I've hiked the trail along Ebey's Bluff many times, and every time it's different. With the surf constantly altering the landscape of the beach, and the changing season dramatically altering the bluff and prairie portions of the trail, there are always new views to admire. On this particular Sunday, hiking with the Alpine Trails Book Club, we had the most incredible weather conditions yet. While there were heavy, dark clouds all morning, the views along the horizon were crystal clear, allowing us to see rare panoramic views of all the surrounding mountains, including the Olympics, the Central and North Cascades, Glacier Peak, Mt. Baker, and even Mt. Rainier! Unfortunately, shortly after we left the trailhead, I discovered the battery for my DSLR (which I normally use for all my hiking photos) was dead, and the spare was in my other backpack. With only my phone, I wasn't able to take clear photos of the surrounding peaks, but if you have a good eye (and you squint a bit!) you may be able to make out the silhouette of Mt. Rainier in some of the photos below.
It was a windy morning, but thankfully not too cold. As we hiked through the prairie and along the bluff, the wind sang through the bare branches and rattled the brittle grasses and dried leaves, creating a howling background music to our hike. Our group quickly spread out as some paused to take photos, and others rushed ahead for the next view, but once we reached the beach, we all gathered to sit on the driftwood and discuss The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. Sitting outside with the wind on a faces, breathing in the salty sea air, it was hard to imagine how small the authors world must have been during her illness. No one in our group had experienced anything like the long period of mysterious and debilitating health issues the author suffered, something for which we were all thankful.
It was remarkable that Elizabeth Tova Bailey was able to use a snail, brought into her life by a friend in a potted plant, to keep herself connected to nature while her body was so isolated from the world. Trapped in her bed, often unable to even roll over for a different view of her bedroom, that snail became her sole source of entertainment. Her observations of the snail were a beautiful reminder to slow down from the chaos of daily life and witness the natural world around us. There's so much to see, if we can just take the time to look for it. For another perspective on this hike, read Jill's beautiful post here!