Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Paddle it like you stole it.

Its safe to say I had no idea three days could feel like a week or more. Or rather, it could feel stretched out in a way that's actually good. I left work promptly at 5:30pm last Thursday and had the sense of excitement one has when they're leaving on a trip. I was in fact going on a trip, but not on a plane or crossing a timezone.

After several stressful trips to the car and loading up everything I thought I could fit in a boat, I met up with Tyson at the Edmonds ferry north of Seattle around 8:30pm. The plan was to camp Thursday night at Deception Pass in order to be within 9 miles of the Friday Harbor ferry, en route to San Juan Island. That way, when the 8:45am ferry was ready to take off, we'd be on it. Um yeah, we were not. We slept in and were late. And the next ferry wasn't for over two hours. Nevertheless, we were on vacation! And its safe to say I felt this exact sense of little to no stress during the entire 3-day kayak/camping trip through the San Juan islands.

Three days of sunshine, paddling, jellyfish, crab sightings, deer, bald eagles and seals - no orca whales though.

Stopping off at Turn Island to make lunch on Friday, I looked around. I said to Tyson, "Can you believe we are here? This is totally awesome."

We paddled through or explored all of the following islands: Turn, Yellow, Shaw, Jones, Crane, and Blind. We camped the first night on Jones Island.

Finally pulling up the kayak around 7pm, we quickly set up our campsite and cracked a PBR. Then we hit the trail to the west side of the island to play a game of cribbage and watch the sun set.

I settled into my first hand and again, looked around at the lovely beauty in every direction. Total peace. And I won. Which is always fun too. After sunset we made a fire and cooked our dinner. One day down, two more to go.

Camped nearby was a couple who were also using our kayak outfitter. In the morning they stopped by our site and we had a brief conversation about what their Saturday paddle route was and mentioned maybe meeting up later in the day.

Our original goal was to try and make it to Obstruction Island, but Tyson and I were not determined paddlers. We found ourselves wrapped up in small bays and hugging the shores looking for sea life.

In the end, we met up with aforementioned couple, Chelsea and Tim, on Blind Island - nearly half distance we'd hoped to cover on Saturday. Blind Island was teeeeeeny. No homes or roads and only 4 campsites available. Luckily by the time we arrived we snagged campsite numero 3 with a clear view of Mt. Baker.

That evening Chelsea and Tim happily finished off our wine and shared some of their own while we sat up for hours talking around our campfire. Oh how I love campfires! Except when the wind changes direction and blows smoke in your face...that part is irritating.

Sunday was an intense day of paddling. We took our time and circumnavigated Shaw Island until we eventually had to cross an enormous and choppy part of the San Juan channel.

By the time we reached the shore of Griffin Bay I was exhausted. Our kayak outfitter picked us up - directed us to the best place to grab a beer and some fish and chips - and we perched on a stool in the sun until our ferry arrived to take us from Friday Harbor back to the real world.
Our new pals:

I thought maybe Tyson and I would get a little sick of each other - sitting in the same boat, him in the back having to match my paddle strokes and all - but alas, we did not. We had a great time! Loads of laughs and stupid humor that only reveals itself after hours and hours of perpetually hanging out with the same person. It was also good Quality time considering we won't see each other for nearly two weeks.

I'll be back in the heartland this weekend for the 4th of July holiday. It doesn't get any better than being in MN, on a boat, with friends and family over the fourth. Cheers!

By the way, look at this amazing home we saw on one of the islands. Can you imagine? And entire wall of glass...


Jamieofalltrades said...

Looks like such a fun weekend. And check out those guns! Nice sista!

jhoran403 said...

that looks like it was a lot of if I were to do a similar trip what would I bring? maybe a rough outline of what the first photo contains? color me jealous.