Hiking · Local Adventures

Local Adventures: Dave Mackie Park

With a 2 foot plus minus tide on Monday morning, we changed plans. Originally we were going to take a ferry ride, but with two cancellations with the low tides, we sought out beaches to explore.

Dave Mackie park sits on Maxwelton Road, in the south end of Whidbey Island. At 5 acres, it is a reasonably large park and features a wide swatch of beach. It offers public bathrooms, washing stations for sandy feet, picnic tables and a childrens playground. It also has ball fields. The most straight forward there is to turn onto Maxwelton Road off of Hwy 525, and follow it to nearly the end of the road. If you are new to Maxwelton, it’s a rambling drive, and often narrow. Lots of people walk it. You’ll get there soon enough, but drive it slow. Take the second turn into the park to be nearest the beach access. Which I might add – the current access is from the non functional boat ramp. The logs are cleared there. The actual concrete staircase, near the playground, has a wall of driftwood in front of it.

The view here is looking mostly North up the island (I say mostly, because it isn’t a straight line and you can be looking west or other, based on where on the bay you are). The Olympic Mountains are across the water and Useless Bay is the main water view. The land mass on the other side of the bay leads to the next bay, Mutiny Bay (near where we live).

Walker in his element.

The shallow runoff streams and tide pools were full of tiny fish swimming around.

Sand dollars, in the sand and also in the shallow tide pools.

The tide was really far out. Once we crossed the minor trench, the sand levels out all the way to the water’s edge. The edge was marked by copious sea weed beds.

Moon Snail sand collars are always fun to find. They break off and float towards the beach. The snail eggs are in them.

At low tide the sand is packed and flat and one can walk as far as they desire, just keeping an eye on the time. You won’t find epic tide pools but you will find quiet.


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