Juneuary

Posted by Ken Campbell June 12, 2008 0 Comment 499 views

It’s cold up here in the Great Northwest. Doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to, for this time of year. Plants in the garden are stunted from the cold. So are the firs and the hemlocks of western Washington. The new growth on their boughs is there, but it is bright green as if it were the middle of April, and smaller than normal. Shorter.

I was up on Marrowstone Island this past weekend, kayaking. Our group slept at the Cascadia Marine Trail site at Kinney Point, on the southern tip of the island. It’s a small park with room for about four or five tents, if everybody’s real friendly. When the tide is out (it was at -2.3 feet when we landed), it’s a long walk from the water to the land, but it wasn’t mud, at least. The beach up near the camp sites is perfect, clean sand and the view to the south and west is peaceful and expansive.

The main item of interest that lies to the south is the lower portion of Admiralty Inlet. This passage from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the protected inland waterways of Puget Sound is a busy channel, with freighters, barges and fishing boats in constant dance. I sat for a while on a gnarled beach log of ancient vintage, watching the lights of some of the larger ships as they passed, the little yellow dots of light moving slowly against the dark backdrop of Whidbey Island.

When Vancouver named this area, he meant for the name to apply to the entire section of inlets and islands to the south as well. Clear down to Bainbridge, to Seattle, all this was Admiralty Inlet to Vancouver. It was clearly his intent that Puget Sound was to designate the area that Peter Puget had explored in his two longboats, the waters south of Blake Island, down to what is now Tacoma, Olympia and Shelton.

That’s how it goes. Today Admiralty Inlet is a relatively short, uncomplicated passage that runs between the top of Bainbridge Island and the southwestern part of Whidbey Island. The entrance to Hood Canal is off to the south as well, the green, gauzy islands and capes blending with the gray of the water and the sky.

As the evening descends it gets colder. A sliver of a sunset is all light, no heat, and the crystalline drizzle feels almost icy. Soon, I am warm under my layer of down, snug in the tent, waiting for summer to come.

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