JENNIFER JACKSON’S PORT TOWNSEND NEIGHBOR COLUMN: Trail walk to reveal scenic secrets

TWIN ISLANDS. PICNIC Point. Ward’s Walk. Hidden Cove.

To people who live in Port Ludlow, these names are familiar because they are either on, or visible from, one of the many walking trails in the community.

But because the trail system is not public but owned and maintained by Port Ludlow residents for their use, the sites are not on the radar of the general public.

On Saturday, however, nonresidents will have the chance to walk the lower trails by participating in the third annual Port Ludlow Walk-a-Thon.

A benefit for Seattle Children’s Hospital, the event offers guided walks to a number of scenic spots that aren’t visible from the road.

‘Never heard of’

SDLqMany people have never heard of these places,” said Dion Watson, a Port Ludlow resident.

Watson is president of the Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Port Ludlow Guild, which is putting on the fundraiser, and also a guide for the walk.

The other guide is Dan Darrow, an avid hiker who helps maintain the trail system.

But hiking experience is not necessary for Saturday’s routes; both are rated easy.

One option is a 2.5-mile walk that starts with a half-mile loop that goes through the woods to a gazebo on a hill overlooking Ludlow Cove and the Twin Islands.

Trail notes suggest looking for slits in large trees where loggers inserted boards that served as platforms for cross-cut sawing.

Then, the route will follow the ABT (Around the Bay Trail) around Ludlow Cove to another gazebo at Picnic Point.

After last Wednesday’s Guild meeting, Watson gave a preview of the view from the point and the route the walkers will take around the cove to get there.

Trail walk

The trail is above the beach except for short sections, and the walk is timed to coincide with a minus tide that morning. The forecast for Saturday: sunny and 73 degrees.

“If it’s a day like today, it’s going to be beautiful,” Watson said.

The other option is a 4.5-mile walk that will hit all the highlights except the hilltop gazebo and may include that if people wish it, Watson said.

Otherwise, the group will follow Ward’s Walk, named in memory of a local resident named Ward Lawler, to the ABT, go around Ludlow Cove to Picnic Point, then take a newly developed trail segment around Hidden Cove, which is not accessible by any other means, Watson said.

It will continue on a forested trail to the Ludlow Falls Interpretive Trail, a loop that includes interpretive signs, a native plant garden, easy sets of stairs to a viewpoint of Ludlow Falls, then crosses a large wooden bridge over Ludlow Creek.

The Walk-a-Thon is a good introduction to the trails system for new residents, according to Marie Cable, a guild member for three years, or for those who have not ventured off the beaten path.

Guild member Susie Baldwin, who lives on Marrowstone Island, said she and spouse Ken Baldwin have done the walk for the past two years and have signed up for the third.

“It changes every year,” Baldwin said. “Every year, it’s a different route.”

Donation, raffle

Those who can’t do the walk but want to support the cause can make a donation or buy $1 tickets for a raffle, with winners drawn the morning of the walk.

First prize is a night at The Inn at Port Ludlow for two, plus brunch and a round of golf.

Other prizes are gift certificates from Central Market, QFC, Walmart, Hadlock Building Supply, the Ajax Cafe, Scampi and Halibuts restaurant and Ludlow Bay Massage, plus a gift basket from Starbucks.

So far, guild member Elma Beary is the raffle queen, having sold the most tickets in one day: $188.

Members credit Beary’s success to her sales pitch — “How many tickets can I tear off for you?” — as people pass a table set up outside the Hadlock QFC.

“With Elma there, everyone going into the store is getting a hug and 10 tickets,” Watson said.

Karen Hashagen, however, has the best story: During Port Ludlow’s Festival by the Bay, she sold a raffle ticket to an airplane pilot who flew children from Anchorage, Alaska, to Seattle for treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The walk-a-thon raises money to cover uncompensated care for children from Jefferson County who receive medical service there.

“We don’t have to travel as far,” Hashagen said.

Guild members are also selling entertainment booklets for $20 that contain discount tickets for restaurants and businesses.

Using the coupons for QFC alone pays for the price, guild members said.

They also have donated 100 stuffed animals to the hospital this year and are planning to make drawstring fabric bags to hold “Beads of Courage” that young patients earn for going through treatments.

Guilds

In 2010, the guilds in Jefferson County raised $69,831 for Seattle Children’s Hospital, according to the organization’s fact sheet.

The Port Ludlow Walk-a-Thon is Saturday, starting and ending at the Port Ludlow Bay Club parking lot.

Meet trail guides at 8:30 a.m.; the walk starts at 9 a.m. Registration is $20 before Saturday and $25 the day of event.

Registration forms are available this week at the Port Ludlow Bay Club, Port Ludlow Beach Club and the guild’s booth at the Port Ludlow Friday Market.

Groups of 10 or more who register together get a discounted rate of $10 per person.

For more information, phone Dion Watson at 360-437-0216 or Sally Hirschmann at 360-437-1377.

The walk is BYOW — bring your own water — but the views are all-inclusive.

________

Jennifer Jackson writes about Port Townsend and Jefferson County every Wednesday. To contact her with items for this column, phone 360-379-5688 or email jjackson@olypen.com.

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