Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Weekend Excursion: San Juan Island

It's hard not to feel incredibly thankful when a friend offers you a weekend in their family cabin on the water's edge on San Juan Island.  Without a doubt, the San Juan Islands are some of the most beautiful natural area of the country, and San Juan itself is a jewel in that crown.  From Seattle you drive north to the ferry that takes you and your car on a two hour trip past picturesque islands and coastline, and drops you off in a quaint village of Friday Harbor.  From Friday Harbor, with a car and your feet, the island is yours.

We stayed in a cabin with a wall-sized window overlooking Canada across the water.  The back of the house had stairs that led right down to the shore.  Somewhere in the water, below the surface, is a microphone, and you can tune into that microphone's feed on the internet.  You can listen for whale song, and when you hear whale song you can sit on your porch with a pair of binoculars and a coffee and watch for the whales to breach the surface.  We didn't hear or see any whales this time, but it fills me with joy to know that such a thing exists.

Beats the crap out of Sea World, that's for sure.

San Juan is covered with national parks, through and past which winding roads circle the coast.  It just so happened that I was there during the government shutdown, so all the parks were closed.  I'll try not to get too political but let's just say I hold a certain non-Democrat party responsible for that bit of ridiculousness and irresponsibility.  Yes, that is me being nice about it.

We did manage to take in some views from the road and one beach that was littered with felled trees, bleached white by sun and smooth by sea.  While we were on the beach, we saw some foxes running around in a field of grass.  Heading back to the cabin, we passed lama and sheep farms.  If the place were any more gorgeous, people would probably just slip into a state of bliss that turned them into pure light and they'd disappear forever.

The ferry ride up was at night, but the ferry ride back was during one of the clearest, brightest Northwest days I've experienced.  It was so clear you could see Mount Baker from the boat, and Mount Rainier as you drove back to Seattle.  And even though we didn't see any whales, on the boat ride back we did see a school of dolphins playing in the ferry's wake.

I can't believe I live here.

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