Hiking · Local Adventures

Local Adventures: The čičməhán Trail at Point Hudson

If Covid did anything positive, it changed my view of public education all the way to the bedrock under us. My oldest went through public school the same as I did. Everything that was expected, it happened. Not once did it occur to me that homeschooling was an option. We homeschooled in the end of the 2019-20 school year, and most of 2020-21 dealing with Covid and a lack of a real education. I sent the boys back to public school at the start of 2021-22 because I had hoped it would go back to normal, and they missed it. 6 weeks in we pulled our youngest when we realized he was barely being educated. This isn’t a political rant (though it is as well) but rather that I realized I was capable of educating our children far deeper than the school was willing to do. The wall was fractured for me, and once this happened, I couldn’t go back to how it was before. Didn’t help that the fall testing scores came back and only 31.5% of the students in our district met state math standards. Cringy for sure.

Education can be found almost anywhere. It doesn’t need to be sitting at a desk, in a school, being told to be quiet and to sit still. It can be running down a trail, looking across at the Salish Sea. You might learn far more about the history of the state we live in this way. Rather than taking state testing. Or being told to not ask so many questions. Maybe, just maybe, they SHOULD be asking questions. Asking “Can you eat sea stars?” Huh. You can. They are a delicacy that tastes like sea urchins. I sure didn’t know what before they asked. A seagull trying to eat one led to that question.

We went to Port Townsend, Wa yesterday. It was a blue sky morning. No rain. Windy, but like 55*.

The Salish was there to take us across the Salish Sea.

Question is….is the Goose sitting on a nest in the ferry piling? Another question “How many eggs do they sit on?” “Twelve to Fifteen”. Learned something again.

We have seen Herons before that have nests in these.

Originally our goal had been the Rothschild House Museum, which was supposed to open on the 29th. I was far too excited. For it had been closed for first renovations on the roof, then Covid. Finally nearly 4 years later it was to open. Not. It was closed after we did the long walk uphill from the ferry dock. Oh well.

So we walked down the hill instead. And headed for the marina, on the edge of the lower downtown.

Look at a map. You’ll figure how to get there. We just wandered.

The čičməhán Trail I first heard about it a couple years ago when we visited Chetzemoka Park in Port Townsend (the park is #1 on the trail map). I vaguely remember reading an article how they were installing signs and working on a huge project. As we walked onto the beach at Point Hudson it clicked into my mind. Well. Our day had been made so much better!

So actually walking out to Point Hudson on the sidewalks is part of the trail. Coming off the ferry in Port Townsend is #7 on the map. Follow Water Street (tourist trap road) along the water, on the wide sidewalks and pass much to see, turning at the Northwest Maritime Center, towards the marina. At the marina, walk towards the water, between the RV park and the white buildings (which house 3 restaurants, US Customs and Fish and Wildlife).

Never underestimate these boards. They can teach a lot, to both children AND adults.

In the background is the Salish Sea and Whidbey Island across the water. The view is of Ebey’s Landing (near Coupeville). Stop, Read. Learn.

This one I don’t know. There were tons of them just coming up out of bulb looking masses.

The hook was covered in Brandt Ducks and Seagulls at the end.

Looking down the beach towards Fort Worden, that extends out into the water. Fort Worden with the lighthouse at Point Wilson is #18 on the map. At low low tides with CAREFUL planning one can walk the beach to Fort Worden. Unless you know what you are doing though, I don’t recommend that (I’d do it but I like beach walking). You can hike to Fort Worden using a rustic collection of dirt paths up and over the hills, which the boys and I have done. They are steep so buyer beware.

The section of trail here isn’t long at Point Hudson, and it abruptly ends at private property. It is legal to keep walking below high tide (as mentioned above). We turned back and enjoyed this section the trail system. It was well built, crushed rock with benches to enjoy the (very windy) views of Whidbey Island (and when not cloudy Mount Baker in the north).

In town you can find copies of the trail map for free by the door at Williams James Booksellers on Water Street, not far from the ferry dock. Grab one and start walking. Let your feet do the walking, and break it into sections. This section is 100% doable by walking. Not all the sections are, as Port Townsend is notorious for not having sidewalks outside of the core areas, though most of the streets are quiet to walk on, I wouldn’t call them child friendly. Overall the trail system covers 12 miles, and some is only bike and car friendly if you are coming off the ferry. This definitely got me thinking once again how E-bikes might be fun for us. The hills of Port Townsend are pretty good for a thigh workout.


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