Hiking Orcas Island (San Juan)

Leroy of the Flying Dreams Winery had recommended visiting the San Juan Islands, and Jeff was most keen to do so. We tried to go over Labor Day, before we headed to Canada. But when we arrived at the Anacortes Ferry, the lady at the booth warned us that we might not be able to catch the last ferry back, given the crowds. It was a holiday on both sides of the border, she said, so everyone would be trying to leave in the pm. Sadly, we decided to press straight on to Vancouver.

We tried again on our way back from Vancouver. Although we just missed the 1155am ferry by a couple minutes, we were able to board the 1230pm one. What fortuitous luck! It was a short 40 minute ride across the shimmering blue waters and across the chain of 172 islands to Orcas Island, the largest of the islands.

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Time was short, so the moment we drove our car off the ferry, we headed straight to the top of Mt. Constitution in Moran State Park, which is on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped island. There, we basked in the late summer sunshine, and lunched on salami, hummus and crackers while we took in the 360 degree views of Vancouver, the Cascade mountain ranges and Mt. Baker with its glorious snow crown.

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We also squeezed in a 1.5 hour trail lower down the 2,409 ft high Mt. Constitution, where we walked around part of the Mountain Lake to Cascade Falls. I loved the way the sunlight shafted through the trees, dappling the bright green moss underfoot. It’s interesting how the grounds in the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest did not any moss in contrast.

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