Living here on the Kitsap Peninsula means a couple of things. The seafood is fresh. In the winter, Vitamin D supplements are an imperative. And, in the summer months, we seize the opportunity to get outside and make the most of those precious few sunny days before the clouds show back up.
It’s that last one that I will be looking to tackle with a series called “Trips on a Tank.”
The plan is to fill up the tank of a 2001 Ford Ranger and see what treasures can be reached around the area before the fuel gauge hits the halfway mark and I’m forced to turn back for home.
Tank one: Dungeness County Park, Dungeness Wildlife Refuge – Sequim, Clallam County
After topping off my tank at the Gliding Eagle Market on Little Boston Road in Kingston I set out for a place familiar to myself, but perhaps not so familiar to new arrivals to the area or those visiting from out of town.
It always comes as a surprise when someone says they haven’t heard of the Dungeness Spit, a uniquely thin strip of sand that juts out into the Salish Sea. Perhaps once folks get west of the Hood Canal Bridge, the siren’s call of Olympic National Park becomes just too loud.
The Dungeness County Park features two camping loops for folks who want to brew up their morning coffee in front of what is undoubtedly one of the most commanding views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca the area has to offer. Try to shoot for the northwestern-facing campsites, if you can, for the best views.
The key feature of the park, aside from its vantage from the bluff, is its walking trail, which leads directly to the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge. Open from 7 a.m. to 30 minutes before sunset, just $3 gets visitors the opportunity to hike the 5 miles down the spit to the New Dungeness Lighthouse. The trip is an easy one for able-bodied folks, just so long as you catch a 6-foot tide or lower. Any higher than 6 feet and hikers can be pushed up onto the driftwood and rocks, making the trip considerably longer and more difficult but not impossible.
After hiking the spit, there’s a good chance you’ll have worked up quite an appetite, and for that, Blondie’s Plate in Sequim is going to be your next go-to spot.
Located in a former Episcopalian church on 2nd Avenue, Blondie’s Plate is a hard one to miss and features fresh, local seafood and other contemporary Northwest cuisine sure to please even the most pretentious of wannabe gourmands. This spot is going to be a bit higher-end than your average roadside greasy spoon, but believe me, it’s well worth it if you’re into seafood. Hitting Blondie’s during their happy hour between 4 and 5 p.m. will also get you $3 off certain menu items, good for folks looking to sample a couple of items.
Once you’ve adequately filled your metaphorical fuel tank, it’s time to turn back before your literal fuel tank starts getting close to the halfway mark. Not that you’ll come anywhere close to hitting the halfway mark on this trip. I only managed to use up about three gallons of gas getting there and back, which cost a whopping $11.61.
For most, the trip would likely be even cheaper though, seeing as I managed to forego any planning for my little excursion and I incurred some considerable wait times in traffic thanks to Sequim’s Lavender Festival. Despite the wait, the trip was undoubtedly worth it. If you find yourself fortunate enough to catch the Dungeness Spit on a sunny day, you will certainly be treated to a memorable view, one which I believe is well worth the cost of getting there.