Sunday, July 31, 2016

Miller State Park in Washington

Walking down the trail at Miller Peninsula State Park.
Miller Peninsula State Park is considered one of Sequim's attractions in Clallam County and today, July 30, the Olympic Peninsula Explorers (Volkswalkers) had their sanctioned walk.

Last week there was just a genial exchange between the Canadians and US walkers, and I walked almost eight miles. Today it felt longer, but it was really shorter; less than six miles overall.

Fungi amongi... not the latin name.
There is a wide diversity of plant life, including multiple types of fungi, tall evergreens and some pretty large deciduous trees as well. It was fun to stand quietly once in awhile and just listen to the needles, driven by the wind, raining down on the forest floor.

While there are several trails, the best (and shortest) one down to the water of Puget Sound takes about an hour down and back. Well, maybe for fast walkers it is less time, but we weren't rushing and for less nimble feet the trail shrinks for the last half-mile to a single file dirt path with roots, stumps, holes and rocks so it's sensible to pay attention and not get tangled up.

Still, the reward of seeing Protection Island from one of the closest locations from land was worth it.

We were lucky to have a 70-plus degree day with a light breeze instead of the one that preceded it yesterday (June 29) which was topping the 80 degree mark. The sun was shining hotly by noon, so this is good hike to make in the early part of the day. Even though the path has shady spots along it, the sun can be felt enough that sunscreen is also useful.

I like it when the trail bosses leave these trees where they fell.
The hike description said bug spray was needed, but we were fortunate to not have any issues. We did  meet one hiker who had gotten stung by a bee, so if anyone walking in  your group is allergic, be sure to have an epi-pen or a fresh copper penny* on hand. There is no way to easily remove someone from the park in an emergency like that.

This is the blue sea and sky at the end. It is
hard to differentiate which is which.
This is a better view of the Puget Sound as we arrived.
Except for the narrow trail down to the water for the last bit of the trip, there is plenty of space to walk side by side for easy conversation. This is a good walk for kids as there is plenty of running room before the trail.

Once down at the water it is easy to see eagles fishing and flying up into the wind vortices, and possibly puffins from Protection Island could be seen with some good binoculars. It was reported by a local TV station that humpback whales were seen near Discovery Bay this weekend, but I didn't see anything that dramatic in the water.
Protection Island sits almost at the mouth of Discovery Bay. This view is
one of the best to be had from land. A longer telescopic lens might help.
A rugged rocky shore looking sort of southeast, I think, toward Discovery Bay.
I had plenty to think about as I meandered down the trail and back again, lucky I had brought my two walking poles which I was able to share with another in our group.
This eagle flew right toward me from the water and then
landed on a branch only a few feet away... I was thrilled!
And so, after a really pleasant lunch/supper/tea with a new friend, I was ready to put my feet up and see how Foyle is getting on with his various detective challenges.
* I make no claims to the efficacy of a copper penny on a bee sting, but the hiker who was stung was using it for her relief.

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