Today was the first day of school for the 2022/2023 school year. The boys are homeschooling this year and you just cannot force kids to start before Labor Day. We were going to go for a walk, to count as PE…but then I was “Why not go for an actual hike? And go somewhere pretty”…because once Labor Day passes, most of Seattle has to go back to work and school. Finally. The island returns to the locals (somewhat….any sunny weekend and the ferry is packed). We did an hour of school work and it was hitting 9 am and I just felt we needed to be outside.
I had an urge to hike a longtime favorite set of easy hikes, in Coupeville, Wa (which is central Whidbey Island). To park there are a couple options, which will be obvious based on how busy the area is. Being early, and not on a weekend, we could park all the way in at the Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve Visitor Center, which sits at the end of Cemetery Road. You will pass the historical cemetery. There is a small parking area on the left side of the road, this is the Overlook Lot. On a clear sunny day you can see 3 volcanoes, the Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Mountains. But keep going, and end of the road is another area to park. The trailhead is by the pit toilets. If it’s busy…well you might be parking along the road, going downhill, along the cemetery. May the odds be in your favor.
See here for more information on the National Park website. The NP plays a role in the whole Reserve, along with State land, County land and private land.
Ebey’s Prairie Ridge Trail is the connector trail from the Prairie Overlook/Cemetery to the bluff high above Ebey’s Landing. I talked about it in 2019.
Take off from the parking lot and walk the wide path (it’s used for farm equipment as well), and soon you will walk along wild Nootka Rose bushes and Snowberry bushes. Late summer is special, it’s bright rosehips and white Snowberries.
Then the Blockhouse and the Ebey House come into view.
There are 2 blockhouses in this area. The second one is in the cemetery. See here to learn more.
The house is being preserved more and more by the year. It’s open on weekends when they have volunteers.
Looking across the Salish Sea (or the Strait of Juan de Fuca as it used to be called long ago), to Port Townsend and the Olympic Mountains. In the middle of the left side, Mt. Rainier is visible to the eye, rising above the water, so large. Look behind you and you can see Mt. Baker. Far across the land (and not in the photo) on a clear day you might see Glacier Peak.
We read signs, we talked about botany, geology, history and so much more. Then we hiked back, and then up into the Pratt Loop Trail and did the loop.
It’s always a pleasant nearly flat walk.
The barns have been restored now, and are going to be used for education – for children. How cool! There is now running water in the far back and it looks as if a privy toilet was built for the education center.
Pretty awesome to see the area continue to be used so well. It’s a gorgeous setting, in the forest, just on the edge. It will be cool in the warm months.
All in told, we hiked a little over 2 miles. Not a huge hike for sure, but the boys were breaking in new boots and it was just relaxing!
Want to explore further? See here where I talk about the spur trail from the Pratt Loop, out to Hwy 20, where it joins the paved Kettle Trail.