Rebels By Bus

Slow Travel With Low Carbon Footprint

Twanoh State Park on Hood Canal

 When Mary and Gail told me about their Rebels-By-Bus trips, I decided to try a trip of my own. It seemed to me a day at Twanoh State Park on Hood Canal would be a good start for an apprentice rebel.

–Graeme Sackrison

Twanoh State Park

Although the day was overcast, it was pleasant to be out and about. The park is divided by Hwy 106. The beach side features a swimming beach, a wading pool, oyster gathering, clamming in season, fishing, a boat launch, picnic areas and tennis courts. The park buildings, including snack bar, restrooms, kitchens and bathhouse, all date from the 1930s. They were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC); a stimulus program from the Great Depression. They’re worth examining—real pieces of our economic history. Among the trees, Evergreen Huckleberries showed off bronze new growth and white blossoms. The grass was dotted with yellow and white flowers.

 Across the highway, the upland side has campgrounds and trails. One trail follows a stream that empties onto the beach. As I walked along that trail, I saw trees growing from nurse logs, Devil’s Club taller than I am, blooming Thimbleberry and Salmonberry, huge Skunk Cabbage plants, moss draped trees and ferns of all sorts. A squirrel raised a ruckus when I passed by its snag. More information about the park is available at www.stateparks.com/twanoh.html .

Bus Routes and Fares

Note: these bus times are for Monday to Friday travel.

 Home in Lacey to Olympia Transit Center—Fare: $1:00

About 6:25am, I boarded the Intercity Transit (IT) #64 northbound on College Street just a couple of blocks from my house. I felt a guilty pleasure since I was off on a bus adventure and the rest of the riders were going to work and school. Arrived at the Olympia Transit Center with plenty of time to meet the Mason Transit (MTA) #6 to Shelton.

 MTA #6 to Shelton—Fare: $1.50

This #6 leaves for Shelton at 7:15am. For the most part, this is a suburban and freeway ride. In mid-May the palette of greens is punctuated with bright splashes of yellow Scotch Broom. A pleasant and quick trip in a clean bus. The trip ends at the Shelton Civic Center.

 NOTE: Since this trip, I learned you can take the 9:10am MTA #6 from the Olympia Transit Center. It arrives in Shelton at 10:00am. If you tell the operator you have to make the 10:00am MTA #2 to Belfair, they’ll call ahead to ensure you make the connection.

 Shelton

The MTA #6 I took arrived at the Civic Center at 8:10am. The MTA #2 leaves for Twanoh State Park and Belfair at 10:00am. That meant about two hours to kill. I started with a good breakfast at Blondie’s. It’s a block north of the Civic Center on Railroad Avenue and a good place to linger over coffee with a newspaper or book. Railroad Avenue has quite a few antique and second-hand stores for early morning window shopping.

 NOTE: After breakfast I made a most important call to MTA Customer Service (360-427-5033) to arrange to be picked up by the 3:20pm MTA #2 from Belfair. They’ll take your name, address, birth date and contact phone to log the pick-up in their system. Nice folks.

 MTA#2 to Twanoh State Park Fare: Free

The smaller 16-passenger bus leaves the Civic Center at 10:00am. This route heads northwest through suburbs into the country. Lots of green in the Spring. Snow capped Olympic Mountains in the distance. Valley farms. As the Skokomish River moves toward Hood Canal, you can see tidal streams and sloughs. An eagle on a snag. Blue Herons looking for brunch. Outside Union you can see the Dalby Water Wheel on the right—a memory from childhood trips, although it was moved when the highway was changed. You can learn more at www.dalbywaterwheel.org .

 The operator dropped me off at the Twanoh State Park boat launch at 10:45am.

  Returning Home: MTA #2 to Shelton—Fare: Free

From the boat launch, I walked up to the road about 3:25pm, as instructed by MTA Customer Service. The bus picked me up at about 3:35pm—right on time. When we stopped at the Union bus stop, the operator asked me if I knew about the Traveler. When I answered in the negative, she pointed out the rock formation on Mount Washington, across Hood Canal. Check out www.visitunion.com .We pulled into the Shelton Civic Center at 4:30pm.

 MTA#6 to Olympia—Fare: $1.50

The reverse of the morning trip.

 IT #64 to Home—Fare: $1.00

Again, the reverse of the morning trip. Coming and going, the IT buses were clean, on time and the operators friendly. Home before 6:30pm.

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