Washington

Washington: Day 11

Lime Kiln LighthouseI met my fellow guests over a delicious homemade breakfast the next morning.  Our host outdid himself with egg and cheese soufflé and homemade sourdough wheat bread.  Yummy.  I met a couple from Colorado celebrating their 30th anniversary.  We hit it off immediately.  He was a bird-watcher, she was an IT bigwig who spoke Web.  We talked for nearly an hour before they went wandering and I headed off to investigate spooky spots and see if I could spot orcas at the only whale watching park in the USA. 

After spending an hour purusing sculpture at the local sculpture garden, I found myself in Roche Harbor with its haunted hotel, and talked ghosts with a local kayaking guide who sat at the next table at the local diner where I ordered a picnic lunch.  He guided me to a creepy local mausoleum, which I promised to visit the next day.  Then I went to visit the English camp, which was one of two historical parks on the island.  Now, I’ve heard of exciting wars in my time, but this was the first time I’d heard of two nations going head to head over  a pig.  Yep, that’s right..  English camp on the north of the island and American camp on the south were there because of a pig.  In the Pig War, a Hudson Bay employee shot a pig who had gotten into his vegetable patch.  Apparently, the pig was a British citizen (okay, his owner was) and the resulting contretemps following the pig shooting brought both governments into the picture.  They decided it was time once and for all to determine who actually owned Oregon territory.  It took 10 years for a decision to come down from an outside (and supposedly impartial) source.  San Juan Island – and most of Oregon territory -- belonged to the USA.  Vancouver Island belonged to England.  And thus ended a ten-year war in which the only casualty was a pig. 

Haunted MausoleumI spent a lovely few hours hiking in the whale watching park.  Though no whales were spotted, I did discover a lighthouse and Deadman Cove.  With a name like that, I was expecting a story of pirates.  But the real story was just as interesting.  Back in the days when smugglers brought illegal goods to the island from Canada, they also brought illegal immigrants.  The local authorities delivered a slap on the wrist for contraband, but the took sterner measures when they found immigrants aboard ship.  So some of the more unscrupulous captains dumped the immigrants overboard if they thought they were going to be boarded – regardless of whether or not they could swim.  And where did the bodies usually wash up?  You guessed it.

I finished up a day with a hike to the creepy mausoleum, which was way back in the woods by itself and was full of Masonic symbols and a round table with chairs at it – one chair for each member of the family (and the ashes of the family member buried under the chair) so that the family was once again united after death.  I confess that the whole scene made me uneasy – though no ghosts appeared at the round table while I was present!   

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