Leaving the kids flocking the cabins on bicycles, the bunkers, big trucks and RV hosts at the retreat side of Fort Flagler was easy, but I will remember the beatific solitude at the campground and on the trails. I will be back at another time of year . . .


I headed across Marrowstone Island on Hwy 116, to Port Hadlock, this time turning south on WA 19. It would be a short simple turn north to Port Townsend but as I knew would happen, as soon as school is out people fill in the space like a candy crush game, filling it up with fun popping summer memories. For this solo 60’s woman and her dogs, it was time to move ahead. I studied the water as I drove over the Hood Canal Bridge, once across the Squamish, it was the landscape that changed, traffic deepened. The 104 turned more businesslike, hurtling vehicles back and forth, there were shopping malls and motorists honking their horns, racing away to get home or off to a date. Jackson was having his fit over the bumpy rumbling things, he infected Jeana who tried to scramble out the side door squeezing herself on the drop step.  The door was locked.  I did not want her crammed in there but in her seat. The dogs do not ride in crates, there wouldn’t be room and I would not be able to reach them quickly if I should need to; they have their ”safe places” where they cannot be thrown around by sudden stops, surprised by opening doors or falling objects but with Jackson’s hysterics I had to park and strap them into their halters and restraints. We were not happy with each other, sure I too, I told them, would like to romp and play at every little nice spot in the road and swim  in every bit of water, sniff every sniff, eat grungy bits off the trails and out of the bushes, and then throw it up; oh, and never have to walk on rocks or super soft beach sand (this for Mason,) and hey why not, let’s all ride in Mommy’s seat! Arrgghh… Puppies! I’d read the literature on what to do if your vehicle is flooded;  tsunamis and sudden downpours are a big thing up here, so I’d practiced in my head how to save all my dogs, if we’d need to vacate fast, listening to Mommy and not having hysterics, that was important.

My plan: check out the ferry, did I need a reservation? Then find one last beautiful camp spot before the big city, get up leisurely and after morning traffic arrive in Edmonds.  The Kingston traffic was heavier than I expected. Once I found the Port I discovered there was nowhere to park. It seemed kinda stupid to get in line for the Ferry when I all wanted was a schedule and a reservation yet I could not find how to obtain info. The town was bustling, could be fun to walk around. Finally found a spot and tried to take it but heard yelling, No’s! Apparently I could not park there. Great, so I drove to the tune of honking and snarling directed towards me. My GPS was absolutely no help, more likely that little voice in there that always sounds so polite was laughing at me in secret! On a wild guess I turned down a road near the Port and to my amazement there was free parking around a few corners. Really? Couldn’t they have put up a sign…  you know one that says…  PARKING, no, this is Washington. I was very suspicious as the parking lot across from this one insisted you had to pay, why was this one free? I left the dogs and hoofed over to the ferry to find there was no one to talk to, no postings and no info. In desperation I asked the woman fixing coffees where to find a schedule. She was cool, explaining how this was not Port Townsend and one did not need a reservation, just get in line and off you go. Well, I wasn’t ready so I thanked her, she told me where I might find available camping, the directions were confusing, she did warn me that most camping would be filled.  I wound up driving all over, with rather insane directions from my GPS.  The lack of sleep was getting to me and my dogs wanted to play. I found 3 or maybe 4 camp spots and rejected them; as either they were filled or I just couldn’t endure the lack of ambience. I came close to staying at a State Park, picked a spot, backed in, had the little registration card on my dash pencil in hand . . .  I looked at the others parked there. No one looked happy, screaming kids, sour faces, tons of road noise, no hiking trail; I was still happy, in spite of being tired and grumpy I was happy.


About to enter the waterfall trail.

I drove in circles through Bainbridge Island, peeved at my GPS leading me around like a drunk along with the bizarre signage of dead ends. Happiness was fragile.  Happiness meant I was not waking up with depression, I did not have anxiety, I was standing taller, eating great, had lost a good bit of weight, was exercising. I felt I could handle myself and the world, I could make decisions (well, except for right at that moment,) and I liked being alive so I called my Mom. I can’t remember what she said, probably something along the line of how I needed to find a safe place for the night and stop driving. Whoever decided, her or me I turned around and headed north. When I crossed the Hood Canal Bridge again I felt a light joy, the heavy rain stopped, the sun came out, no kidding, birds were singing! Another day and time I’d be ready for the Seattle side, not this time that’s all.




Landed a last spot at the RV campground at Port Ludlow, it was lovely.  My space was only $20 cash since the office had already closed. I was happy. Dogs were happy. they forgive so easily.  In the morning we found a trail into a garden, then across an open field into a nature trail with a waterfall and beach. It was an enchanting touch of paradise.

Bitter Cherry

Bitter Cherry



Cool, sweet water.


Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar


Home for the night at Port Ludlow


Loved the Port and Marina….  make a note to stay there someday at the Lodge. Gift shop invited all 3 of my dogs to come in and they made the rounds including into the back office. Pet, pet, pet.  I need to teach them to say Lagotto Romagnolo and Terrier-Corgi-Chi.


At Port Ludlow Washington, walking the dogs. there’s a beach right around the corner and lots of dogs come to romp. 


Port Ludlow Marina

Port Ludlow Marina

Hey Puppies let’s go PLAY now!