Friday, December 9, 2011

Hoypus Hill and other sights to behold 11-29-2011

Hoypus Hill is located on the east side of highway 20, across from the main portion of Deception Pass State Park.

***Warning: This is a really long report, but so worth it!***

In general, Hoypus Hill is a nice area. It's certainly suitable for an easy day hike, but really, in my opinion, it's much more suitable for a nice trail run. It is mostly flat with relatively obstacle free trails and a nice hill option if you're into that.

Just to the north of Hoypus Hill is Goose Point. Goose Point provides a much more interesting hiking environment than Hoypus. You can read my trip report from March 2010 right here.

You might be thinking "Maybe Hoypus would be a little more interesting if I knew what the word Hoypus actually means." Well, you'd be wrong. :(

According to Google, Hoypus doesn't have a pre-existing meaning.  A Google search will provide you some (not) interesting info about something called "Hoypus Series". Basically, it's dirt that came from Hoypus Hill. You can knock yourself out right here.

Don't get me wrong, I still had a really memorable day out here.

You'll need a Discover Pass to park at Deception Pass State Park... even at the Hoypus Hill boat launch.

Upon my arrival I immedietly encountered a Heron at the boat lauch.  Mind you, this is only about 30 feet from the car. He was pretty cool and pretty calm. I named him Prickly Pete.

As I snapped photo after photo of this bird, he walked across the boat launch and plucked a fish right out of the water and then flew off.  There is a video further down in this post which contains that series of photos for you to watch the action.

Then the day started to get a bit boring. Temporarilly. (That means please keep reading anyways)

Since this was my first visit to Hoypus Hill, it seemed logical to start off following the gated road along the water out to Hoypus Point before venturing onto the actual trail.

This road has a few benches alongside it where you can rest and enjoy the view of Deception Pass, its bridge, Goose Point and a few nearby islands... just a few feet above the water.

A short while later you'll pass one of the numerous trail access points for the Hoypus Hill trail. I skipped the first one to stay along the water and soon found myself at the Deception Pass Picnic Table Graveyard.

Then again, maybe Hoypus Hill is the picnic table's equivalent of Arizona for retired people and they'll return to the popular part of the park next summer.

Continuing on along the water, the path eventually dead ends at a small sandy beach with a bench. The beach is probably larger at low tide, but really, I have no evidence to indicate one way or the other.

Sit. Take a break. Take a nap (it may be easy if you are bored). Watch the world go by. Watch unexpected things float by. Enjoy the views (they are probably the last one's of the day).

Return the way you came and look for the Hoypus Trail head.

If you are one of the lucky 8 people who read this blog, you'll be one of 9 people that know there is an access point to the Hoypus trail from the picnic table graveyard. Somehow I managed to not see it both times I walked by it... so I ended up hiking most of the way back to the parking lot before venturing onto the actual trail.

Once on the trail, I recommend continuing in a clockwise direction.

Almost all the junctions are marked with signs, but not all the trails are on the map. I recommend bringing a map and a gps unit. You don't want to be stuck here like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

As mentioned earlier, the trail is rather nice (perfect for trail running), with lots of greenery and only a few muddy sections.

The other thing that became obvious is that there are a lot of cargo and fighter planes that fly around this area (based on the Naval Air Station located in Oak Harbor just a few miles away). During my visit there were very few minutes where you couldn't hear a plane flying by. Loud planes. There's an example in the video further on in this report.

That's about it for the trail info. It's very odd that there isn't a trail to the high point of Hoypus Hill. Maybe no one put a trail up there because there aren't any views? There aren't any views along the existing trail so why wouldn't the trail naturally make it's way to the high point?

Maybe there is something there we aren't supposed to see. Hmmmm. Interested concept. I'm just sayin',  Let's nominate Redwic to investigate.  :)

As I wandered my way back to the car, listening to the figher jets flying by, it seemed logical that if I were on the other side of Hwy 20 at the main portion of Deception Pass State Park then I might actually be able to see some of the fighter jets flying by. That sounded a lot more interesting than more Hoypus Hiking.

Hoypus is now an adjective. For sure. It's a fact. Better make a Wiki page for it or something.

Back to the car, off to the west side of the park. The parking lot at Cranberry Lake contained only two other vehicles. A very quiet day in the park (aside from the planes).

Saw some planes. Took a few pics. There are more in the video.

While watching planes come and go I also wandered around the sand dune trail (which was nice) and I noticed an odd island out in Puget Sound.

Of course the island isn't really floating. It's a mirage caused by weather patterns. This same mirage also causes the pointy cascade mountains to stretch even taller but also gives them 'tabletop' summits instead of peaks.

Mike Collins, member, explained (truthfull or not, I have no idea):

"It is the stuff of mirages. When temperature increases with height, as with yesterday's heat inversion, the image is displaced up from the object. The atmosphere acts as a lens rather than a mirror causing images to be refracted rather than reflected. The atmosphere will cause light to bend because of gradual variations in the index of refraction in it. The index of refraction depends on the temperature of the air and the amount of moisture in it. The stronger the temperature gradient (the greater the temperature change with distance) then the stronger the gradient of the index of refraction and thus more bending. If the temperature is the same everywhere in the atmosphere then light travels in a straight line."

Thanks Mike.

Expecting my adventures to now be complete for the day it was time to head back to the car.

That is when I met Scott Chase.

Scott works for Island County with the WSU Extension and administers a grant funded program that focuses on cleaning litter off of beaches. Litter is not only left by beach visitors who are too lazy to be resposnible for their own garbage. Litter is also washed up on the shores as tides and currents carry it from one place to another.

At the time we met, Scott was hosting a beach clean up event. It was advertised in the newspaper and regular people show up and work together to clean the litter off the beach. Sometimes lots of people show up (often its neighbors who show up, per Scott), and other times (like today) absolutely nobody shows up.

Except me.

Together, Scott & I roamed the beach with plastic bags and litter-picker-upper-grabbers.

Scott taught me a lot about the program and a lot about a problem that is on the horizon.

First, I found it interesting that this particular program is funded with tax money from bottle and can manufacturers to make up for Washington’s lack of deposit fees on bottles and cans. It amounts to $6 or $7 million each year.

Second, remember the big earthquake in Japan and the related tsunami? All that stuff (garbage) is headed our way. Straight to our beaches. (Note to self, buy stock in bag manufacturers and the dump).

Scott explained it to me, but I found this news article that words it much better than my version, so here is a LINK and an excerpt:

"A mass of debris measuring 2,000 miles long and weighing up to 20-million tons is expected to hit the Washington coast in late 2013, with some items arriving sooner.

A Russian ship spotted debris near Midway Island last month and the debris is expected to hit Hawaii next year".

In our conversation, it sounds as though the debris will continue on to the entire west coast, including Washington.

Now that the beach was looking pristene & clean it was time to go home.


On the way out of the park there appeared to be a bunch of sail boats in Cranberry Lake. How often does that happen? I have no idea... but it's probably worth a picture, a video and a mention.

In summary...

This was a fun day, but the Hoypus Trail should be saved for your next trail run. Need a lowland hike for any weather in any season in this area? Go visit Goose Point instead.  Either way, Deception Pass State Park covers a huge area with a TON of fun stuff for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

Here is the video. A small portion in the middle of the video requires sound so you can hear the jets.

More trip reports are coming soon: Baker Hot Springs and Shadows Of The Sentinals. They'll be a lot shorter than this one.

You're welome.

Happy Hiking!


1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Thank you very much for posting this great blog, photos, and videos.

    There is a trail to the top of Hoypus Hill. You are right, there are no views to speak of, except at one point you can see some of the Dugualla Bay area.

    Today my husband and I hiked some of the trails on Hoypus Hill, starting from the trailhead at the end of Ducken Road. We hiked up Short Trail, then around some of the Hoypus Hill Road, then down Shady Way Trail, then on North Trail back to the Hoypus Hill Rd and back to the trailhead. No views really but there were almost peekaboo views of Mount Erie through the trees. Happy hiking!