The Puget sound is the second largest estuary in the United States, behind the Chesapeake Bay. Within the Puget Sound are the San Juan Islands. We took a ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island, an upiside-down U shaped island, where we would be camping for the next four days.
Washington state has the largest ferry system in the US. I think it's pretty awesome. Mostly because I love to travel by boat. The only problem with the system is that there is no reservation system. Therfore, when we arrived with an hour to spare before our boat, we were quite surprised to actually miss it because there were already so many people waiting. Therefore we got to hang out at the ferry port for, well, quite some time. Eventually we did get on a boat and even found our campsite at Moran State Park and set up before dark.
In the morning, we took the ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. This is a cute port town full of artists and specialty shops. It was nice just to wander around town. After lunch, we took a bus to the other side of the island to Roche harbor. San Juan island used to be a top producer of lyme which brought people and industry to the area. Roche harbor was where one company set up shop and when the business was finished, the leftover buildings became a resort. It's pretty cute and a great wedding venue (I'd imagine).
The next day we went kayaking which was wonderful if only because I was in a kayak in the pacific northwest. It was an extremely low tide, which meant that we spotted hundreds of star fish including the 22 arm'd sunflower starfish. We also spotted a couple of harbor seals, as well as a bald eagle whom I paid handsomly to pose for us.
Once we got out of the water we lunched and hit the trail to Cascade Falls. Let me just say that staying in a park where we could walk to trailheads was awesome. Let me also just say that I love hiking. I cannot explain it, but especially in the pacific NW, I was absolutely overtaken by the size of the trees, the smell of the pine, and the just general good vibes from the forest.
This hike was well worth it.
The next day we hiked to the hightest point in the San Juan Islands, Mt. Constitution. It was about 7 miles round trip from our campsite and began quite steeply, but it smoothed out and was a good hike. It made me wish that I knew anything about forestry as the woods seemed to change every once in a while and I am sure there is some ecological reason. The view at the top was intermittent due to clouds, but still pretty cool. (literally, as I actually wore gloves at the top).
It was a great camping trip which I would happily do again. It helps to bring along a super planner who will orchestrate meals that are more fancy than my usual fare at home. It also helps to bring along friends old and new who also love camping and its ups and downs. It also helps to bring along the right sleeping bag to be cozy. Thats the end of my camping advice.