The week of May 16th through 20th was very busy. After two days traveling to Oregon and the Columbia River gorge, I left again Wednesday afternoon on a camping trip with some young adults. We headed for Whidbey Island where we planned to camp and visit Forts Ebey, Casey and Worden on both sides of the Straits of San Juan de Fuca, on Whidbey Island and on the Olympic Peninsula.
Forts Casey and Worden along with Fort Flagler were built in the late 1800's to protect the straits and the city of Seattle to the south. These forts were deactivated in the 1930's but reopened, refurbished and rearmed at the beginning of World War II. They are now all beautiful state parks. Fort Ebey was built during World War II and is now also a state park.
We camped in Fort Ebey State Park on a bluff overlooking the San Juan Straits and the Olympic Mountains to the west. We could also see Mount Rainier to the south from our campsite. The weather was the best we've had yet this year and the trip was a great success, busy but relaxing, and we had plenty of time to explore the area and the three forts we had come to see.
The first fort we visited was Fort Ebey, built during World War II, which is mostly underground and difficult to photograph, but in the area around the fort we watched some paragliders working the currents off the bluffs just before the sun went down. The next day we visited the "beach" and explored the bluffs near the beach to the north of the fort itself.
Fort Casey is the most interesting of the forts and we spent several hours there, both at the fort and down on the shore, as well as at the Admiralty Head Lighthouse which is just to the north of the fort and now operated as a museum. Fort Casey is the only fort which has some of its guns though they are not the original ordnance, but guns brought in from the Philippines after Word War II.
Near Fort Casey there was an abundance of a rare Paintbrush, the Golden Paintbrush, Castilleja levisecta, which was protected by a fence but which I was able to photograph from outside the fence. We also found a "boat" with an address on it which a schoolchild had released near Tacoma and which had made its way north as far as Fort Casey.
After taking the ferry across from Fort Casey we visited Port Townsend and Fort Worden and saw both the fort itself and the battery down on the beach, Battery Kinzie. I also took the time to walk down to the Point Wilson lighthouse on the shore and take some photos there. These forts are wonderful places for photography with many opportunities for unusual pictures
The group campsite we used is a great place to watch the shipping in the straits and we had opportunity to see more of it when we took the ferry across the straits to Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula and Fort Worden to the north of the town. Among the vessels was the USS Shoup, a guided missile destroyer, but most were freighters or pleasure boats.