In olden days of yore, in the summers of my youth, I (Jason) led my younger cousins and siblings on an overnight hikes around Camano Island. Some lazy afternoon in July, having packed backpacks and bags with supplies – chili, pineapple, canteens, hammer and nail for making a raft, and sleeping bags for sleeping – we would head out. We’d walk down the hill from our home to Sunnyshore Beach. From there we hiked past Tillicum Beach and Tyee Beach. Being past the reaches of civilization, we set about to build a raft. (Note: the picture below is not a raft built on one of our epic hikes, but it gives you a picture of the rafts we used to build. On this raft is, from left to right, myself, my friends Steve Sieverson and John Kandel and my brother Jed).

After a few hours of toil, a raft would be built of large logs held together by planks washed up on the beach. We would load our camping supplies and ourselves onto the raft, and using long poles, push our way towards the south end. 

After a few hours of exertion, having traveled a few hundred yards and being quite pleased with ourselves, we would find a secluded cove to disembark and wish our raft adieu. We would then hoof it to our goal, Point Allen on the south end of the Island, we would make a fire out of driftwood, heat up chili, feast on pineapples, and, as the late dark fell, try to sleep and keep dry amidst the driftwood as the dew fell, the tide rose and ebbed, and waves lapped a few feet from the pebbles on which we laid our head.

The sun which even then rose from the east, awakened us around 5:00am. With nothing else to do, and after a quick breakfast of PB & J sandwiches and lukewarm canteen water, we trudged on. The lady folk among us always signed off at “Montana Beach,” the comforts of home being so enticing. (Note: you won’t see it on the map. It was named “Montana Beach” by my great grandmother who lived in a cottage about it for many years. She named it after their ranch on Lake Sewell, near Helena, MT. By the time of our journeys, my uncle Robert, aunt Sandy, and two cousins lived there). 

One time two cousins and I continued on, half asleep, around the l o n g curve of Elger Bay, past the State Park and all the way to Sandy Beach.

Why am I writing all this?

Well, my daughter Jackie and I had planned a three week road trip along from San Diego to Seattle. However, due to Covid-19, we had to change our plans. I suggested, why not an epic four day hike around Camano. After all, this old soldier isn’t ready to put away his sword quit yet. So Jackie and I have scheduled the most epic of all hikes around Camano, the whole of Camano, all 52 miles of beach. A feat that no one, as far as I know, has attained. 

I am inviting any old cousins – even the older cousins who were not willing to stoop to the games of children – to join. Also, nephew and nieces, and extended family to join us. We are also inviting our Redeemer Redmond youth group to jump on the pilgrimage. On this hike I can only promise blood, sweat, toil and tears. I expect that the travelers will be hungry, sleepy, irritated, perhaps even mutinous. But isn’t that what makes all the great adventures so great in the tales told years later? 

We will depart from Sunnyshore Studio on Saturday, June 27, Depart from Sunnyshore Studio, approximately 8:00am Island time. We hope to return to the Studio before midnight, Tuesday, June 30.

If you live along the route on the beach, or on a cliff about the beach, and would be willing to provide a few morsels to our company, that would be a kindness beyond description. And if you have even a place where we could lay our weary heads and sleep, and would provide that shelter, you too will be written in the annals of THE GREAT CAMANO HIKE OF 2020.


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