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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tidy Tidy Tidy

Well if cleaning the beach was not enough, I met up with some folks to clean a local park. 

It was my intention to visit Sharpe Park on Fidalgo Island.  I had not been to this area before and my friend Ron told me of its open balds and some of the plants he found there.  Thinking about what else I might fine there I looked at the Geocaching map and saw that there was an event called a "CITO  ~ Cache In Trash Out".  CITO are organized as part social and part service events.  Meet and chat then set out into the territory to clean up.  This day of sprinkles and dreary weather drew in about 15 friendly members and one parks ranger.

We set off in all directions.  My intention was to clean for the two hours then return to areas I did not visit on my sweep through the park.

It was quickly evident that this park was either little visited or well attended by other groups.  I was hard pressed to find trash of any kind.  My final haul was barely half a bag.  In it was a pop can, a beer bottle, a baseball hat and some varied bits of plastic paper and foil.  When I returned to meet up with the group, others found the park pretty free of litter and spent their time with the ranger clearing bits of brush and branch that invade the trails.  I was about the only one who found any trash worth speaking of.  I guess you can say we tidied up rather than cleaned.  It all fit in the trash barrel, no semi-truck needed like at the beach.

One of the members who is a cactus hobbyist brought us cold hearty cactus to take if we like.  Here we have some of our very local Opunta fraqgilis ( brittle prickly pear )cactus.  They are found on a very small stretch of Whidbey Island at Ebby Landing,  just south of here. These are fine looking cactus.  The ones I've seen in the wild look like a string of little potatoes.  Larger classic pad cactus were also a choice.  I took a single pad cactus.  J.P. said they should do just fine outside in our chilly winter weather.

Heading out again I visited the large bald to the south end of the park and took time to enjoy and photograph.  All over the trails Calypso orchids were in bloom.  There is something in the ecology of Fidalgo and Whidbey Island that these flowers love. 

Where there are calypso there are often Fawn Lily.  Not many were here but I was astonished by the robust size of those that were.  Never have I seen such large flowers and strong color.

This park has a little marsh in its center.  Not something I have found in other parks along this rocky strip of land.  This day the Marsh Wrens were chattering away.  I was disappointed that I was not able to capture one close at had, they are great photography subjects.  This fellow is up on the cattail chattering his heart out.

On the north bluff the land gave way to a sheer cliff-face and I was thrilled that two Pigeon Guillemots were feeding close in.  Those red legs and feet turn this from a black and white bird into quite a showstopper.

The woods on the north half of the park were filled with rock faces and ledges covered in mosses.  Succulents ferns orchids and lily love these areas.  I need to be sure to return earlier in the Spring next year to see what bounty is there

The southern half of the park is more woodsy.  There are many small narrow trails and I always enjoy the adventure of meandering around twisty trails, newly blazed.  Some of these trails go up slopes and make use of the roots of the trees themselves to form a staircase.  You can see there is not much soil covering the rocks.

The moss and ferns love this rock-face.

Once at the top of the balds you get great views out to the Salish Sea and the islands and islets of the San Juans.

The slope of grasses and mosses supports a whole new group of flowers, much like the south slope of Washington Park.  Here the Camas was just coming to bloom

What a fine way to spend a sprinkly morning.  I found a new place to enjoy and envy those who live so close and can enjoy its solitude.  On the way out I noted that a garbage can shows that this park has been adopted by a Starbucks store.  Store 468 is in Puyallup, quite a distance from here.  I assumed that it was the local store in Anacortes.  Perhaps they all work together to help make this lovely little place


  1. That sounds like a lovely day - and I'm always impressed when I find an area not swimming in litter. Most of the parks I've been to in that area have been very clean. Thanks for the photos of the wildflowers. I had no idea there were cold hardy cactus around - very interesting.

  2. The nature up there is just magnificent. And what a nice day you got for your cleaning efforts.

  3. Wonderful photos of a wonderful place. I'm probably going back there Monday. Love the place.