Friday, January 14, 2011
Fort Ebey - Part 1 Jan 8, 2011
After a short 8 mile trail run at Heart Lake in the ACFL, the sun beckoned me further south on Whidbey Island.
Between Oak Harbor and Coupeville is a sign for Fort Ebey... a destination on my "Need To Visit" list. My excitement about finally having an opportunity to explore this park at leisure kept me from paying attention to the route. That caused a minor bit of trouble when it came time to head home.
Upon arrival at the park entrance I turned to the right and continued to the end of the road, parked, grabbed my fleece, gloves and headband for wind protection and then set off to explore.
With only the basic knowledge of the park (it's on an island and there should be a beach somewhere nearby) my "Hikey Sense" (similar to Peter Parker's Spidey Sense, but less useful for picking up women) kicked in and I found a trail that led directly to a ridge top overlooking Puget Sound.
Walked down to the beach. Looked up at the nearby bluff (possibly Point Partridge) being eroded by mother nature and then backtracked to get a peek at Lake Pondilla.
With a name like that it's obviously a pond trying to make itself sound bigger. Godzilla. Pondzilla. Pondilla. Nice try - I'm not falling for it.
Lake Pondilla is more like a pond than a lake, with some residential houses on the ridge top of the far shore. The sun was shining its golden rays on the marsh grass in the shallow water.
The trail looped back toward the beach and the road where a visitor kiosk had been erected containing some info about the park. Included with the postings was this Wanted DEAD NOT ALIVE poster for Mitten Crabs (which are a non-native species to the pacific northwest).
After hiding my mittens in my pocket (wouldn't want to be mistaken for a Mitten Crab), the unforgettable hike along the Bluff Trail began.
Only a couple minutes from the parking lot you'll find this thing. Is this really a lighthouse? (Scratching head)
Be careful - the bluff is eroding away - one step in the wrong direction can send you into a nonstop fall to the beach below. It's a LONG ways. This was a nice spot to enjoy the view and ponder about its history.
Just around the next corner is yet another unexpected surprise: an underground gun battery! Walk right on in! Be amazed at the view!
Since this park is Fort Ebey, I was expecting to find such a structure, but not so well hidden and not quite this small. Would there be more? I suspected there would be another structure somewhere in the park. My mission was to find it.
While contemplating such important life objectives in this dark bunker, movement in the sky caught my attention. WE'RE UNDER ATTACK! Oh, wait, no we aren't. Those aren't planes... they are paragliders! Woo Hoo! My Hikey Sense gave way to my Super Zoom sense. x10!
Continuing onward... after leaving the bunker there is a view spot that allows you to see the bunker to see how hard it might be to spot if you were on a boat.
The bluff trail continues on and deposits you at the main part of the park. Here you will find a flat field which is the landing/takeoff zone for paragliders and also radio-controlled airplanes.
Here at the picnic site you will also stumble across Battery 248. A main attraction at Fort Ebey.
Did you bring your flashlight? You're absolutely going to want it for Part 2!
Part 2: Fort Ebey's Battery 248 Link
Part 3 Link