When I was a child my family had an annual picnic at Deception Pass State Park with the families of several of my father’s colleagues. We always met at Rosario Beach and occupied a large area with several picnic tables. We ate hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad (my mom’s was the best) and drank soda; typical picnic fare for the 1960s. There were at least a dozen kids between the families and we were able to run freely; we studied the marine life in the tide pools, invented games, waded into the freezing waters of Puget Sound and ran on the trails. My brother, Kirk, and the other boys always jumped out of the bushes and scared us girls as we hiked to the bluff; what is it with older brothers wanting to scare their younger sisters? Later in the day we would pile haphazardly into the various cars and head to the home of one of the families. There, the adults would play cards and drink cocktails while the kids continued playing until we dropped from exhaustion.
My sister Nancy has this to share about our times there: As you are looking at the bay with the tide pools you could hike up the hill to the right, that was the easiest to take. But if you went to the left you could hike on a steeper and rockier trail. The one to the left was my favorite because of the views. I remember hiking with Kirk, he really liked it there. The tide pools were lots of fun and I remember Mom always taking a change of clothes for Kirk because he always got so wet! What I remember most is the fun we had as a family.
Fast forward 55 years and the park still looks the same. My husband and I went there last weekend. We took the trail in the center to the bluff and found a quiet spot under a tree for a picnic.
Our picnic fare of hummus, goat cheese, olives and clams, was quite different than what we had in the 60s.
I love the gnarly trees.
There is much more activity on the water now. In the 60s there were just a few row boats and some pleasure boats anchored in the bay. Today, however, you’ll see kayaks, jet skis, paddle boards, and the usual pleasure boats.
My husband and I came down the steep, rocky trail that Nancy mentioned and realized that we’re getting too old for steep trails; I pulled a muscle and my husband twisted his knee.
Rosario Beach hasn’t changed much over the years; the totem pole is still there, and a few of the original picnic shelters. But some things do change over time, our parents and brother have passed away, but Nancy and I will always have fond memories of this beautiful place and of the time we spent there as youngsters.