LOCAL WALKS: Goose Rock Impressions

1. March means storms and clouds over the Salish Sea.

In July of 2018, as we were settling into our cottage on Fidalgo Island I was also busy exploring the island’s parks. On a trail at Deception Pass one afternoon I met a couple from California who raved about two places – Lighthouse Point and Goose Rock. Their faces glowed with the pleasure of being outdoors. They had lived in Seattle years ago and came back to visit friends in the area. Eager to see their favorite places again, they set out on the Lighthouse Point trail, where we crossed paths. I’d never heard of Goose Rock so I googled it when I got home and added it to my list of places to explore.

I didn’t get there until two months later. It was a cloudy day so the view from the 484-foot (147m) promontory wasn’t ideal but what an interesting walk it was. After parking, I climbed down several flights of stairs to cross under the Deception Pass bridge, then began the walk on a pretty trail through the evergreens above the pass. The spectacle of rushing turquoise water funneling through the narrow pass below was impressive. Instant relaxation! A right fork took me uphill through a quiet forest of hemlock, Douglas fir, and Redcedar studded with gently arching Sword ferns. After climbing a while, I emerged onto a landscape of open balds formed by ancient, glacier-scraped rocks. I wandered over to the highest point, overlooking the San Juan Islands and the wide Salish Sea. A mix of pale green puffs of reindeer lichen, soft moss, and colorful stonecrop plants dotted the rocks. I was enchanted by the mosaic of finely differentiated textures and colors at my feet and the misty blend of blues and grays stretching out to the horizon. In the distance, I could see traffic but up there the atmosphere was quiet and spacious.

One of the defining characteristics of this walk is the transition from a moist, shady, enclosed forest to a broad, open hilltop. The hiker is first treated to a plethora of woodland details – evergreen ferns, luxurious mosses, towering trees with thousands of branches, little mushrooms – and then everything changes as the trail opens out onto an open space where you observe the world spread out below. I think both of these experiences, the near and distant views, are nourishing. We don’t have to be in the country to experience the relaxing rhythm of alternating near and distant views either. When I lived in the city I enjoyed finding details on the sidewalks as much as I loved to gaze out my apartment window at the bustling scene below. Near and far, back and forth. It’s healthy.

The meadows atop Goose Rock host a variety of wildflowers in spring and early summer but I knew nothing about them on that first day – in fact, interesting rocks, lichens, trees, and spacious views were quite enough. I went back again on a misty day in November when clouds flew across the sky. That December I climbed Goose Rock and delighted in the intense green of evergreens and ferns after autumn rains. In January I explored a longer trail that wraps around Goose Rock, passing through a dry hillside with different plants and quiet bay views as it spirals up the rock. And so it went, season after season, year after year. I’ve been up to Goose Rock thirty-three times in all since that first September day 3 1/2 years ago.

Here are photographs from my forays up to Goose Rock, spanning the years and seasons. First, let’s tuck under that bridge:

2. Under the Deception Pass bridge (as you can see, the sun was going down – this photo was actually taken on the way back).

THROUGH THE FOREST

3.
4.
5. A fallen tree sprouts a thick bed of moss, the perfect place for tiny Western hemlock seedlings to get a head start.
6. Trees fall frequently. As you can from these old giants, the rangers only cut them when they block the trail.

7. A small piece of a fallen tree that was cut years ago is now home to a riot of mosses, liverworts, lichens, and plants, surrounded by a garden of evergreen Sword ferns.
8.

*

*

10. A slender summer-blooming plant of the woods, the graceful Foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata) begs a closer look on bent knees.

*

*

12. The trail affords a view of hikers below.

EMERGING ONTO THE BALDS

13. Looking south from Goose Rock on a foggy November afternoon.
14. November is another stormy month in the Pacific Northwest. Unsettled skies are a photographer’s friend.
15. Among the rocks at the top of Goose Rock a whole world awaits the person who looks closely. The succulent leaves of Stonecrop (Sedum spathufolium) cozy up with various mosses and lichens.
16. At the edge of the woods sweet Broad-leaved starflowers (Trientalis latifolia) nestle beside a fallen branch with honeysuckle vines.

*

*

18. It’s June and the meadow grasses are in flower.

WILDFLOWERS AT GOOSE ROCK: A SLIDESHOW

20.

*

*

22. The San Juan Islands and Canada’s Vancouver Island punctuate the horizon.

23. I’d better hurry back down – it’s going to be dark in the forest.

***


72 comments

  1. First let’s tuck under the bridge 🤓☺️I’m envious of the beauty and growth and green, sigh winters are just to long here for me…wishing I there especially after a fall on the ice😌the light on the flowers is amazing enjoy your beauty Lynn🌸🌸☀️sending joy hedy💫

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Lynn. Great walk; and every shot is a winner.. so you can’t imagine what a hard time you gave the Dutch jury to pick the favorite.. 🙂 but finally it turned out to be Nr18; the subtle colors are great; and I’m a fieldlover as well. The slideshow was a surprise and works very well. And I don’t know if it’s a healthy thing.., but I’m curious to walk trough something that is named Deception Pass.. 🙂 Say Hi to Joe and have a fine weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Dutch jury has deliberated and I’m pleased with the decision in favor of an almost-abstract image. 🙂 We both love fields…and fallen trees…and many other things. The pass in this case refers to a water passage so it may be difficult to walk right through the pass – unless…hmmm, can you walk on water? Probably.
      😉
      (It got that name because early European explorers didn’t see the narrow passageway at first and thought an island was a peninsula. Once they realized their mistake they called it Deception Pas on their maps. The park lies on both sides of the passage – part on Whidbey Island, part on Fidalgo Island. Today is the 100th-anniversary celebration of the park).
      Cheers! Joe says Hi back!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a treat to have you take us through the seasons and also the abundant wildflowers of Goose Rock. So tranquil. So colorful. Calming to the soul, I am sure.

    I had been to Deception pass before, goose rock was a new name for me as well. Maybe on our adventure north on of these summers. Very nice. And I miss the lush mossy logs/trees. Thank you for including those in your lovely post. Donna

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your photography, Lynn. We spent a week on Whidbey Island a few years ago. I long to go back but I’m not sure we are up to taking our travel trailer cross-country now.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I was discussing it with hubby and I said that we might be able to do it if we took 5 or 6 weeks. We would want to go south to Portland OR to seen grandson and his family. Jim want to do the west side of Glacier. Oh my.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lynn, number thirteen is my favorite! What a wonderful combination of scenics and flora! We’ve only done Goose Rock a few times and it has been more than ten years, probably. I don’t remember the view being so good, to be honest. It’s possible we may have been up there on some very gray days, I think. Would you like to go on a walk together somewhere up here, sometime? Maybe before the heat of summer? Just something shorter, not a big deal sort of thing, I could do something like branch off from my family while they do some looking elsewhere, like in Anacortes, or such. Or just come up on my own. Or I dunno, maybe we can do it in autumn? At any rate, love this essay, like all of them.
    Jason

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting…#13 is a subtle one. Thank you! It was gorgeous up there that day. You were probably there on gray days, as you said. I can’t remember where you are – Seattle? It would be great to meet you – maybe we can make something work. If the family would be happier walking around Anacortes, then Washington Park, which also has west-facing waterfront views or Little Cranberry Lake, part of the Anacortes Community Forest Lands (google to get a better idea) are a little closer than Deception Pass. The best parts of Washington Park (to me) are easier to access by car but the loop road closes to cars on weekends. Weekends can get busy in general – I”m sure you know that. There’s a county park, Sharpe Park, that’s less well-known. The heat never gets bad here but everything does get really, really dry from about late July to early October. If you like that lush look, summer won’t cut it but if it’s more about just being by the rocks and water, anytime at all works. Let me know – thanks and take care.

      Like

  6. The slideshow of flowers made me realize how much I’m looking forward to the emerging season! Enjoyed the vicarious hike. Thanks! Took a short one of my own by the river today. The trees were teaming with calling birds. Such fun to hear heralds of spring!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Blackbirds were dominating in that particular spot, but I’ve been hearing a wide variety in the mornings and evenings. A killdeer call is prominent near my yard. I’ve heard it next door and directly across the river. We also get a good number of Varied Thrush and some I can’t identify by call. Some type of complex singer, like a white-crowned sparrow or similar woke me up early. 🙂 Gorgeous song!

        Like

  7. 1. That first expansive view over the ocean with sunshine peeking above clouds elicited a sigh… so breathtakingly beautiful.
    2​. Only you could make that underside of a bridge look so lovely.
    Forest trails in springtime are so very precious… every last detail. I truly enjoyed this walk through your woods.
    The slideshow… the 3rd one looks a bit like detail of a Camas Lily, but it’s obviously not. And all the rest. I don’t know or need to know the names. They are just them and utterly gorgeous. Your photos are so intimate and lovely.
    Finally, I bet it was a challenge to leave that sunset behind. It’s a gold plated path across the sea.​
    I so thoroughly enjoyed every single one of these…
    Springtime seems to bring inspiration, don’t it? Savor it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know you love those water views and I’m glad that the first one worked. And the ocean is actually about 90 miles away, but it does feel like the ocean. The third photo in the slideshow IS a camas – they aren’t tall at all in certain places here, and they hide in the grass. Thanks for your good words, I appreciate them. There’s no question that spring is inspiring. And busy!! (Leaving for the southern UT road trip on Saturday and I have 3 different appointments next week, plus I’m volunteering to protect our baby elephant seal at Bowman Bay – craziness).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oops… ocean/sea… I forget about the distinction, but it’s the expansive views over salt water and all that entails that puts me in a swoon…
        Your Camas looks so very different from ours!
        Oh! DO enjoy the change of scene in southern UT! I’ve been sorting through some of our earlier trips to sand and prickly life forms and beautiful lighting at each end of the day…. I’m envious! Enjoy! Have fun! and stay healthy! 🤗 Looks like we’ll be launching a paddle down a marvelous little gem of a creek we ‘discovered’ not too far from home. Needing to ease back into camper life gently! 😉 But this is the time of year when it’s at its most lush with trickles of water pouring into grottoes along the river’s edge. Spotted our first Trillium in bloom. Sure sign of spring.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s a little confusing, calling the water here the Salish Sea, but I think it’s a nice name so I like to use it. Expansive views over saltwater sums it up nicely – and you do them so well. Yeah, I’m looking forward to those desert scenes and the different light, colors, everything. Oh, very cool that you found a new creek to explore near home. Gently is good. Yes, you want to get out before it dries up, while you can see so many green things and life – go! Happy Trilliums!

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel such freedom and the fresh air reading this post, Lynn. A great series of photos, and the first one started me off on this journey perfectly ~ the Salish Sea reflects and bring all that is good in the world 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thirty-three times later…an energy with roots called Lynn already resides there! Beautiful!
    The images allow us to understand why this place is so attractive. And I agree, no landscape and spirit of the place is complete if it is not complemented with small details that sensitivity and eye also capture.
    This post as beautiful images and details, as you always offer us.
    I wish you a quiet week….and good walks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, what a fun comment, Dulce, “an energy with roots called Lynn resides there” – nice. It’s a pleasure sharing Goose Rock with you. This week is shaping up to be very busy but I think it will be good – I hope you’re able to get outside, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful impressions, Lynn. Your opening landscape with the beam of sunlight set the stage. Love the leaf caught in the branches, the monochromes – the ferns and the people on the path, the “Monet” of the grasses, and your studies of the various wildflowers are lovingly made. Beautiful post! 💚😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jane, especially for singling out the monochromes. I like the grasses and fence one a lot, but it kind of gets lost here. The slideshow seemed to work as a way to include lots of wildflower photos -oh, I have so many! You understand. Have a good week!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is really a very beautiful area and all of your photos here are amazing. The skies, the landscapes, the woods with fern and trees, the details, everything is so special here. But probably it is the beauty of this place together with your love for it and I understand why. I like the open sky in #14. Heart-warming 🙂 The wildflowers are all so special. Some remind me of Triteleia or Allium? Probably you are right, the mixture is healthy. The contrasts of woods and balds, the changes on your way adds up to it. I am bad in mathematics: 33 times in 3 and half years. Please tell me, how often do you go there 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re funny…how often? Not often enough maybe? Triteleia and Allium – very good! T. hyacintha is the 4th one – the pretty white one. Also called Brodiaea hyacintha. #2 is Camassia quamash, sold for gardens and native here. Ours is very short. #4 is Allium acuminatum, small but very pretty, especially coming up in a bed of reindeer lichen. #5 is Brodiaea coronaria – it’s very small, too. #7 is Corallorhiza maculata, which has no chlorophyll and uses the mycorrhizal fungi in the soil under trees. That’s a tall, wild Rhododendron in #8, growing in the forest. #11 is another strange one – Orobanche uniflora, a parasite on other plants with no leaves. #12 is another Allium, A. cernuum, with nodding flowers in an unusual shade of bluish pink. You might recognize the Heuchera plants in the grass – #13 – H. micrantha. #14 is called Chocolate lily but I think a different, more common garden plant has the same name. This one is quite small. Fritillaria lanceolata or F. affinis. #15 is the Coralroot again and the last one is Indian pipes – another oddball forest plant, Monotropa uniflora, which depends on the fungi connected to the evergreens it grows under. The one I didn’t mention is the little starflower, same as in photo #16. So sweet. And there are more!
      When I was thinking about what is so special about this place I realized that it’s the experience of walking through a dense forest and coming to a very open place on top. Then I thought about those experiences and decided that it’s something we do – look close and then admire a longer view (when we can!) And I think it’s fundamentally a healthy thing to do – we need both. I’m glad you liked the photos!

      Like

  12. By goodness grief, your photos are amazing. I ADORE and I mean ADORE, the second shot under the bridge (#2), and I love the fog in #13, and #18 is another favorite (a simple yet beautiful shot of grasses that reminds me of my Great Plains home….)

    And that doesn’t even touch your delicate captures of wildflowers.

    Beautiful, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s great to hear that the grasses reminded you of the Great Plains – that gives me a nice perspective on a place I haven’t seen yet. It’s also good to know that you appreciated the under-the-bridge shot. It’s a wonderful bridge, very photogenic and inspiring but I don’t think many people have photographed it this way before. And the foggy landscape is easy to overlook among more colorful or dramatic images. In a word, thank you (OK, two words). I appreciate your being here. Have a good week!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for this roam on Goose Rock. Scrolling from one photo to the next, enjoying the loveliness of it all, and then #13 pulls me up short – so beautiful, and #14, and especially #22 – the light! I envy your skill with a camera.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What beautiful views! I love getting to a place where I can see a distance and in different directions. The intimate details you found along the way are wonderful too. I especially like the scene ducking under that bridge!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the great thing about this walk – you come out into a place with open views after climbing through a dense forest. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Denise, and have a great weekend.

      Like

  15. Having already seen one or two of your photos, I notice in your second, third and fourth paragraphs of text that I already see images while reading.  It is very exciting to look at the pictures that you really show us with this expectation.

    From the number of times you’ve visited Goose Rock, you probably know the area as well as I know my backyard.

    I’m totally in love with the foam flower (No.10), or should I say, in love with the way you photographed it.  You have created a particularly soft sharpness and milky transparency that inspires me.

    The black and white dresses the sword fern perfectly, without green it is easier for me to concentrate on the structures.  And funny how the fog also draws a black and white area for you in No.13, color key without Photoshop 😉.

    In the second part of the series, I like how you switch back and forth between long-distance and extreme close-up.  In reality, this looking method is also ideal eye gymnastics, but unfortunately it does not work when viewing on the monitor.

    A highlight for me is June Meadow No.18.  And oh, the bouquet of wildflowers!

    Evening mood here as a framework, also at the beginning of the series of pictures, which also rounds off the picture series. Thank you for this beautiful contribution, dear Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was just there again yesterday, taking a different trail with my friends from Seattle. There were loads of wildflowers! Some that I’m not familiar with, and I think I have a way to go before I know the area as well as you know your backyard.
      It’s good to hear that the text in this post brought images to your mind. too.
      The foamflower waves in the breeze, making it hard to photograph. Making several photos with shallow depth of field is the best for me, that way I have a chance that one will turn out the way #10 did, and you and I can both be happy. 😉
      That’s an interesting comment about near and far focus – we’re supposed to take breaks from our monitors and look out the window, right? I don’t do it often enough. But when outside, I’m going back and forth all the time.
      Glad you like that meadow – me too. And the slideshow seems to be a good way to show lots of wildflowers, I’m glad I finally realized that.
      Thank you for your careful attention, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

    • :-)! Yes, that’s huff and puff way to get up there, but it’s always worth it, whether the view stretches out or not, I think. Thanks for commenting, it’s cool to know that a reader has been there.
      I still don’t know why it was called Goose Rock….

      Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s