When we go to Washington, the Puget Sound is a must. It is five minutes away, it is swarming with adventure, and it is free. We have been there before. Here, here, and even here. This time we were smart enough to check the tides so we could go at low tide and explore for creatures.
Almost every single rock we turned over had something underneath. Crabs would scurry for cover, and the girls would ooh with delight. Tyler got the first catch of the day.
Other years when the kids were smaller, they didn't seem to enjoy the rocky beach. But everyone seemed to enjoy themselves this time.
We found hoards of crabs, lots of limpets, plenty of hermit crabs, and some anemones. Look there is one right there in the middle. (p.s. I just realized that I have been saying anemone wrong my entire life. Awesome.)
Tyler caught some smaller crabs to see if the girls would hold them. Ivory was brave. Daisy and Pearl just watched for a bit.
It only took June a few minutes to get her crab-catching skill back to full capacity. She was wrangling the critters in no time.
Here's quite a catch. (And I'm not talking about the crab.)
The Sound was beautiful and calm that morning. I think it is a very relaxing place.
Even though we already had breakfast, looks like Tyler was still hungry. They don't get much fresher than that.
Ivory was happy searching for shells. It was actually hard to find a spiral shell without a resident inside. But Ivory found this little one.
Robyn was hesitant at first. You could tell that she really wanted to catch a crab, but she was nervous. I told her it just takes some bravery and patience. She had both. This was her first catch.
Once she mastered that, there was no stopping her. Ah...cute sisters and their pets.
I think everyone is comparing to see who caught the largest crab. (They were all about the same size.)
I worked hard to catch the smallest baby crab of all. Imagine one half this size.
And Daisy and Pearl were happy to hold a minuscule version. (No pictures because I was helping them.)
Then we always hike out through the greenery. I love the trails through the woods.
We wanted to squish some coins with the kids, but no trains were on the tracks that day. Well, there was a train, (you can see him back there) but he was stopped on the tracks. Amazingly, when we started looking around, we found half a dozen pre-squished coins among the rocks. It is easy to lose track of them when they flip off the track, and we were the lucky finders.
I've mentioned in passing several times that I almost died on this track. I figure I'd better tell this story sometime. It has a lot of meaning to me. That picture above is almost exactly where it happened. I was 14 or 15. My friends and I decided to squish some coins on the track. As mentioned earlier, they flip off when a train smashes them, and you have to watch carefully to retrieve them. Kara and Brett (my friends) stood on the rocks on one side, but I wanted more room, so I went across and stood on the second set of tracks to watch my coin.
The train zoomed by, and I saw where my coin landed and mentally marked it so I could find it later. Then I just stupidly stood on the tracks. The noise from the train passing obscured the noise of the second train approaching. Even the shrill blast of the train horn did not penetrate to my brain that another train was coming. I was absolutely clueless. Kara and Brett told me later that they were jumping and screaming trying to get my attention to tell me to get off the tracks, but I couldn't hear them because of all the noise.
I stood watching the train, and I slowly started to back off the track; not because I was aware of any danger, but simply because my feet took me that way. I had only taken a few steps off the track, when the second train rushed by with such force that it pushed my body back onto the hill behind. I remember gasping at the rush of air, and realizing how foolish I was to not have watched for a second train. What would Kara and Brett have done if I had been obliterated by the train? What was the train conductor thinking as he couldn't slow down the train in time? I can't believe I almost just died!
I personally think that angels slowly pushed me off the track. I like to think it was my kids, watching over me. Of course, I can not know in this life if it was divine intervention or crazy lucky coincidence, but either way, I feel extremely blessed to have survived that day. And you'd better believe that I am super cautious around train tracks now.
So the Sound is a beautiful place for discovery and exploration, but to me, it is also a place to reflect on what a blessing life is.