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Originally published Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Walkabout

Enjoy peaceful offseason at Point No Point

Talk a walk on trails or along the beach at Puget Sound landmark Point No Point.

Special to The Seattle Times

Location: Hansville, Kitsap Peninsula

Length: Several miles of trails include a forest trail and about a mile or so of beach. Time your visit for low tide for maximum beach access.

Level of difficulty: Gently sloping sandy beach and level dirt/gravel forest trail (at the top of dozens of steps).

Setting: At the northeastern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula near the junction of Admiralty Inlet and Puget Sound, this park is tranquil in the offseason and popular with birdwatchers. On clear days, you can see Mount Baker and Mount Rainier. The 1879 Point No Point Light Station located here (automated in 1977) is considered the oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound. The U.S. Lighthouse Society, which has its headquarters here in the lightkeepers' duplex, rents out the other half as a vacation rental. Most people walk along the gray sand beach, but behind the lighthouse is a trail between the beach and the adjacent marsh, flanked by wild roses, that leads to the base of a hill. Climb the very long stretch of stairs to the top and follow the trail away from the point into a forest of good-sized conifers.

Highlights: Native Americans called the spit Hahd-skus, meaning "long nose." In 1841, American explorer Charles Wilkes, who found the spit to be much less substantial than he had expected, named it Point No Point. The following decade, the 1855 Point No Point treaty was signed here between Territorial Gov. Isaac Stevens and leaders of the S'Klallam, Skokomish and Chimakum tribes. The treaty transferred ownership of the land from the crest of the Olympic Mountains to Puget Sound to the United States (note the monument near the parking lot).

Facilities: Portable toilets.

Restrictions: Leash and scoop laws in effect; no pets on beach.

Directions: From Highway 104 two miles west of Kingston, take Hansville Road 7.5 miles north, turn right on Point No Point Road, and follow to the end. To park at the southern end of the forest trail, turn right off Hansville Road onto Gust Halvor Road, turn left on Thors Road Northeast, and park in the parking area.

For more information: 360-337-5350 or www.kitsapgov.com. Lighthouse open, with tours, from April through September from noon to 4 p.m. on weekends (http://pointnopointlighthouse.com or www.lighthousefriends.com).

Renton-based freelancer Cathy McDonald, a former geologist, has written about science and nature travel for 20 years. She's currently a travel guidebook editor at Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door. Contact her: nwwriter@hotmail.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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