Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fidalgo Loop, Washington Park

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Where? See my Google Map.
Price? Free, excluding travel expenses (gas).
Hiked: Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Facilities for Washington Park: includes covered picnic areas, boat launch (see boat launch policies), playground with slide, beach access (gravel), seventy-three campsites, water/electric/sewer-dump for campers, offers multiple trails, and a paved scenic drive (2.2 miles).

Washington Park resides on a small peninsula on the west side of Fidalgo Island, near the City of Anacortes. The park is open year round. Please visit the City of Anacortes' website for park hours.

Washington Park welcomes dogs on leash.

VerizonWireless Users: I maintained cell phone reception on this hike.

Condition of the Trail: Fidalgo Loop Trail consists of several not-so-clearly marked pathways that will occasionally intersect one another.

The pathways are well-traveled and narrow. The scenery transforms again and again for hikers. I could not speak enough of the wonderful variety of terrain from thick and lush hedges to mossy carpets. The chocolate soil of the forest digresses to dirt so rusty red it'll remind you of cinnamon. Weathered sea-side trees are sculpted by the unrelenting wind into sculptures white as bone and their handsome roots spider across the trail in various places. The rock is sealed with lichen and dime-sized flowers in purple and white.

Do you like Madrona trees? Me too. Modrona trees, old and young, populate the park.

I encountered no switchbacks on the Fidalgo Loop. The trail primarily wound about, climbed some banks, and eddied along contour of the peninsula.

The trail my party and I traveled spit us out onto a foliage-free bluff as seen in my first photo. Washington Park bolted a bench into the rock where hikers may sit, rest themselves, and enjoy a fabulous view of the West Sound.

Attention Men: at sunset this'd be a great spot to propose. Just sayin'....

Level of Difficulty: on a scale of one to ten, I'd give Fidalgo Loop a two. Children might find this trail un-manageable because it is root-ridden, rocky, and you really have to pay attention to your feet.

Hikers must walk single file, which is why I would caution dog owners against bringing nervous dogs. In most cases, you won't be able to pull your dog a safe distance off the trail to let others pass.

The 250ft elevation gain is hardly felt. The four or five inclines are severe enough to raise you heart rate a tad and that is all. If I lived in Anacortes I might make Fidalgo Loop a part of a daily walking or running routine.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time hiking Fidalgo Loop. I loved the variety in the scenery and terrain and I think you will too. Enjoy yourself, your company, and enjoy Puget Sound.

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