Tag Archives: Washington

Orcas Island


I felt on the brink of magic. I was, Orcas island was next. Still, Anacortes is beautiful; you can walk on the beach or a boardwalk path if you have time before your ferry pulls in.


Anacortes is the place to drive onto ferries that go to Canada and the San Juan islands.


The original people of the San Juan islands were Samish. For more about them, go here:


If you had been among these tribes, you might have spoken Samish, Semiahmoo, Lummi, Sannich, Songish, or Sooke. They had a good life. Then non-natives showed up and wiped them out with diseases.

A huge cannery was built in the late 1800s, where the ferry station is now.

Canneries were a big deal at the turn of the century to preserve meat. By the 1930s, refrigeration put many canneries out of business.

This is a little beach off Eastsound, in Orcas.

I got sick in Orcas, so spent 36 hours in bed. It kind of killed the adventures and stories. I listened to sounds from the room.

1. Men doing business calls from the balcony.

2. Kids screaming or laughing.

3. Housekeepers chattering and vacumming.

4. One Kingfisher shouting.

5. Dogs barking.

6. Unknown noise. I finally settled on 2 monsters gargling.

I stayed at Rosario resort. This is a short drive from Eastsound, a good spot for food and shopping. Robert Moran built his dream home on this land, and named it Rosario. Moran, based in Seattle, made a fortune building battleships. His mansion is the most elegant and strongest residence I’ve ever seen. Moran had humble beginnings, and as a young man was influenced by John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. Though highly driven, he had a soft spot for nature, not just for the wealthy, but for everyone.

For more history go here:


I highly recommend the show by Christopher Peacock, which is free. He plays the original huge pipe organ and tells juicy* historical stories, in between showing gorgeous vintage slides of the island and Seattle. It’s a one-of-a-kind show.

* {the wife of the second owner of Rosario would drive into town on a motorcycle to play poker. She often didn’t bother to get dressed, just went in her red nightgown}.

The reason we can all trot around so much of Orcas is because Moran donated thousands of acres. This was so unusual at the time that the state didn’t know how to accept the donation, so he went to work with the paperwork and procedural process to make it happen.

Cascade lake

Right above Rosario is Moran state park. Two lakes are within it: Cascade lake and mountain lake. Both are great for swimming or paddling or walking around. Don’t miss Mt. Constitution. Incredible views of all the islands below.

From a distance, it looks like the ferries eat cars then spit them out. Too soon it was time to take the ferry home.

The view from the front.

The tide was out when I got up early to paddleboard Eastsound before leaving. I didn’t feel like mucking thru 70 yards of thick gooey sand.

That means I have to go back, which I look forward to!



Random note- this was my theme song- just stuck in my head during the trip!


A voice from the Pacific Crest Trail

Chance Fitzpatrick is over halfway through hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada. I asked him some questions about his journey so far.


MP: What would you tell your past self, prior to getting on the trail?

CF: Just relax and trust the process. The trail always provides and everything will be given to you at the perfect time. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or need at anytime.

MP: What would you tell your future self, upon finishing this journey?

CF: Hmmm… A bit harder to answer since I’m imagining what I might want to hear. Don’t be afraid to follow your heart’s desire. What is it that you truly want to do? What scares the shit out of you? Find out what it is that you’re most passionate about and take the leap of faith.


MP: What do you love the most about your experience?

CF: Being able to spend 10-12 hours a day hiking in the wilderness alone with my thoughts and no distractions. Living such a simple lifestyle with purpose is extremely rewarding.

MP: What do you love least about your experience?

CF: Balancing wants vs. needs can be tricky. Just because you want something doesn’t mean that it’s needed. To make sure what you’re carrying on your back is essential. Another thing that’s very important is to make sure you keep a positive attitude at all times. There are many reasons to keep going, and even more to quit.

MP: Favorite sound?

CF: The constant churn of my footsteps on the earth along with the clicking of my trekking poles.

Milestones are celebrated!
Milestones are celebrated!

MP: Least favorite sound?

CF: Noisy hikers that talk way too much and don’t respect your need to be alone in nature.

MP: Favorite smell?

CF: The fresh mountain air is always changing on the trail. The desert smells very different from the pine forests and grassy meadows.

MP: What has been the most unexpected thing?

CF: How the trail can change drastically from one moment or day to the next. One minute it’s foggy, then it snows. Next day you’re one ridge over and it’s windy with scorching heat. I’ve experienced all of the above in a 24-hr period.

MP: Has this experience, so far, effected your relationship with yourself?


CF: I am much more patient, loving and forgiving. Not getting all worked up with circumstances and situations that are out of my control.

Chance has a great blog: chancingit.com. You’ll get a good feel for what it’s really like to be out there and see some stunning photographs.

Stay tuned for a follow-up!