This was actually a week ago, but it took me a while to get around to blogging about it. Last Friday, my mum, sister, and I went out to Whidbey Island, here in Washington. My mum grew up on Whidbey, so, similar to Canada to visit family in Vancouver, we’ve had one or two trips to Whidbey every year for my entire life. It’s out in the Puget Sound, not too far by ferry, and there are two possible trips for us: Coupeville and Fort Casey, or Deception Pass and Rosario. This time around it was Coupeville and Fort Casey. Coupeville, which I didn’t take any pictures of, is a town from the 1800s in the middle of the historic reserve and Fort Casey is a military fort from the 1890s that was active through WWII. I’m a history dork, so this is sort of thing is right up my alley.
It was a beautiful day and there weren’t very many people there, which was fantastic. Fort Casey is a popular place to visit, unlike Fort Flagler (where we’ll be going on Wednesday – never underestimate my ability to be entertained by old stuff), so it was pretty lucky to be there when it was quiet. We ended up wandering around for a good two hours, walking through some of the bunkers, which are all concrete and often very dark and creepy inside, and up on top (where the first picture with my sister was taken; we were sitting on a gun turret), and finally down to the beach for a few minutes before checking out the lighthouse and moving on.
It’s a really nice place to walk around, even if you aren’t into the history. We’ve been there so many times (my mum went there when she was a kid and my sister and I have wandered around the bunkers a lot), so we didn’t do a lot of in depth exploration, but it was just cool enough that we didn’t feel like we were broiling, and my sister and I did end up finding a place we don’t remember going to before: a flight of stairs that led down to a sort of platform that hung out over the water. It was really cool and there was literally no one else around, so we took some dorky pictures and it was really fun. I love being able to explore places without sharing it with random strangers. It’s more fulfilling that way.
After wandering down to the otherwise deserted beach, we walked out to the lighthouse that’s sort of visible in my photo of part of the fort. It’s sort of half-museum half-lighthouse now, because it’s no longer in use, and my mum and I went up to the top. My sister passed because she’s really afraid of heights and the stairs were kind of scary. Actually, the spiral staircase only went halfway – after that it turned into what basically amounted to a glorified ladder.
It was really hot at the top of the lighthouse, about 10 degrees hotter than in the stairwell or downstairs, so we didn’t stay long. But it had a good view and I felt like an intrepid explorer after making myself go up the ladder and back down without any bodily harm or years taken off my life. Finally, right before heading back to Coupeville to eat the most delicious blackberry ice cream in the world, I wanted to go down to the old fallout shelters and my sister (somewhat grudgingly) went with me.
You can go inside all of the shelters (there are… three sections, I think, or maybe four) and they’re more or less just big U-shaped tunnels. They had electric lights back when they were still considered necessary, but I wouldn’t want to be closed up inside one. There’s only one that you can still walk all the way through – the others have a wall halfway because only half is considered safe enough to enter. My sister and I have gone through that full tunnel exactly once ever, because it’s really dark and there are birds and bats living back in there. I took a picture of the interior of one, to show the fallout shelter sign that’s still pretty clear on the wall, but I didn’t actually go in and I chose the above photo instead because the exterior is more interesting to look at.
To finish this up, I’ll give you a picture of the Ferry House, which is the oldest structure in Washington State, taken from the side of the road because it’s private property. No one lives there, but it is owned and not open to the public. And, of course, if you want to check out all my photos, the link to my dotphoto is in the sidebar and I post everything over there in albums.
As a final, historic note, the Ferry House has kind of a dark history – it was first occupied by Captain Ebey (the beach it’s close to is called Ebey’s Landing) and Ebey was killed by the local Native tribe because the settlers had killed a significant tribal member and Ebey was perceived to be an equivalent member of the white community. So they killed him to make things even (they didn’t touch anyone else in the house) and Ebey’s family went back to the mainland because, understandably, they didn’t want to stay. And that is the sort of arguably useless information you pick up when you really like history. I think it’s pretty awesome, myself.