As I write this, on Saturday evening January 10, 2009, the flood waters are receding everywhere in our region and things may actually be trying to get back to normal. We have had record issues with both rain and snow in the last months weather. Both are unlikely Washington weather patterns. It usually rains. Not a lot or a little, just steady. Hence there is damage everywhere and though the roads and even the passes are opening back up now or soon, you are advised by this writer and by the department of transportation to travel with caution and to expect delays.
My husband and I, having been cooped up for a while and/or busy with work, were beyond ready to get out and explore yesterday, but we did choose to stay closer to home than originally planned to avoid the issues and delays. Remember we live in Gig Harbor now which is across the Narrows Bridge from Tacoma. We had less flooding on our side of the Sound and it was easier to travel. So we chose Penrose State Park, not even very far from home to go and explore.
Penrose is a waterfront state park, on the tip of one of the many peninsulas on the sound. There is a stark beauty to Washington in winter, and Penrose embodies that. We were happily surprised to find a well outlined trail area there that was, other than a stretch of about 10-12 feet, not under water. We walked the entire park, and had a picnic of some small snacks we brought, (there is nothing by way of a store or vending area for several miles here so you have to bring your own), on the waterfront off of G (if you go you will see it on the map). Our dog was able to come with us for this trip and for the most part, as a note, you can bring your dog with leash and scoop to most of the state parks in Washington. This is also a wonderful place to Kayak, and in the summer it is open for camping, too! It took several hours of good hiking around to get over the whole park with picnic included.
On our way home a wonderful purple sign on the side of the road beckoned to us, and we were drawn in. It was the sign for Trillium Creek a local winery, using holistic methods to grow, harvest, and process grapes into wine!!! And wouldn’t you know they sister with Estella Homemade Cheeses!!! (You have to understand that this was like heaven for me!) We sampled cheese and wine while being educated by Claudia and Claude (the creators of this oasis) about everything past present and future about wine. And yes there is a difference between store bought wine and cheese and the real thing. You must make this trip! It is like going to see friends! You will feel warmed and welcomed and wined and dined all at the same time.
All in all this was a short trip from the Tacoma area, only about 30 minutes, there was no fee to use the park although I recommend you leave a dollar or two in the donation box, and it was absolutely beautiful and practically empty. And then of course there was cheese and wine. It was like a perfect day!
( A note to the reader: This is a re-post from 2009. It is associated with the post Trillium Creek Winery, which was picked up by a magazine and printed. See the post for a link to the actual magazine article. Also you should know that the policy on park fees has changed for the entire state of Washington. Most parks now require a pass of some kind or another. Check out http://www.parks.wa.gov/ for more information.)