch Blitz in which I more than skunked Mark. (I now owe him a game of cribbage because he almost always beats me at it!) Mark read to me from We Took to the Woods, a story about a couple who lived off grid in Maine in the early part of the 19th century while I worked on "The Never-ending Cross stitch" (I've been working on the thing since at least 2005!). We enjoyed a few stars breaking through the clouds before heading to bed.
The next morning we didn't have enough time to enjoy the park before having to get our showers, pack and clean the cabin. We agreed that being able to stay more than one night would have been nice. But it was worth the trip even for just one night.
Sunday we wandered our way through the skagit flats and then down Whidbey Island. We enjoying seeing 1000's of Trumpeter Swans and a handful of Snow Geese. Last year on the same weekend it was just the opposite in numbers for the two species. Over the course of the day we saw at least two dozen different Bald Eagles and close to a dozen Great Blue Herons. At Deception Pass State Park we saw both Red-Throated and Common Loons as well as Harlequin Ducks. And just after leaving Fort Casey at Dusk we had a Short-eared Owl Fly in front of us!
We walked on the beach at Deception Pass where I found a big egg shaped rock to bring home for a very important task - to keep the door to my studio open and keeping Tipsy (the very "talented" cat) from shutting herself in. There is a picture in the slide show of Mark and me posing for a picture with the rock.
We then made our way to Fort Casey to explore the old military history which Mark gave me a running dialogue of - but he couldn't explain why the storage area for the ammo was called a magazine. Enquiring minds want to know! While looking out over the water from the cliffs of Fort Casey we had one of the big highlights of the trip - a sighting of a Harbor Porpoise. It was a first for me and much waited for since Mark managed to see one on our trip to Lopez Island last year and I didn't.
We had a brief stop in Langley where we found a little park to warm up dinner and eat before catching the ferry and driving on home. All in all a very pleasant way to start the New Year and celebrate a birthday.
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