Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hill Road South of Coupeville

On returning from ventures on the Olympic Peninsula via the Port Townsend to Keystone Ferry I often take a slight detour from the more direct route. I turn off of the main road, Engle Road, onto Hill Road. Hill Road turns into a narrow lane that follows the top edge of the shoreline bluff through wind blown old Douglas firs. 

The views open up to the west as well as curving coast line.

The road follows the coastal curve and then descends to the beach.

The beach has a parking area and trails or a beach walk can be taken to continue along the coast. The sandy prairie slope has cactus. The combination of exposure, low rain and exceeding well drained soils has evolved into a mini ecosystem.

The road switches back up to the top of the bluff and heads through perhaps the oldest farmland in Washington State.  Deep black silty soils that formed initially as a tidal bay with glacial ice just to the north during the last glacial period retreat.

First Nations peoples utilized this rick soil for camas production. Evdence of burning to maintain the prairie suggests farm land use for over 2,000 years. Early Euro Americans began farming these fields very early in the American settlement of the area.  

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