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Camano Island State Park was designated as a park in 1949 and in one day it was developed by nearly 900 volunteers. The park is 134 acres and has over a mile (1.6 km) of rocky beaches littered with driftwood.
Visitors have built driftwood forts and picnicking at one of the more than 100 picknick benches is popular. I found that walking along the beach was both beautiful and somewhat difficult since the beach is very rocky. High cliffs make the shoreline very scenic and many birds use the area for nesting.
The park is open form 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. in summer, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in winter.
Written Jun 24, 2007
What are those funny little critters on that farm?! They look like baby llamas! Como se llama? Those would be alpacas, known to knitters everywhere. These short, cute, Patagonian relatives of the llama are apparently in high demand as pets.
Unexpectedly, our simple getaway to the beach had connected us with faraway Patagonia. This farm and it's mother farm in Punta Arenas, Chile represent the work of a couple who have dedicated their lives to raising alpacas for the pet trade. It turns out that a $1200 alpaca requires only about 1/2 an acre, eats grass, doesn't bark and can be left alone while you're on vacation. Compared to a designer dog this sounds like a pretty good deal. But of course you'd miss out on all the face licking, trash eating and back yard digging that make a dog like Lucky so loveable. ;-)
In any case, no trip to Camano Island would be complete without at least a stop to view the alpacas. Next time we go to Camano we're going to visit the farm. Their web site says that visitors are welcome but you might want to call first. They were shearing the day we drove by.
Updated Jul 22, 2005
Water, sand cliffs, rocks, clams, driftwood -- we must be on the shores of Puget Sound. Beach play is the main reason to come to Camano in the first place. So get on down to Camano Island State Park and let the child within have free reign for a few hours.
(To see the entire Camano coastline from the air check out these shoreline photos.)
Updated Jul 22, 2005
Stanwood is the only town of any size in the vicinity of Camano Island and it is here that you will find a pleasant historical museum situated in an old Victorian house. The museum is only open Wednesdays and Sundays from 1-4 and Fridays from 10-4 but is worth a stop if you're passing through. This is the only place you're likely to get a dose of history during your visit.
We were given a short tour of the first floor of the D.O. Pearson house and then left to our own devices in the rooms upstairs. The museum has an assorted collection of donated items, largely from the early 1900s. I was charmed by the old Victrola with it's phonograph cylinders. (When was the last time you picked up one of those?) The kids were taken with the collection of doll houses on the third floor. A separate building houses a collection of period photographs and material for genealogical research. All in all, it was a nice little reminder of how far we've come in the last hundred years.
Updated Jul 22, 2005
The 'obvious' way to Camano Island from Seattle is to take I-5 north to exit 212 and then head west on Route 532 to Stanwood. But you'd miss some lovely countryside if you only did what was 'obvious'.
Instead, say goodbye to I-5 a little earlier at exit 208 and take the Pioneer Highway through Silvana and the lower Stillaguamish Valley. The Pioneer Highway skirts around the north side of these rich bottom lands or you can turn west on Norman road to drive right through this lovely farm country. For me, the vacation starts when I get onto the back roads.
Written Jul 30, 2005
The Elger Bay Grocery is really just the grocery attached to an Exxon station. Like many other quick-stop groceries it has an ATM and various sorts of junk food. But, as the only store in the southern half of Camano, it also has a good collection of the basics along with fishing and camping supplies. And with pony rides for only 25 cents it's a guaranteed favorite with any little ones you may have in tow.
Written Jul 21, 2005
Address: 1992 S Elger Bay Rd
If you're driving along the Pioneer Highway you'll see the sign for the "Little White Church on the Hill" just after you cross the Stillaguamish river. It's just off the road and is as pretty a church as you'll see in rural Washington.
Built by Norwegian pioneer families in 1890, it is a perfect example of Norwegian religious architecture in Washington State. This church is still used for weddings and weekend services in the summer by Peace Lutheran in Silvana.
Updated Jul 30, 2005
Favorite thing: When you're down at the beach be sure to walk over to the sand cliff and take a closer look at the layers that are visible. Just above the cobble and dirt is a layer of pure sand. Not sandstone, just sand. Immediately above that lie several layers of 'glacial till' -- that mix of sand and small rocks that retreating glaciers left throughout Puget Sound 10,000 years ago.
What's interesting here is that you have unconsolidated sand above the high water line -- evidence that Camano Island has been uplifted by several feet in relatively recent times. Of the several faults known to exist in western Washington, evidence like this demonstrates how the Seattle fault lifts the land north of Seattle up while submerging points to the south.
Written Aug 5, 2005