Walking Festival offers exercise, Whidbey scenery

There will be a three-day Whidbey Walking Festival Sept. 7-9 with five routes starting at Camp Casey in Coupeville.

“The purpose of our club is to encourage people to walk,” Sue Payton, trail master for the NW Tulip Trekker club said.

“It’s fun and walking can lead to a healthier lifestyle.”

The walks start 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, and finish by 5 p.m.; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m Saturday, and finish by 5 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to noon Sunday, and finish by 3 p.m.

The headquarters and registration is at Camp Casey, where walkers can pick up walking and driving directions to the starting points.

The first walk route option is “Coast to Coast,” a 6- or 11-km walk.

The 11-km walk goes from the historic Coupeville waterfront, on the east side of Whidbey Island, to the majestic bluffs overlooking Puget Sound and Admiralty Inlet on the west side.

The walk is on paved and dirt paths and along country roads through Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

Walkers will be able to view expansive prairie farmlands, Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Port Townsend and beyond.

The 6-km walk is from Coupeville to the outskirts of town for a view of prairie farmland before returning to town.

The “Historic Fort Casey/Admiralty Inlet” walk runs at 5 km or 10 km.

“Walk by historic military gun batteries and support buildings in Camp Casey and Fort Casey State Park. Bring a flashlight to explore the gun batteries,” the event brochure states.

“Walk past the vintage Admiralty Head Lighthouse, Coupeville Keystone Ferry Terminal, old growth forest and rare prairie lands, panoramic views of Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, Port Townsend and the Olympic Mountains.”

The “Bowman Bay” walk is 5 km or 10 km and goes on the north side of the Deception Pass Bridge.

Walkers can enjoy views of the San Juan Islands, Bowman and Lottie Bays, Deception Pass Bridge and Puget Sound.

The “South Whidbey-Freeland” walk is also either 5 km or 10 km. Walkers can pass through old growth forests saved from bulldozers by tree-hugging citizens in the 1970s.

Participants will pass Holmes Harbor and view the east side of Whidbey Island, Cascade Mountains, the latest construction project at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, pass historic Freeland Hall, restaurants, antique storesand take a short trail through a wooded marshland.

The “Port Townsend” walk is offered by the Olympic Peninsula Explorers Volkssport Club and involves a ferry ride across Puget Sound to the historic seaport of Port Townsend.

The walk runs through Port Townsend.

There will be two socials, on Friday there will be a free “meet and greet” at Camp Casey from 4-5:30 p.m. and on Saturday there will be a free bratwurst lunch at Camp Casey from 12-2 p.m. and a “Sunset Social walk and Smores by the beach” at Camp Casey at 7 p.m.

The Coupeville Lions Club will host a Native American-style Salmon BBQ for $20 on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m at the Coupeville Town Park.

All proceeds benefit the club’s service projects.

The Town of Coupeville will sponsor a free concert Sunday in the park also.

Payton said there’s been about 30 volunteers organizing the event and about 120 people who have pre-registered to participate.

Last time the event was held, about 250 showed up, she said. This year is the eighth time the event has been held.

“If people would like to join us and learn more about what we do,” Payton said, “We’d love to have them.”

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