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posted by John : August 30, 2009

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Feeling the ferry

It was the last day before Amy came home (actually, she was on her way home) so I decided that since the weather was going to be decent if not pretty good we'd give Whidbey Island a shot. After all, Amy was in the San Juans so why shouldn't we get up that way?

Going to Whidbey meant we could see Grandma Joan, too. I think it might have been the first time on a ferry for Henry and he was going wild once we got on the passenger deck. We ran straight to the bow and he, of course, tried to climb the railing. Luckily, he's not that skilled so I could relax a tad. We didn't have great views because the whole area was completely fogged in.

At Grandma Joan's house the kids ran around and found all the breakable stuff that was at Henry's level. The girls are actually pretty good at finding these treasures and securing them in higher spots. We had brunch (chips) and then lunch (casserole and popcicles). In the yard Lilly started picking flowers, which led to Clara and Henry picking flowers. Clara and Lilly were collecting nice little bouquets, but Henry ran each flower to Grandma before returning to the field for more.

Since we wanted to get back home before it was too late we headed north. It was already an hour later than I had planned, but surely we could make that up on the road or on the trail, right? (Yeah, start the countdown to disaster.)

After almost another hour on the road we were parked at a trailhead on the side of the road near Anacortes. Unfortunately, it wasn't the trailhead I really wanted so instead of heading up Mt. Erie we were on route to Sugarloaf. It's almost as high, but not the high point. In reality, this mean the view down toward Whidbey would be blocked by Erie, but on the upside most of the other people were on the other mountain.

The trail was pretty good and signed like crazy. Thankfully, I had a map that showed each intersection. There's no way anyone would be able to find their way through the Anacortes Community Forest Lands (ACFL) without such a map. The trail climbed quickly, but that was actually a little good thinks the kids had shorter distances to fall when they inevitably did face plants. Henry was quickly moved from his feet to the pack for the second time in three hikes. (Saturday was on Dege Peak and he was in the pack for most of that trip, but he walked all the way to Turtle Rock on the Twin Falls trail.)

Every once in a while we'd hear jets scream overhead. Most were military craft from the naval air station, I suppose, but there were a ton of other, small planes, too. For Lilly it was near heaven except she couldn't see each and every one of them.

We got to one small view, but pushing higher opened up even more and we had great views of the small islands stretching away into the distance. We had lunch at the top (yes, a second lunch) and annoyed a young couple looking for some peace and quiet. (They wisely moved on, but never fear, we'd intrude upon their quietude on our way out, too.)

On the way down we tried to hustle, but the loop I had planned wound up being a bit steeper on the descent and the trail was relatively torn up by motorcycles, though we never saw any of them.

When we got back to the car (woo hoo! We survived!) it was late. I got voicemail from Amy and she was just leaving Anacortes, too. We tried to hook up, but after a Taco Time disaster (nothing special, just Henry bolting into the parking lot, me running over Lilly, and the loss of a lemonade ) we rolled into North Bend about half an hour after Amy. We just had time to get baths, kisses, and put the kids to bed.

Sugarloaf isn't anything super special and not worth a drive so far north, but if you're in the area (even as far south as Grandma Joan's house) it's worth bringing your boots.

Total distance: 2.1 miles and 971 feet of gain.

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