We were privileged enough to be invited to the wedding of two of our favorite people here in Seattle. They were married at Deception Pass State Park and invited guests to camp at Bowman Bay Campground both Friday and Saturday nights. We had never been to this part of the state and probably never would’ve gone, given the size and popularity of the area. We generally look for more privacy and quiet when camping on the weekends. But, this was the perfect campground for a large group. The park is a “4,134-acre marine and camping park with 77,000 feet of saltwater shoreline, and 33,900 feet of freshwater shoreline on three lakes” according to the website.

This was by far the largest campground we had ever been to, the park has over 300 sites that range from tent to utility spaces to hiker/biker sites. This was also the first campground we have stayed at in the state of Washington that had restrooms and shower facilities. The campground we stayed at, Bowman Bay, has only 20 sites, 18 tent sites and 2 utility sites. While the campground does provide a spectacular view of Bowman Bay it also lacks vegetative screening between many sites. We could see neighbors on either side of us. Though, I think this campground is used more often by families and groups rather than those seeking seclusion.

With more than 38 miles of hiking trails within the park as well as equine and bicycle trails, and what seems to be endless shoreline, this park has something for everybody.

We had left home around 9:00 a.m. on Friday and drove the two hours to the campground. We had made a couple of stops along the way, one to a spectacular and very reasonably priced fruit stand and the other was for lunch at a small restaurant in the town just before we arrived at the state park.

Amazing fruit stand!

Amazing fruit stand!

A little lunch at a crappy cafe before heading to the campground

A little lunch at a crappy cafe before heading to the campground

We hadn’t read the directions given to us by the bride and groom very well and had, unknowingly, passed by the campground we were meant to stay in. Instead we went to the main entrance of the park where the other campgrounds were located.

Waiting in line to drive in the main entrance of Deception Pass State Park

Waiting in line to drive in the main entrance of Deception Pass State Park

We knew something was wrong when the campsite number we had been assigned beforehand didn’t exist in the campgrounds we were passing and brought up the email sent to us by our hosts and soon realized we were in the completely wrong spot. We didn’t mind, seeing that it gave us the opportunity to drive over the famous Deception Pass bridge and take in the glorious view that it afforded of the area. We arrived at the campground a bit after 12:00 and the site that was to be ours for the weekend was still occupied by the previous users.

A statue commemorating the work of the Conservation Corps workers who helped in the construction of so many of the state parks facilities.

A statue commemorating the work of the Conservation Corps workers who helped in the construction of so many of the state parks facilities.

We decided to stretch our legs by walking to Lighthouse Point located about a mile from where we left our car.

Walking to Lighthouse Point

Walking to Lighthouse Point

We reached the isthmus and were greeted not only by spectacular views but by familiar faces. Some of the wedding group had camped the previous night and were out for a midday hike. We decided to continue along up the trail for awhile and see what we could see. After getting lost on some misleading social trails we did find a spectacular view point of the bridge and the area.

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We took Latigo's good doggie friend Beth along on our short hike

We took Latigo’s good doggie friend Beth along on our short hike

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Deception Pass Bridge

Deception Pass Bridge

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Odd fungus we encountered on our hike

Odd fungus we encountered on our hike

We went back to the campground and began greeting and meeting old and new friends alike.

Latigo and Beth getting a drink after the hike

Latigo and Beth getting a drink after the hike

Latigo meets Elska the Icelandic Sheep Dog

Latigo meets Elska the Icelandic Sheep Dog

Meeting some new friends before the Friday night party

Meeting some new friends before the Friday night party

Latigo and Elska relaxing

Latigo and Elska relaxing

Latigo, Beth, and Maura watching the wedding rehearsal.

Latigo, Beth, and Maura watching the wedding rehearsal.

Making snacks during the rehearsal

Making snacks during the rehearsal

Our original plans for the weekend had included climbing at nearby Mount Eerie and hiking around the park. But, you know what they say about the best laid plans… Instead we were far too busy socializing with the thirty or so people who were camping with the group. Bobby was able to hike to the bridge with a group to watch the sunset, while I remained in the campsite to dole out the gear we had brought for many campers who were coming in from other states and needed gear to get by for the night.

We had to bring all our gear to provide for those that needed it

We had to bring all our gear to provide for those that needed it

All that gear made for one full car

All that gear made for one full car

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The wedding was held the following day just outside a shelter in the sunshine with the sound of the waves lapping at the sandy beach a few hundred feet away. We sat on picnic tables and blankets in a circle around the bride and groom as they exchanged vows and rings. Many other visitors to the park gathered nearby to watch the beautiful union of these two remarkable people.

The beautiful couple

The beautiful couple

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A social hour was held at the picnic shelter followed by a mass migration to the town of Anacrotes about 20 minutes away where the reception would be held at a local inn. There were five dogs at the wedding that all enjoyed the endless pets and admiration they received from the guests. During the reception they were forced to remain in the cars but with a cool evening and the sun setting as we arrived they were perfectly content to snooze away after a long and exciting day among so many admirers. Not to mention the steady stream of people checking on them at regular intervals.

 

Beth spent her time chilling out in the front seat

Beth spent her time chilling out in the front seat

Latigo kept to his bed

Latigo kept to his bed

Wedding dogs out for a walk

Wedding dogs out for a walk mid-recpetion

Following the reception we made our way back to the campground for another night under the stars.

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We had plans of hiking that day before heading back to the city but we were exhausted after such a busy weekend and opted to simply drive home while listening to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, our radio program of choice for our weekend excursions into the mountains.

Overall, this was the perfect weekend with friends to celebrate and honor such a wonderful couple. I would recommend camping at Deception Pass for families or large groups. The convenience of bathrooms and showers was exceptionally nice but it was too busy for the outdoor experience we are usually in search of on the weekends.

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About the author


I am the youngest of six daughters and spent my childhood vacations camping in the beautiful State Parks of MN. In 2009 I married my best friend, Bobby Marko. We have embarked on numerous adventures along with our Golden Retriever, Latigo, our son, Jack (born 7/26/2014) and our daughter, Rowan (born 10/25/2016). When not adventuring in the great outdoors I spend my time as a stay at home mom and volunteer. I am a Branch Lead for the Twin Cities Hike it Baby branch. My favorite pastimes include dog training, eating chocolate, reading mysteries and crappy romance novels, and creating paper crafts, my passion lies in writing.

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