Friday, October 12, 2012

Port Townsend Tour: Day 5 Fort Flagler State Park to Fort Worden State Park

Away from the lights and sounds of the city the woods at night become very dark and are usually very quiet. So when we hear the crunching in the darkness Christine and I are both quickly wide awake. "What do you think it is?" she asks me. I confess that I don't know. "It sounds like an animal munching something," she theorizes. Our food is all packed away in the bag in the tree (I hope) but I grab my headlamp, pull on my shoes and tell her I will investigate.

The sound is clearer the instant I leave the tent, it's rain. It has been dry for weeks, dry enough that Christine and I have basically forgotten what a light rainfall sounds like. And what it sounds like, in the dark, in the woods, is very much like the sound a raccoon would make as it consumes a bag of potato chips. There's no raccoon here and our food bag is still safe and sound, high but not quite dry in a tree.

It's damp in the morning and raining lightly. Christine and I layer on our rain gear, eat breakfast, break camp, pack up and head toward Port Townsend.

We ride off the islands, and into Irondale and then follow the Irondale Road, SR-19 and SR-20 northward.

A few miles south of Port Townsend we turn onto the quiet and scenic Larry Scott Memorial Trail which takes us into town.

We stop to restock our groceries for a couple of days at the Safeway and get a copy of the excellent Port Townsend Walking and Biking Map from the local Visitor Center.

Years ago I wrote a description of Port Townsend that I still think is a fair summation of the town:

Port Townsend is a place whose past is not quite past, whose present is not quite now and whose residents proudly proclaim that "we're all here because we're not all there." It's a town where hippies have become capitalists to survive, where the guy who fixes your manure spreader has sculptures for sale in SoHo, where the old fort serves as a movie set and where the waitress at the diner may live in a Victorian mansion or a tin shack back in the woods. It's a place that's a little hard to get to, a little hard to explain, damn hard to leave and even harder to live in. If it was closer to Seattle and not protected by twisty roads, long bridges, flakey ferry service and the sulphurous scent of a working paper mill, the town would be overrun with tourists every day instead of just every weekend.

It's the town where we're going to spend a couple of days. And yes, this is the Friday of the Port Townsend Film Festival so Christine and I are two more tourists in a town packed with tourists. But we have enough local knowledge to zig when the crowd zags and we're not planning on going to any of the movies so things work out fine.

We do stop by and see Bob and Marilyn at Bob's Bikes. Bob half-jokingly threatens to put me to work so we stash the bikes at his place and retreat to Sweet Laurette for lunch.

After lunch we retrieve our bikes and roll up and over the big ridge in town to Fort Worden State Park.

We book a hiker/biker site at Fort Worden for 2 nights. This will serve as our base of operations for the next couple of days.

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