Monday, March 3, 2014

Exploring Fort Worden State Park

Fort Worden State Park near Port Townsend, WA
Since we're border collies from the burbs of the Pacific Northwest, less than ideal weather conditions don't stop us from having a hiking adventure.  So we set out on a Saturday morning in February in rain mixed with snow to check out the trails at Fort Worden State Park.  Since Washington State law requires that dogs be on leash in the state parks, we had to stay on leash for this trip.

Map of Fort Worden State Park
First we stopped by the visitor center to check out the map of the park - there are over 12 miles of looping hiking trails within the 434 acre park.  For a close-up of the map with more details, here is the link to a Fort Worden State Park Map

Forest Trail in Fort Worden State Park
Along with a small group of human and canine buddies, we set out on one of the trails that loops through a forested area.

Chinese Gardens Area
Past the area called the Chinese Gardens because at one time a farm was located there that was owned by a Chinese family.

Fort Warden Gun Batteries
And on to an area of old bunkers and gun batteries.  If you've never been to Fort Worden, but it looks faintly familiar, perhaps you saw the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman" which was largely filmed at Fort Worden.

An interpretive sign that showed the original layout of the bunkers and batteries.

 The back of the bunkers and gun batteries.

Point Wilson Lighthouse

Fort Worden is also home to the Point Wilson Lighthouse which is rumored to be haunted.  If you are interested in more details about the paranormal stories, visit my page about the The Haunted Point Wilson Lighthouse

Alexander's Castle
Another structure at Fort Warden that has an interesting history is Alexander's Castle.  The story is that a Scotsman by the name of John Alexander came to Washington and in 1883 acquired 10 acres of land near Point Wilson. He built a home designed to look like a castle to please his bride-to-be who remained in Scotland until he was settled and then would return for her.  He made the trip back to Scotland to marry and retrieve his bride only to discover she had married someone else so he returned to his castle alone.

Fort Worden Officer's Quarters
Completing the loop around the park we passed the former officer's quarters which now can be rented out for overnight stays at the park.

The old barracks have been converted to a variety of uses including the park headquarters and the Coast Artillary Museum.