Deception Pass is one of my favorite places for winter and early spring hiking, and after weeks of snow in early February, the snow-free trail to Lighthouse Point was a truly welcome sight. As our group gathered at the trailhead on a chilly morning under slate grey skies, I found myself immediately regretting not bringing my puffy down jacket. It may not have been snowy, but it was still cold! Thankfully the faint, sporadic sunlight that struggled through the clouds was enough to warm me once we got moving. Between the rugged views and rambling conversation, any lingering chill was quickly forgotten.
From the parking area, we started off heading north to Rosario Beach - the only portion of trail at Deception Pass I hadn’t hiked before. The trail to the beach was lovely, and winding across windblown grassy cliffs overlooking Puget Sound, it felt entirely different from the trails closer to the bridge. I’d checked the tidal predictions weeks before our hike, so I wasn’t surprised the high tide, but it was a disappointment not to have the chance to be able to explore the tidal shallows. Since I know their population in the PNW is recovering, I’d hoped to see a starfish or two, but now luck. I’ll have to add Rosario Beach to the list to revisit during a low tide!
With the wind picking up, we didn’t linger on the beach, heading back to the parking lot and on south to Lighthouse Point. Thankfully at the point, the wind wasn’t quite as persistent, and we enjoyed some sunshine while we nibbled on lunch. Our book for the month, Shell Games, was a surprisingly fascinating and highly addictive read, and led to one of our best discussions yet. Over lunch we discussed the drama of the story, the unbelievable extent to which shellfish poaching has impacted the seafood industry, and the implications poaching has on diners choosing to eat seafood. We wrapped up our hike with some tidal explorations along the beach near the trailhead. Even if I missed out on any starfish, there were tons of sea snails, hermit crabs, and chitons to peek at.