TOP O' THE MORN: Goose Rock is island's pinnacle

Goose Rock has always been a challenge to North Whidbey youth. Long before the bridge was built, and long before there was a broad path leading to its summit, it was an exciting day’s outing to take a rowboat from the old dock at the head of Cornet Bay and row across the the rock. One tied the boat to something sturdy to keep an errant tide from floating the boat away and having to fight the brush for more than a mile back to the road.

The climb was uphill at 45 degrees plus on solid rock from which sprouted the usual hardy bushes and trees.

But the climb was worth every minute of effort. The Straits of Jan de Fuca stretch to the west with Smith Island, Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands strung out like huge pearls. The Olympic Mountains guard the southern horizon, and if one should be at the top at sunset, there is a view not to be surpassed.

The sun trails her misty skirts into the blue-shadowed waters. Dark shapes of close-in islands stand out in relief, and as night falls, the lights of the city of Victoria twinkle.

Today one can climb the rock from the bridge side, eliminating two-thirds of the hazards and distance of climbing from Cornet Bay. The path is wide, steeply uphill, and unheeding tourists and unfortunately, Islanders, leave their mark in candy wrappers, pop cans and cigarette butts.

However, it is still an experience. And if one climbs on a weekday, one can have the whole view. Far from the harassment of life, the summite of Goose Rock gives a spot to quietly think, meditate and drink in the glory of the Northwest.

Dorothy Neil has been writing and recording Whidbey Island history for more than 50 years. This column is from her archives.

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