Winter is draping his coat on the back of a chair and rolling up his sleeves. It’s getting a bit too warm for him. Pausing by the punch bowl, he scans the dance hall. His eyes lock on the door. Spring has just swept in with her light flowered dress flowing in a soft breeze. Winter watches her glide tentatively into the room. He’s been dancing all night with vigor unmatched. Now he grows weary. But perhaps, one more.
The music starts. He takes her hand. Shyly, she follows him, and the dance begins. They are stepping forward, turning back, swinging this way, swaying that. His arm finds her waist. She turns her head. They skip and sway in a circle, then in a line. They come together, then apart. She is smiling, spinning, dazzling. She moves with grace and strength. Surprised at her spirit, he feels his energy leave him. She twirls with delight. He collapses into a chair.
After a chilly night, morning dawned on the equinox pink and perfect. It was a fine spring day, warm enough to find folks going barefoot on the sand and testing the waters.
As I entered the park the sign overhead read, “Double Bluff Beach Park,” and in one corner in smaller letters it said, “FETCH!”. What an interesting word, I thought, with so many definitions. I pondered it as I walked.
verb: 1. To go for and then bring back (someone or something).
2. To achieve (a particular price) when sold.
Noun: 1. The distance traveled by wind or waves across open water.
I’d learned that from sailors. From Double Bluff across Puget Sound is a long expanse of water with plenty of room for winds to stir up waves and wreak havoc for boats and sailors.
Then I thought of the term, fetching, as in attractive or appealing. This weather was appealing to me, and this beautiful beach was certainly attractive. I walked on and enjoyed hours of watching dogs, birds and people. All of us basking in this spring day at the beach.
When I got home and googled it, I found out why the word, FETCH appeared on the park sign. This particular FETCH stands for Free Exercise Time for Canines and their Humans. (I wonder how long it took to come up with that acronym.)
FETCH is a non-profit group with hundreds of two legged members and roughly twice as many four legged friends. The group formed when someone who had let their dog run off-leash at Double Bluff had a run-in with the law.
There are responsible dog owners who pick-up after their pets and try to keep their dogs from bothering other people. And then there are irresponsible dog owners who give all the others a bad name.
FETCH are the good guys. They petitioned the county to let them have a certain part of Double Bluff for off-leash dog play. They struck a deal. The county said they’d try it for a year if FETCH assumed responsibility for providing pet waste bags and monitoring behavior. That was in 1999. And it still works. FETCH partners with Island County Parks to maintain the off-leash dog park.
When you go to Double Bluff, you’ll find pet waste bags and trash cans, a dog water fountain and a rinsing station, a fenced in picnic area with no dogs allowed, vault toilets for people, and miles of beautiful beach, bluff and bay to explore with your best buddy.
Dogs must be kept on a leash for the first 500 feet of the park before letting them loose. The border is marked by a bedraggled wind sock. If you let your dog off-leash any sooner, you may be fined $500. For details about FETCH, whether verb, noun, adjective or acronym, google it!
Learn more about FETCH! here.
Directions: From Freeland, take Highway 525 south about a mile to Double Bluff Road. Turn right (south) and follow it about 2 miles to the end. If the parking lot is full, park along the shoulder outside the park and watch for traffic.
By Bike and Bus: Island Transit Route 1 fare free bus will stop where Double Bluff Road meets Highway 525. Double Bluff Road has a very gentle grade down to the beach with a good shoulder for bikes. Two bikes fit on a bus bike rack. Please wear something bright when walking or biking along the road.
Mobility: There are picnic tables and benches overlooking the beach at the park entrance. To get to the water, one must get over a logstacle course of driftwood. The beach is sandy for miles with logs to sit on along the way.
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