NOT WHAT I PLANNED

Last weekend I drove north to Deception Pass, a spectacular (and popular) state park with steep cliffs, rushing tides, islands…lots of dramatic scenery. But crowds were thick and the tide wasn’t allowing me to get around a cliff and past all the people enjoying the beach. I strolled the woods high above the narrow waterway, collecting myself and thinking about where else to go. Along the path were stands of the tiny, daintily nodding Twinflower (Linnaea borealis), a special find, with it’s interesting connection to Carl Linnaeus. Such a little beauty, I almost missed it.

I decided to drive to the quaint but touristy town of La Conner; someone recommended a museum there. I got out a map – for me, a paper map is the best way to get the overview, then GPS gets me there.  There were two good routes: a scenic route through beautiful Skagit County agricultural land, or a shorter route, cutting through the Swinomish Indian Reservation.

I knew the reservation might be depressing but I decided to take the shorter route anyway. And I was rewarded, yes I was. Gas was cheaper than off the reservation. Maybe my money was better spent there, too. Driving down Reservation Road near La Conner I noticed a gravel side road running downhill towards the Swinomish Channel. The channel, an active waterway, divides tribal land from La Conner and the mainland. Something about the road looked promising, so I pulled over and looked around. It opened out to a logging business, apparently where logs are floated down the channel, loaded onto trucks and transported elsewhere, probably for pulp or lumber (I have to learn more about the logging business).

Piles of logs were scattered around, and more were corralled in the shallow water just off shore. A Great Blue Heron’s squawk broke the silence. It floated down from the trees high overhead and slowly glided across the channel. Another followed, and another. Maybe there’s a heron rookery here, I thought.  Mount Baker rose like a white marble pyramid in the distance, behind mounds of blue foothills. Blackberries, daisies and thistles flourished, slowly overtaking an old orange logging truck and piles of gigantic tires.  It was a quietly forlorn site, and beautiful, too.

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I decided to skip La Conner. I was getting hungry and thought I could do better in the nearby town of Mt. Vernon, with its huge Skagit Valley Food Co op, chock full of local produce and meals cooked on site. The way to Mt. Vernon passed though glorious fields of ripe wheat. The stalks were golden and full, and bent with seed. I had to pull over!

 

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Just down the road was a weathered gray barn, one of many that can be seen along country roads in Washington. Always picturesque, they are hard to resist, and I find the No Trespassing signs easy to ignore. This is what’s best about traveling alone – you can stop over and over again, as the muse whispers.  Don’t get me wrong – I love sharing the road, but I get frustrated when we speed past sites that beg exploration.

As you can imagine, by the time I finished taking pictures of the barn, I was starved. I headed to the co op for a sandwich and iced espresso. I couldn’t resist bringing a few slices of German Chocolate cake home, too. It was a good day after all, despite missing the possibility of photographing Deception Pass. It’s all about keeping options open, not to mention the eyes!

***


27 comments

  1. The road less travelled – often the better option! Smiled at your disregard for the no trespassing at the barn….I would have wanted to get in there 😀

    • Tempting, but the bar was hard by the road so I didn’t think it was a good idea to be that obvious. And as much as I’ve always found it easy to ignore No Trespassing sings, I do get twinges of guilt. I always try to figure out why the signs were put up, as in, how serious is this, really?

  2. What a journey ~ nothing quite like having a plan, and then throwing it out to do what feels right. Excellent view and photography. The weather beaten truck with flowers was a great series, but I am partial to wheat and the those great fields, made me feel as if I were back home working wheat harvest 🙂 Great series!

      • Working harvest during summer was great (at least now that I am not longer doing it!). Long hours but good pay and made Saturday nights perfect with friends. When I go back home, I always drive past “my” grain elevator and feel great about returning. Wheat fields are soothing… Cheers to a good weekend!

  3. A beautiful drive! And such a peaceful area when the tulip season has passed! Love the pictures of the wheat! Looking forward to your pictures of Deception Pass (when you make it there) 🙂

  4. I’m all too familiar with that frustration at passing by interesting spots to explore or shoot. What a delightful outing you had as you followed your muse. Enjoyed coming along for the ride…. 😀

    • Glad you enjoyed it! Yes, that frustration is something that festers. So it felt good to be able to stop whenever I wanted to, even if I’d just stopped two minutes before.

  5. Good pictures, Lynn – I especially like the green bramble leaves in front of the orange paint, and the close up of the seed heads two pictures below that. And you’re right, keeping options open is the thing – I rarely go out photographing with more than the vaguest of plans. Adrian

    • Thank you, I was pleased with most of these. That orange truck was a perfect foil for the green around in inside it. The wheat seed close-up gets its power from the processing – not that the photo wasn’t good, but the processing really brought it out.

  6. Sometimes the best laid plans are better when they’re waylaid! I love this road trip of yours, especially nature overtaking the tires and that orange logging truck, and those wheat fields and macro wheat pictures! Wonderful. Thanks for taking us along, Lynn. -)

    • Glad you liked it! It’s a destination in the spring because the fields are full to tulips and dafs – acres and acres of them. But you can imagine the little two lane roads, heavy with traffic…so I venture up there at every other time of year.

    • It’s a very pretty area, very agricultural, but back up by mountain ranges and the occasional abrupt hill, which keeps the views compelling. I often go out with only a vague plan, and I do always see things on the roadsides that I want to explore further.

  7. A beautiful drive and what wonderful discoveries. I love your images of the wheat! As they say, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” 🙂 Often times, we photographers are good at switching gears when needed.

  8. What a great story and trip! Love the impulsive way – it all have so good energy ! You make me happy😊 Your litle trip and way to see things/life are so lovely – it’s LIFE and you live it by playing and dancing😄 Love it!!! Hugs from norway❤️

  9. Thanks for the several “likes” and more importantly, for taking the time to so seriously engage with the posts on “oldbonesnewsnow”. Rare for someone to do that, and I appreciate it greatly. I can see from this post of yours that at some level we’re kindred spirits- it takes me forever to get anywhere, always stopping, my eye caught again and again…


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