The “Unusual” Skunk Bay Lighthouse

Skunk Bay Lighthouse

Skunk Bay Lighthouse seems to have had an unusual beginning, unlike the main reason lighthouses are constructed. It was not originally built out of the needs of a dangerous area as an aid to navigation. Instead it was built by a local maritime author, and a former lighthouse keeper, Jim Gibbs, seemingly for personal use and as a memorial light.

Skunk Bay Lighthouse

As my husband and I drove north on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State passing the nearby Point no Point Lighthouse and the town of Hansville, we knew we were looking for a lighthouse that is privately owned and that we would not be able to go into and tour, but we would just be able to view it. Driving down Twin Spits Road, at first we could not find Skunk Bay Lighthouse, but then we realized it must be the place which had the red, white, and blue Coast Guard sign out in front of it, even though the sign contained no words.

Skunk Bay Lighthouse

In 1965, using plans based on the Mukilteo Lighthouse (where my husband and I were married!), Jim Gibbs constructed the Skunk Bay Lighthouse using the lantern room from the Smith Island Lighthouse before it eroded. Jim Gibbs also used a real Fresnel lens.

My husband and I parked our car off the side of the road, and walked right up to the fence where there was a “No Trespassing; Private Property; Admission Beyond This Point by Permission Only” sign. We managed to take some photos from various angles as we peered over the fence. Through the bushes, we were able to see part of the Skunk Bay Lighthouse.

Skunk Bay Lighthouse

Originally only for personal use, Mr. Gibbs would occasionally flash the light for brief instances. But one night he turned on the light for a friend who was guiding a cargo vessel, but then forgot to turn it off. The next morning, the Coast Guard paid a visit to Mr. Gibbs and the lighthouse due to complaints of an unauthorized beacon.

After a lighthouse inspection (which was typical back in the days before lighthouses were automated), Mr. Gibbs was told to either leave the light off or he could operate it under Coast Guard rules and regulations for private aids to navigation. Mr. Gibbs passed inspection and the Skunk Bay Lighthouse became fully operational.

Skunk Bay Lighthouse

Since 1971, the Skunk Bay Lighthouse has been owned by a group of people known as the Skunk Bay Lighthouse Association, and is now a private time-share. They did some remodeling, adding more rooms to the house, making the room from the original lighthouse into a kitchen.

As my husband and I peered over the fence and took our pictures, we really hoped that someone might be around to give us permission for admission and let us in so we could look inside Skunk Bay Lighthouse. But alas, that did not happen.

Sweet Travels!

Disclaimer: Due to the limited information about Skunk Bay Lighthouse, much of this blog is paraphrased from Lighthouse Friends-Skunk Bay, WA.

Information also from:
Northwest Maritime Heritage-Skunk Bay Lighthouse
Lighthouses of the United States: Washington

Today’s Ediz Hook Lighthouse

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

This summer my husband and I went on a sort of “treasure hunt” to try to find several lighthouses in Washington State that are not quite like the typical lighthouse one thinks of when thinking of a lighthouse. This first one, Ediz Hook Lighthouse, is currently located in a residential area of Port Angeles as a private home, and having its light tower removed, looks like a normal house if you did not know it used to be a dwelling for a lighthouse.

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

This dwelling, along with its octagonal shaped light tower, was originally located on the three-and-a-half-mile sand spit, Ediz Hook, which protects Port Angeles Harbor. The tower was completed in 1908, and the dwelling was added in 1909. Today you can see the engraving of 1908 on the front door.

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

Going back in history, located at the far end of Ediz Hook, the original way the sand spit was protected by a “lighthouse” was that “driftwood was burned atop a tripod by private enterprise as early as 1861 to provide light for navigation.”

Prior to the 1908/1909 lighthouse and dwelling, but replacing the burning driftwood, the first lighthouse located on Ediz Hook “resembled a country schoolhouse, consisting of a two-story dwelling with a short, square tower protruding from one end of its pitched roof. A fixed, fifth-order Fresnel lens…was first shown from the lantern room on April 2, 1865.”

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

This original lighthouse was in use for over four decades until the 1908/1909 replacement became necessary, as over time the original lighthouse and dwelling was in need of repairs, but was replaced instead.

The original 1865 lighthouse was torn down years later in 1939. In 1946 a modern beacon on top of a control tower at the Coast Guard Air Station located at the end of Ediz Hook replaced the 1908/1909 lighthouse and dwelling. After seeing nearly four decades of use, the 1909 dwelling was sold and relocated to its current location as a private residence.

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

My husband and I drove down to near the end of Ediz Hook spit, which has a well-established road as well some industries, where the Coast Guard Air Station is located to see if we could see the modern beacon, but we could not get into the property as the area is secured from visitors. Today, there are also beaches and the Ediz Hook Reservation for Native Birds on the spit.

Located on the corner of Albert and Fourth Streets in Port Angeles we were, however, able to take pictures of today’s Ediz Hook Lighthouse dwelling from the outside of the fence. I happened to notice when I took a picture of the front door that there is a lighthouse etched in glass in the window next to the door!

Ediz Hook Lighthouse

Sweet Travels!

Quotes and information for this blog from Lighthouse Friends-Ediz Hook, where you can also view historical pictures on this website.

My Travel Guide to the South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path Scenery

They say that with all the cumulative elevation gain, walking the entire 630 miles of the South West Coast Path in England is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest four times! That’s approximately 115,000 feet elevation gain total! Earlier this year, my husband and I walked 100 of those miles. That’s a cumulative elevation gain of 19,000 feet!

Of course without the snow, ice, glaciers, crevasses, altitude, oxygen tanks, climbing ropes, cold, or Sherpas of Mount Everest, summarizing all the blogs I have written about our 19,000 feet of elevation gain, I present “My Travel Guide to the South West Coast Path,” including links to all my previous blogs.

South West Coast Path Scenery

The beautiful scenery. Each foot of the South West Coast Path alternates between the ups and downs of the high cliffs and low valleys, the quaint villages and relaxing beaches. You constantly view the vast sky and the Atlantic Ocean or English Channel, and the wildflowers, plants and farmland. Each and every foot of the scenery is beautiful.

South West Coast Path Fishing Villages

The fishing villages. Including the seas, the fish, the boats, the sailors, the fisherman, and the coastguards, the fishing villages are part of what the South West Coast Path is all about. According to the South West Coast Path Association, historically the Path was “originally created by coastguards, patrolling the south west peninsula looking for smugglers. The Path has also been used by fisherman looking for shoals of fish and checking the sea conditions.” Today you can eat fresh fish caught by the fisherman from some of these fishing villages.

St Anthonys Lighthouse South West Coast Path

The lighthouses. Also part of what the South West Coast Path is all about is the lighthouses, used to keep those at sea as safe as possible. In our 100 miles, we saw nine lighthouses, including a few harbour lights, sometimes from a distance, sometimes up close, other times through the fog, and even taking a tour. In the entire 630 miles, I believe that there are no less than 15 lighthouses, and perhaps even more.

St Winwaloe Church Gunwalloe South West Coast Path

The churches. Seeing nine historical, spiritual, peaceful churches along our 100 miles of the Path, I experienced a mix of emotions. One such emotion was feeling the significance of another part of what the South West Coast Path is all about as I read memorials to those who unfortunately lost their lives at sea. The older art and architecture of the interior and exterior of each church always fascinates me, as well as the modern embroidery of kneeling pillows, with images of the villages, lighthouses, and churches of the Path itself. And messages of world peace. There must be countless churches to see in all 630 miles of the South West Coast Path.

South West Coast Path

The senses. Listening to the sounds of the oceans and waves, the birds chirping, the whisper of the wind in trees. Seeing the vibrant colors of the wildflowers, the varying hues of blue skies and waters. Smelling the salty sea air, and even the fish. All these senses allowed me to experience a calming walking meditation along the South West Coast Path.

south west coast path welcome sign

Seeing and doing fun things. (Aside from walking all day every day.) Some random photos of our journey included when we needed to summon a ferry by changing a sign from blue to yellow. Seeing old sundial clocks from various churches. And feeling welcome with signs such as, “Walkers, Muddy Boots & Dogs Welcome.” (Even though we didn’t have a dog with us.)

South West Coast Path Lizard Point Most Southerly Gift Shop

Visiting landmarks. We were able to visit two landmarks that are not only significant on the Path, but also in all of England. The most westerly point in England, Land’s End. And the most southerly point in England, Lizard Point on the Lizard Peninsula. Even in the fog.

South West Coast Path Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors. My favorite subject to photograph when I travel is windows and doors. Turns out I appropriately took pictures mostly of nautical themes in the windows and doors on our 100 miles – boats and ships, fishing and sailors, beaches and shells, toy pails and shovels, anchors and buoys, crab pots and lobsters and turtles, and lighthouses. All which are representative of what the South West Coast Path is all about. Even some humorous words of wisdom were displayed in some windows and doors such as, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and you can get rid of him for the entire weekend.”

South West Coast Path Scenery Sign

Directional acorns and arrows. Following various aids to navigation for walking the Path, the National Trail symbol of the acorn, and colored arrows, including the yellow arrow which indicates a path for use by walkers, helped us find our way. Of course, we also used guide books, booklets, and maps. But if there is a discrepancy, the “Complete Guide to the South West Coast Path” advises, “follow any such directions on the ground rather than relying on literature – things change over time, even including the route of the South West Coast Path, literature can become out-of-date.”

a brush with the coast sasha harding

Three inspiring books. Two humorous books by men, “The Man Who Hated Walking” by Overend Watts, and “500 Mile Walkies” by Mark Wallington (even though he probably actually did the entire 630 miles), were two of the three inspiring books about walking the entire 630-mile South West Coast Path that I read. The third and the most inspirational book was created by a woman who walked the entire path solo (well, with her dog). Sasha Harding’s book, “A Brush With The Coast,” is filled with her heart-felt writing and her adorable drawings.

I hope you enjoyed “My Travel Guide to the South West Coast Path,” including links to all my previous blogs, based on our 100 miles of walking and our 19,000 feet of elevation gain!

Sweet Travels!

Here are some links to more of “My Travel Guides”:
My Travel Guide to the Camino de Santiago
My Travel Guide to the Cotswolds
My Travel Guide to Île d’Orléans – Québec City

Three Inspiring Books about Walking the Entire 630-Mile South West Coast Path

a brush with the coast sasha harding

“After ten days of walking I could really feel the impact of what I was doing. Apart from the daily ups and downs of emotions there was an undercurrent of deep happiness. I felt that this was a natural thing for me to be doing: walking all day, every day. In fact, it felt more natural than sitting at an easel, or driving, or shopping or anything. The walk had become my be-all-and-end-all. My fitness was still questionable, and my big toe was still numb, but my mind had never felt clearer.” – Artist and Author Sasha Harding

a brush with the coast sasha hardingA Brush With The Coast, An Artist’s Search for Inspiration along the South West Coast Path” is my inspiration. Sasha Harding, the artist and author of this 220-page book with over 300 delightful drawings, is a woman who walked the entire 630-mile South West Coast Path in about 7 weeks – solo. Well, with her dog, Jess, actually. And once in a while with a friend, a family member, or someone she met along the way. But by-and-large, walking the majority of the Path by herself, (just with Jess)!

Not only is Sasha’s story, as a woman walking solo on the entire Path inspiring to me as a woman, her journey and experiences are written with heart-felt personal emotions, honesty, and humor. She shares the challenges and the triumphs she faces. She introduces the people she meets. She expresses her deepening friendship with her dog, and her lifetime love of the ocean, and even fishing. Her adjective-filled descriptions of the landscape, including the land and the seas, take you along the Path with her. And mostly, it is her adorable, playful, child-like, simple yet elegant drawings and illustrations that all paint an inspiring picture to me of the South West Coast Path.

a brush with the coast sasha harding

In preparation for the 100-mile walk that my husband I did on this Path back in May, I read three inspiring books about walking the entire 630-mile South West Coast Path. They are only three books I could find about walking the entire Path. While Sasha Harding’s was the most inspirational to me, two other books, written by men, were full of humor, great stories, and also painted a picture of what walking the entire Path is all about.

the man who hated walking overend watts south west coast pathThe Man Who Hated Walking,” (yes that is the title of the book), is written by Overend Watts, a founding member of the English rock band of the 1070’s, Mott the Hoople. Overend has a sarcastic, humorous way of describing his journey, as someone who never walked before and was out of shape, and basically complained just about the entire time. But after this walk, he was transformed into someone who has since then completed many other long-distance walks including, but not necessarily limited to, The Pembrokeshire Coast Path (186 miles), Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path (93 miles), Hadrian’s Wall three times (73 miles each), Wainright’s Coast to Coast Path (190 miles), and the 1,250 mile walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 63 days which covers the entire length of Great Britain from its southwest to its northeast corners. Now that is inspiring! And while Overend Watts did not walk with his dog, his Tilley hat became a favorite, and apparently he continued to walk with it.

500 mile walkies mark wallington south west coast path500 Mile Walkies” is written by a man who also walked with his dog. Well it actually wasn’t his dog, but a borrowed one from a friend. Yes, a borrowed dog. Reading Mark Wallington’s book actually inspired Sasha Harding to go on her journey. Mark writes with much humor as well, and apparently he originally did the walk “to impress a girl [he] met at a party.” Well, after he completed the walk, he realized what his motives really were: “…To know the name of the gulls with the black backs and the flower whose first two syllables were poly…to teach myself how to put up a YHA tent…to try all the flavours of Heinz soup except for Lentil…to write a top-ten-best-selling-hit-pop-song” (maybe he should talk to Overend Watts)…to see how long a pair of socks has to be worn before they take root (ewwww!)…[concluding that]…the walk had been a complete personal success.” Inspiring!?! Yes, in its own way.

I actually wondered though why Mark Wallington walked only 500 miles, so my curiosity led me to ask the SWCP Association who told me that he really must have walked the entire 630 miles. It was just that back when he did the walk, sometime in the 1980’s, they didn’t have modern GPS to really know how long the Path was, so there was a sign at the beginning of the walk indicating that it was…500 miles. (Now aren’t you singing the song, “But I will walk 500 miles, and I will walk 500 more…”?) (Not sung by Mott the Hoople, but by The Proclaimers. And probably not written about the South West Coast Path.) (And if you weren’t singing it before, you probably are singing it now.)

Anyway, here are a few more adorable inspiring drawings and another quote from Sasha Harding after one of her walking days.

a brush with the coast sasha harding

“This is what life is all about, and this is what makes this walk such an amazing experience. Here I am…having walked 10 miles. I am as chilled as I can be and feel incredibly lucky to be having this experience. I have no worries, no responsibilities, nothing but the now. This is food for the soul and I am a very, very lucky soul.” – Artist and Author Sasha Harding

a brush with the coast sasha hardingSweet Travels!

(Disclaimer: While I do know Sasha Harding, having met her during our walk, this blog is completely my own, including the opinions, and my choice of links to her website. I originally purchased her book, and I will not receive any compensation for the sale of her book from this blog.)

Kneeling Pillows from the Churches of the South West Coast Path

south west coast path kneeling pillowsOne of my favorite kneeling pillows from the churches of the South West Coast Path is embroidered with the great message above.

Other favorite keeling pillows reflect the small villages and their churches that you walk through and visit along the 630-mile path in the south west corner of England, like these of Zennor and St. Wynwallow.

south west coast path kneeling pillows

south west coast path kneeling pillows

Some kneeling pillows from the churches of the South West Coast Path represent what the Path is all about… the oceans and seas and water, beaches and waves and sand, cliffs and views and nature, boats and… lighthouses.

south west coast path kneeling pillows

south west coast path kneeling pillows

Sweet Travels!

Here is a link to another blog that I have done on the kneeling pillows in the churches of the Cotswolds area of England.