Orcas Island Weekend

Orcas Island Weekend

I had wanted to leave Seattle by noon, but had to wait for my husband to be ready. He was at work and needed me to pick him up. He was starving, so we popped off the highway and drove to Lake City (about 2-3 miles) to get fried chicken from Ezells. Eating as we drove, we arrived in Anacortes only to learn that we were on stand-by for the next ferry at 3:35pm. Dammit! If we hadn’t stopped for chicken, we would have been on the earlier ferry! Of course stand-by didn’t mean a damn thing, other than we missed the next ferry by about eight cars. Plus, all the ferries were running late and that one didn’t leave until around 4:10pm. The next ferry wasn’t until 6:45, so we had an even longer wait. William grumbled about having to sit so long in the car. I swear, I don’t know why I bother taking him with me when I camp. He whines like a child or is grumpy!

Important rule of thumb: arrive at the ferry terminal at least two hours ahead of the ferry you want to take during the summer and holiday weekends.

We finally got on the ferry after 7pm and got under way. The ferry trip is roughly an hour. We stretched our legs, then went back to the car to rest a bit. Once we made it to Orcas Island, we had about a 20 minute drive to reach Moran State Park, which was on the other end of the island. Orcas is chaped like a horseshoe, which means we headed north before heading back south.

I had a reservation for site 11 in the South Campground. I was amazed at how big our campsite was at Moran! These sites were set up only for tent camping, so there were no RVs. Plus, it was pretty quiet compared to other places I’ve camped. All camp sites had space to park two cars, which was another unusual thing. Our particular site could have fit two large tents between the parking spaces and the picnic table, plus could have had another large tent on the other side of the table. The site also edged up to the gorgeous lake.

We set up camp quickly and just finished when it got dark and a lantern had to be lit. William attempted to start a campfire while I made dinner of sausages and potato salad. No luck with the campfire since we had no starter log or kindling.

After dinner, we sat around for a little bit, enjoying the quiet and nature sounds. It was around 11pm when we crawled into our sleeping bags. Of course, that was the time someone’s baby starting crying (sound like one under 6 months old).

I woke up around 5:45am with some urgency for the bathroom. That meant fumbling for shoes and walking across the road with pastey eyes. Though it was light and the birds had been singing since 4am, I crawled back into my sleeping bag, determined to sleep longer. I finally got up around 7am. I asked William if he wanted breakfast and he mumbled a “not yet”, so I left him sleep while I made myself something to eat. More importantly, I wanted/needed coffee, so I put water on to boil while I changed into some clothes. With a full belly and caffeine in my system, decided to dig up some quarters and take a shower to wake myself up a bit more. The water was nice and hot and cost me $1.00 for six minutes. Afterward, I set off to explore some trails close to the camp. I didn’t venture too far, though, because I wanted to save my knees for the hike to Cascade Falls once William was up. So, I headed back to camp and decided to get a few more winks of sleep since William made no signs of stirring any time soon.

I woke back up at 9am and prodded William to get up. I told him I was going to run into Eastsound to pick up some fire starters, a can opener, and a few other things while he made himself breakfast. He was just sitting down to eat when I returned (my husband, he does move slow in the mornings).

Once William was done eating and had made himself some tea, we drove part-way up Mount Constitution and parked at the trailhead of Cascade Falls. The hike was only a 1/4 mile to get there. The falls aren’t the greatest I’ve seen, but quite lovely with its 70′ drop. On the way back to the car, we took a wrong turn and hiked at least another 1/4 mile before figuring it out and turning back around. So, a 1/2 mile round trip turned into about a mile. It doesn’t sound like much, but with my bad knees, it’s a lot. You see, I have no cartilage left in either knee, so it’s pretty much bone grating against another bone.

Next, we continued up to the top of Mount Constitution for a great view of the surrounding islands. Though the forecast didn’t predict any rain, it started to sprinkle while we were up there and the temperature dropped a bit. I grumbled because we were to go kayaking later in the afternoon and didn’t relish doing it in cold, wet weather.

We had just enough time to eat lunch before our kayaking tour, so we headed to the Cafe Olga for a bite.

 

 

I have gone kayaking exactly two times before and both were on a lake in Seattle. This afternoon, I was going to do some sea kayaking. William would be with me and the only time he’s gone before, the rudder broke while in a cut of water with steep concrete sides and fast boats zooming by us. The experience had him very apprehensive, but he wanted to please me and agreed to give it another try.

After receiving our safety instructions and donning our kayak “skirt” and life preserver, it was time to get into the kayak…not an easy task for two over-weight people. William was first. He was told to straddle the kayak from behind the seat/hole, then slide his legs into the hole. The kayak rocked and he lost his balance, landing on his back on the wet, pebble-encrusted shore. He finally managed to get ino the kayak after the guide head it steady. The kayak was then slide back so that it was half in the water and it was my turn to get in the front seat/hole. I had a bit better result. We secured our kayak skirts to prevent water from getting in, but the back of mine kept coming loose. Just as well since having it attached made me lean back and would have resulted in a bad back ache. It’s important to had straight posture when kayaking and I was able to do that as long as the skirt wasn’t fastened in the back. I didn’t mind if I got a little wet.

We were off for a three-hour adventure. I know I have lots of stamina in my arms, but had never paddled for three hours before.  If anything, my arms could use the exercise since they have become weak and needed strengthening.

The coast line was really pretty as we paddled. The water was choppy in some places, but it wasn’t that much harder than paddling on a lake. The guide knew where strong currents were and we either avoided them or used them to our advantage.

Near Point Lawrence, we paddled in close to the extremely high cliffs and discovered anemones and purple starfish. I had my camera in a water tight case, so I stuck it under the water and managed to get a pretty decent shot of the startfish (in spite of not being able to see what I was pointing the camera at and having the press controls through thick plastic).

Three hours later, we’re back at Doe Bay. I had more trouble getting out of the hole than getting in! The guide tried to help me, but my butt barely fit through the hole to begin with, so that combined with my weight, it wasn’t happening. Luckily, I was able to pull first one let, then the other, out of the hole and straddle the kayak. With rubbering legs, I made it up on shore (I was glad I wore my water shoes).

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