heart and soul
There are some places in my life, and I am sure you have some too, that make you smile, that feel like home, that restore your soul.
In my previous life at Deception Pass State Park, people would oftentimes ask me where my favorite place was in the park. I would share that it was the last place I had just visited, wherever that might have been, because so much of the park has beauty and meaning.
But there was one place that captured my heart, and my soul, a place I would return to more often than any other when I wasn’t working. No matter my mood, my situation, the weather, or time of day; or whether I’m with family, friends, a loved one, or just on my own; or whether I was mulling over the past, meditating about the present, or dreaming of futures to come -- I always came away from this place with a smile on my face and joy in my heart.
My happy place is Rosario.
It’s a compact place. The trail is short, barely a quarter mile to the top of Rosario Head. But in that quarter mile, consider all that you can experience: a sweeping cobbled beach on one side, a quiet sandier beach on the other, with an isthmus (how often can I use that fun word?) between the two beaches that is home to a majestic storypole honoring the teachings of KoKwalAlWoot. Add to that a finely crafted Civilian Conservation Corps picnic shelter, and a bathhouse that is now a discovery center, plus tidepools, offshore rocks hosting oyster catcher nests, and a moorage dock floating in Bowman Bay. And then there is Rosario Head itself, a crowning glory to any hike with its wide windswept views of two straits, several islands, forested headlands and quiet coves, and grassy grandstand seats to experience it all.
This past Monday was cool and overcast, but the sun was trying to make an appearance. It was a holiday for many, so the parking lot and trails were busy but never felt crowded. Kath and I wandered down to the shoreline at Rosario, finding it buried in logs and debris from the recent king tides and storms. The tide was out a little, though, revealing the rounded rocks that hiss when waves recede. We clambered over the logs and strode along the beach, our hearts soon beating with the rhythm of the waves. Rosario was already working its magic.
At the isthmus, the Maiden stood there watching the day go by in two directions, north and south. Kids and kid-like adults played on the driftwood, on the dock, and on the beaches. Everyone was relaxed, smiling, absorbing the spirit of the place.
We headed up the south trail to the top of the head, passing folks with dogs, a young couple having engagement pictures taken, and birders scanning the offshore rocks and kelp beds, at this moment finding Harley ducks, buffleheads, seagulls and cormorants.
My breath is taken away every time I get to the top of Rosario Head. Words, movies, pictures, none of these can capture the heart of the experience of Rosario. We lingered a while, preserving the views into the emulsion sheets of our souls. We watched other visitors come up and then stop at the edge, mesmerized, as were we all.
Eventually we walked back down the north trail, watching waterfowl, then back to the isthmus, listening to The Maiden again as she reminded us of the ancestors that once filled and still love this beautiful land. Her ancestors never forget the beautiful world that gave them being.
Once again, I feel the connection of my life to all life, of my story to all history. Way to go, Rosario.
Directions: Just north of the Deception Pass bridge, turn onto Rosario Road. In 0.7 miles angle left onto Cougar Gap Road. Turn left onto Rosario Beach Road and follow it to the parking lot at the end.
By bike: Rosario Road and Highway 20 are narrow, winding, and hilly in places. Rosario Road has lower speed limits and fewer cars.
Mobility: the trail from the parking area toward the Maiden is firmly graveled and gently sloped. Beyond there the trails onto the head are challenging; the one up the middle is the widest, but also very steep. The one up the south side is the most gently sloped of all the trails, but it is somewhat narrow.
If you go there, what are your thoughts as you wander the fields, beaches and trails?
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