It’s nearly time for school to start again, and in the waning weeks of summer my mind returns to finding walks to go on. Are they hiking? Well, not really. But it is foot powered walking to see unique things. Fowler Pear Tree Park is one of them. For it is Washington State’s oldest pear tree. We may not have 400+ years of European history in the PNW, where as say Virginia does, but we still have some things. And we have better mountains. Hah!
Our ride for the day, the Tokitae. We took the ferry to Mulkiteo, on the mainland from Whidbey Island.
There are 4 walk of shames on the Washington Ferry System: You fall asleep and have to be woken (yeah, I have been there at 2 am getting rapped at loudly). You walk off the ferry while chatting with people you know…leaving your car on the ferry (you’d really be scared to know how often this happens). Your battery dies and they push you off with the push cart of shame while everyone watches.
And the worst is…..the horn singing the song of its people. I could hear it halfway across the water and it never stopped. It didn’t stop till they got off the ferry and got above 10 mph. Like, I so felt for them. Didn’t stop me from filming it though. And for once it wasn’t a BMW with a tricky alarm. It was a tiny Fiat. On some ferry crossings, when the water is choppy, the crew is constantly asking people to unlock their cars, and turn off alarms. Otherwise it becomes a concert of allllll the horns tooting.
After getting off the ferry in Mulkiteo and walking down to the transit area to the left of the ferry terminal, we walked out to First Street (Google Maps shows the road doesn’t go through, it does). We crossed First and then crossed the railroad tracks. Just look and don’t dawdle here. Yes, these are actively used rail lines. Used by freight, Amtrak and The Sounder Train. However it has crossing arms, so you know if a train is coming. Still, always always look both ways.
This puts you on Mulkiteo Lane. It is a very quiet road. There isn’t much shoulder on either side, but you shouldn’t see much traffic. We only had 1 car pass us. It is mostly flat as you walk.
There is a 4th rail crossing, but it’s rarely used. Still, look and listen, and move.
Passing the train station for Mulkiteo, on the back side.
In a short distance the road does gently go uphill to reach the tiny park. It has parking spots on both sides.
The small green park has a fence around it.
Barbara Brenner Dobro Memorial Park – or the Fowler Pear Tree Park.
This sign was put in the ground in 1953, so 70 years ago. It says 1866, but the modern records say 1863, leaving the tree to be 160 years old now.
“Jacob D. Fowler was Mukilteo’s first homesteader.
He was also a merchant, postmaster, and orchardist.
In 1863 he planted a pear tree in his orchard, which may be the oldest pear tree in Washington State.
Before the winter wind storm of 1995, the tree stood 35 feet tall and spread nearly 45 feet. The wind storms damaged the crown and revealed serious signs of decay in the trunk. Since then Mukilteo officials have propagated the tree in hopes to replace it if the original tree doesn’t continue to survive. (They actually did! They made 3 successful starts of it, that are now planted elsewhere, growing.)
The Fowler Pear is all that is left of the orchard, and is a state registered historic landmark.”
The tree sits above the rail lines, with a view of Whidbey, Hat and Camano Islands and the water. It’s a really peaceful place to sit for a few.
It’s had a hard life since 1995. But it keeps going.
The tiny park has a park bench in the shade on one side and a picnic table on the other side. You can see the train station in the distance.
To complete our walk, we kept going up hill Mulkiteo Lane a short distance, then took a right onto 2nd Street (has a sidewalk) for a block, then took a right onto Mulkiteo Speedway (has a sidewalk), heading downhill to walk back to the ferry dock. It’s a bit over a mile for the loop.
For us, we could turn it into a good walk and enjoy our time outside. The views are stellar if you look out far onto the water and wonder just a bit …. what was it like 160 years ago? Those were questions for our boys to ponder about. It was wild then. And the water came in a lot closer to where this tree still stands.