Tag Archive: Fort Flagler

Port Townsend Continued

Dogs say Thanks!

Dogs say Thanks…  come on human ….  this way!

Port Townsend is as much a mecca for artist as for boaters. I’ve thought of it as compliment to Santa Barbara with its high housing prices, progressive environmental atmosphere and bent for tourist; maybe more for tourists than for residents. I didn’t go back to Sequim in the rainshadow, due to the graduation traffic but next time will check out that area further, I think it would be calmer but with the growth, don’t know, I’ve considered living there at times.  I had a friend in printmaking class, she was actually a quilter, who owned and ran a B&B in the very tourist center of Port Townsend. She told she was happy to sell and get out after 10 years as the guests drawn to the area became trashy and she tired of their attitudes. Why would this be I don’t know. Perhaps the intensity of the fairs, and festivals, the partying, the crowds, probably drinking and not thinking about how precious it all is.  I try to avoid that type of scene when I travel seeking the beauty and uniqueness but not getting too deep. I tend not to stay long. I wander. I want to see. I explore, I thrive on that. Crowds are not my thing unless it’s it’s to move through them like a a wind blowing tall grass.


I took a look at the other marinas in Port Townsend and surrounding areas such a s the Port of Port Townsend and Port Townsend Boat Haven; without a map in front of me I’m sure I’m missing the names and exact places. Once away from the tourist center there are a range of commercial working marinas to small almost hidden public and private marinas, campgrounds, homes, shopping areas. See the same stores everywhere which is boring, makes it easy not to go in them.





The boat, the Western Flyer I think is in Port Townsend; was used by John Steinbeck in the 1940’s and is now being restored having sunk in Anacortes.  Now it will be a floating classroom for marine biology. It’s an interesting area, Port Townsend, and I still like it, but I heard some women complaining that rent on a small apartment with a water view was $4,000.  Definitely Santa Barbara prices and probably too many people all wanting to cram in here.


You can get an idea of this boat by looking at the trucks. It was BIG!


Nordland, Washington. Lots of nice homes on Marrowstone Island, wonder what it’d be like to live in this area as an artist. Would be driving into Port Townsend for the co-op and Tacoma for other goods. probably would want to get a boat!

Something odd happened to me at Fort Warden during my morning walk. I actually felt like I might be happy. Happy, that was something I hadn’t remembered for a long time. It seemed such a fragile feeling that I did not want to talk to my new friends, I only wanted to look at everything around me and walk, feel how cool and clear the air felt, how calm everything was before the gates opened.  After my walk and a hot shower I discovered the campground was full for the coming night so nothing to do but treat myself to a brie sandwich and carrot soup to go, from the gourmet cafe and head off to Marrowstone Island.


Another shot of the lighthouse at Fort Warden, coming up from the beach.


There seem to be birds everywhere in the Peninsula,; not just seabirds but all kinds of birds.


And tons of baby deer. My dogs would stare at the deer and the deer would stare at the dogs; we’d all be very quiet.

With my good camping luck I landed a beach space at Fort Flagler at the edge of the campground. If it’s not apparent to you, it became apparent to me that given opportunity I choose waterfront over forest 10 times out of 10. Being early in the day I drove back to the dot sized town of Norland to check it out.  There was a store, I went in and bought paper towels and some smoked salmon. Clams and oysters were available across the street.

Here’s some information from Marrowstone.com: “Fort Flagler, on Marrowstone’s north end, was completed in 1907 and in operation until 1953. It became a state park in 1955 and is a popular destination for campers and kite fliers. Mystery Bay State Park is another state park on Marrowstone Island, located about a half-mile north of the Nordland General Store. The Nordland Township was plotted in 1889, and soon after the area was settled by families newly immigrated from Norway. The attraction to the area was the similarity of the land to the Norwegian fjords, the abundance of fish, and the cannery which once existed two miles north of Nordland. Most of the descendants of the families still live on the island.”


Mystery Bay on a quiet day.



Walked around Mystery Bay with the dogs; saw one truck and one fisherman happily occupied at the edge of the pier. We didn’t approach but walked out on the beach. When it’s the right season for clams and oysters it must be crowded.





Mason looking for the gunnery.

I wasn’t sure I’d like Fort Flagler, my first impression being that it would be windy and sort of vacant, but it didn’t take long for me to fall in love.


Boat launch at Fort Flagler.


The dock . . . see that little boat down there, that’s the guy from Seattle. Took this picture on my hike up to the upper campground.

Perched on the edge of the world, I hiked round and about on the beach and into the forested area in the soft rain with my Lagotti while Mason took a nap. Went into the store and looked at the kites. I wanted to buy one and fly it, but they weren’t appealing enough, I wanted to buy a sandwich but I had food, so I didn’t buy anything; instead, I walked down the boat ramp. There was one cabin cruiser and just as I’d almost reached the end of the dock a crusty kind of handsome fellow stepped out, climbs up the dock and says,” What a nice pair of Lagotto Romagnolo you have,” and walks off! WHAT! No one knows this breed unless they have one and that’s not very common and I don’t see a dog of any kind with him.  I devilishly enjoy saying, Lagotto Romagnolo, to unbelieving ears and counting up how many humans can repeat those words or the funny way they try and almost all of them do, as if it’s somehow very important that they can say those words which I’m sure most of them will quickly forget.  Yet here, out at the edge of terra firma where I’ve seen no one but the camp host, a few campers wandering around and the 2 folks at the store, says this to me! I chased him just a tiny bit as he was briskly walking away and he humored me a bit, muttering that his neighbor in Seattle had one or two of this breed and no more could I get out of him. He was heading for the store to get  food before they closed.  Closing time 4:30 p.m. When I came down from the hills after my walk he was out of sight.


Up in the forest area. You can camp up here too if you wanted. 






Spot number 97 all mine for the night.

The night was rainy on and off and absolutely gorgeous. Watching the sun set into the water I felt so content, I could have stayed there and counted birds or grains of sand or clouds in the sky. Hearing the rain made me happy, tried to take a picture though the window, some birds were still out. There was power so I turned on my little electric heater so my dogs and I could dry but I kept the lights off as I often do to watch the long dusk turn into night. So peaceful.



I went to seep expecting a sound night but instead I was in pain with TO (thoracic outlet) and Gerd. They both are on the left side so affect my heart and breathing. Feels like being choked, strangled and repeatedly stabbed in the back, ribs and chest. Breathing at all hurts, left arm, esp left hand becomes paralyzed and painful. Trying to find a way to sleep is difficult, any pressure on my left side is no good, on my back my throat constricts and no air, on the other side the entire arm goes into spasms. It’s just not fun. Drove the dogs a bit nuts thrashing about trying to find just the right alignment. Thing is I didn’t really care. I still felt happy and when I awoke added how I could handle and take care of myself to my list of things I could do.



In the morning I let my dogs run in the puddles, I carried Mason over them then put him down so he could sniff. The campsites were all gone. I watched the park host place the reserved sign on my site post.  I’d dreamt of staying, but it was not to be. I’d talked to the park host several times the day before, he wasn’t overwhelmingly friendly, but he did share that he’d taken this job two years after his wife died leaving him and her dog, a little soft brown poodle at a loss. He was now on year 6.


Not quite ready to leave the park, still exploring.


As I was getting ready to leave the park suddenly got really crowded,  50 kids or more unloaded from a bus and started marching with more coming behind them!  Drove down to the fort and no one is here, dogs are running happy, it’s raining and close to noon. Am reluctant to go but am thinking of crossing over to the mainland, to Edmonds where there are some Lagotti and their people to meet and some friends, relatives, people to visit, so will head down to Kingston and check out the ferry. One more night on this side, that’s what I was thinking. There was a bit more to see, the remains of the gun batteries, the old hospital, a big conference area, retreat center and vacation rentals. Tons more people and kids too.




Hoping Port Townsend won’t get too big for itself but that’s what happens.


Port Townsend, Washington

Here's another shot of Sekiu

Here’s another shot of Sekiu

And Another, looking out form Seiku

And Another, looking out from Seiku

Love it here. Yep, a harbor/marina at Point Hudson (Port Townsend.) It’s changed since my last visit, larger now. Stayed a few nights, one, dry camped by the restaurants close to the marina, then I moved over to the second row on the grassy waterfront … could have moved to the front row if I’d wanted to stay. The weekends get crowded, Port Townsend has special events all summer. I arrived Fri and Sat was sold out but there was an early morning cancellation.

Somewhere I stopped on the road for a walk.

I took the long way from Sekiu to Port Angeles, at first I didn’t think it was as scenic as touted but then suddenly wow was it! Jumped on 101 and drove to Sol Duc Hot Springs, that road was especially curvy and poor Jackson was having a fit. Occasionally he would get Jeana all upset as well; Mason remained unflappable….  he’s experienced, funny road noises, bumps and tight curves don’t bother him, my little 15 pound fearless one! I swaddled Jackson, cramming him between the 2 captain chairs. He was close to me that way and could not move. I rammed him in with pillows and the swaddling. He was like a locomotion with his heavy panting. It made me feel bad except as soon as we stopped he was all wild, bouncy happy so I figured his stress while we were moving was harder on me than it was on him. I was driving like the eggshell between my foot and the pedal and very slowly, trying with all my might to get my 7,800 pound LT not to sway, shake or rumble. Not easy as the steering was still weird and the road pitted and rough. I walked all 3 of the dogs on whatever paved area I could find at Sol Duc; it was very un-dog friendly. You couldn’t walk a dog on the big grassy play area that was a bit littered with human borne trash or on the paved trail. I stowed them back in the RV and walked around the resort, looked at the pools imaging how it’d feel to soak in hot water and finally decided I didn’t need a $14 bath. Took the road out, it was a free road with my Senior Federal Park Pass, that’s when the real magic happened. As 101 turned the bend beauty popped up in another of her stunning displays of water and rainforest.

Dig these trees!

Dig these trees!

The dogs and I explored Lake Sunderland …  sockeye salmon and trout. Olympic National Park Fairholme Campground is on the lake for tents and RVs 21 feet or less. Rainforest, old growth forest and the lake. Lots of families in tents. The plant growth was amazing. I snapped a ton of photos with my phone to use for colored pencil drawing ideas and for fused glass. Clear water for the dogs to play in.




Rainforest trees

Rainforest trees

I considered staying except for two problems,  it appeared to be full and I knew I’d have soaking wet dogs. I packed a hair dryer but had already discovered the power inverter a friend lent me was not working. No power out there in the forest and it was cold already. For those of you that don’t have water dogs but non-water types like my Mason who happily stays dry, water dogs watch for the shortest distance between where they are and water before you can blink they are wet!


A little bit of Lake Sunderland.

Decided to spend the night in Port Angeles however when I arrived I discovered it was graduation weekend and the town was packed! Lots of traffic but a fun little town. I was warned due to graduation that if I wanted to take a ferry I should do so immediately or be prepared to wait until Tue. The graduation thing had me worried about finding a spot in Port Townsend as it was I was lucky getting the very last space. On the way to Port Townsend I checked out a few county parks and campgrounds, when I got back on the freeway as it was getting into early evening  there was a sudden red light swerving and screeching including me, my LT almost didn’t stop in time!  I swerved into the next lane since it was empty avoiding any secondary accident. Traffic jammed as we waited, ambulance, fire truck, police went by, then we were rerouted.  All this did not make my dogs happy nor me. All the money spent on fixing the brakes, I was trembling and the dogs were very quiet, that was too close a call. When I was able I stopped and picked up the items that had slid and fallen, re-closed the frig door.




I had a blast in Port Townsend. Walked downtown with all the wooden boats, Victorian architecture, some actors doing a show all had to pet and coo over the dogs, lots of street art and happy milieu.



Early morning in Port Townsend.





I’m camped way off in the back, on the right side behind this marina.


Yep, this was mine, and then they moved me to the other side.




Folks waiting for the Port Townsend ferry.

Heck if you don't like boats you won't like Port townsend. LOL

Heck if you don’t like boats you won’t like Port townsend. LOL

Around the corner from my camping harbor.

Around the corner from my camping harbor.


Walked down to the wetlands lagoon, then explored further of the area than I had in the past with stops at the co-op and driving tour of parks, beaches, historical visits and local neighborhoods.


But MOM!!!! Those guys are swimming!








Mason the gunner!


The lighthouse at Fort Worden. You have to walk to get close. We did so by climbing up from the rocky beach.

After several days I moved over to Fort Worden.  The ocean campground was posted as full but I’d seen empty spaces so waited in line at registration and was given a great curved pull through spot,sheltered from the wind. Folks were in line to register for next year! The couple in front of me said they did this every year, staying as long as they could then heading to the Oregon coast, esp this year with nearly 120 deg weather in Arizona where they lived. It was easy to forget the record-breaking heat in the Southwest, early arctic melting, Death Valley hitting 129 degs in June; India has been sweltering, Tunisia, Argentina, Russia…  what will July and August bring?  The Pacific Northwest is not drought free and where I live in Southern California the drought continues to worsen.


BEACH…. this way…. Campground right on the other side.




Fort Warden encompasses 434 acres with 100 historic structures and 2 miles of saltwater shoreline with views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and the San Juan Islands. It took awhile including asking 3 times for directions with several loops of  the park to find registration, as with much of Washington wayfinding is presented as more of a labyrinth puzzle than simple path. The time after the park closes to visitors for the night was the time I cherished the most, walking with vigour from one end to the other, on and on to the lighthouse over the rocky shoreline and up into the forested area with a second campground, classrooms and schools, conference center, ball fields, tennis courts, kayaking, boat ramps, marine center, visitor accommodations, and at least one museum. Again, I was lucky finding a space, the next night the park was filled. My camping neighbors in an 1988 Southwind invited me over, seemed we had a lot in common. As soon as I walked into their rig I was awed by how big, roomy and comfy it was!  Had a great time chatting about everything from the climate, politics, healthy stuff to eat, bookstores and co-ops, cool places to take your RV, getting the right size RV  (not too big, not too little) and more! My dogs were good, they stayed in my van. I was to see them again in Olympia where they live.


Evening time and the pier is quiet.





There are six Forts which guarded Puget Sound; Fort Worden, Fort Flagler and Fort Casey (on Whidbey Island) made up the “Triangle of Fire,” at Admiralty Inlet. I learned this from my new friends. The Forts were built in the late 1890s to modernize seacoast fortifications and upgraded in the 1940s. We had a sudden view of Mt Rainier with it’s snowy peak, it stayed with us for awhile and then disappeared.


This post is getting longer than I thought it would so I’ll finish it next time…  (More Port Townsend to come)  missing a few photos as well, maybe they will show up?  Sorry for typos, I will fix them as I notice them, but no time to edit right now.