Tag Archives: nature

Deception Pass State Park Camping Adventure

Alison and I headed up to Deception Pass State Park for a last-minute overnight camping adventure. We’ve gotten in the habit of going on overnight camping trips through the summer (OK, this is our third one!). Even one night of camping is enough to clear out the cobwebs from a full week of everyday tasks and drama. As soon as I arrive at a campsites I shut off my phone. This time I had Once of Runner with me to pass the time.

Deception Pass is on Whidbey Island, about 100 miles north of Seattle, WA. It was a 90 minute drive. There are two routes to get there, one involving a ferry (shorter by distance and more scenic, but more expensive and time-consuming considering the ferry ticket and wait times) and the other by driving around to the top of the island and down to Deception Pass. We choose the latter route.

There are over 300 campsites, with all the basic toilet amenities you would expect. 2/3 of the sites can be reserved ahead of time, and many of those sites have great peek-a-boo views of the water (one of the straits just north of Puget Sound). The other campsites are decent, they do not have great views, but there is plenty of privacy since the sites are well spaced out with plenty of plant overgrowth between the sites. There is a well-stocked convenience store just before entering the park in case you need provisions.

There are several of beaches nearby (just a few hundred meters) from the campsites with sandy shores, calm water, driftwood to lounge on and also a large lake (Cranberry Lake) where folks were fishing and canoeing. We saw quite a few stand-up paddle-boarders and kayaks. In theory people also swim in the water here, but it was too cold for that when we were there. Trails also meander through the park for those who like to get in some trail running or hiking.

For $31 ($21/night for the campsite and $10 for two bundles of wood) – this is a highly relaxing and fun way to spend the weekend for less than the cost of a trip to the movies. Oh yeah, for dinner we made gluten-free mac & cheese & s’mores.

View from Deception Pass on Whidbey Island, WA. Photo taken with Sony NEX-7 and 16MM wide-angle lens using the built-in panorama feature.

Growing My Own Food (some of it at least!)

I grew up in a rural community (the cows outnumbered the humans) and we had an acre of land, a large portion of which was planted with rose bushes, fruit trees or vegetables. I spent a large portion of my weekends growing up tending to the gardens. Tilling the soil, weeding, watering, planting, harvesting and eating gooseberries until I exploded when the time was right.

I took care of the garden and at times, resented having to spend so much time doing it. I always loved eating the fresh produce, but the whole gardening thing started to get old after a number of years. I preferred to spend my free time horsing around with my friends, playing games, reading or doing anything but getting dirty!

This mentality stuck around for years, as I went to college and moved into a series of rental houses and apartments. I loved eating fresh produce, but could care less about growing it myself.

Fast forward 15 years later, and I am now the proud owner of my first home. While my property is not that big (1/5th of an acre!) and mostly shaded, I now have a new-found appreciation for doing things on my own, and that includes growing stuff. I’ve surprised myself with how much my own mindset of owning land has made me want to take care of it, and do something useful with it. There is also something more freeing now that gardening is something I want to do, not something I have to do.

So far, I’ve planted carrots, several types of kale, red cabbage, collards and a planter box full of snap peas. It’s not much but a start. Eventually I’ll get some more planter boxes going in the sunny spots in my back yard with tomatoes, hot peppers, squash and more salad greens.

Collards, carrots and kale

Red cabbage, two kinds of kale, carrots

Snap peas in an Earth Box

Three Keys to a Happy Life

1. Make friends with your past.

2. Live in the present.

3. Be optimistic about the future.

…go on and be happy.

Tulips in La Conner, WA during the Tulip Festival a few years ago. It's almost that time of year again.

Geoff Roes’ 2012 Iditorad Trail Victory – a lesson in endurance potential

Geoff Roes – an elite American ultra-marathon runner – won an incredible race in the rugged Alaskan outback last week. Though, instead of saying he ‘won,’ it would be better to say he ‘survived the fastest.’

The 350 mile foot-race took a full week to complete in absolutely insane conditions. He pulled all his own gear in a sled behind him, often breaking trail through fresh snowfall and dragging himself up and over hills. It is worth reading his race report. To me it was a good reminder of what we are really capable of as humans from an endurance perspective.

Check out his race report at iRunFar.com.

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