The addition of another number to my age marked the perfect occasion to make a trip we'd been talking about since we moved. The San Juan Islands are only a few hours from Seattle and known for their natural beauty.
The ferry to the San Juans leaves from Anacortes, WA. The traffic suggested that the entire population of Seattle was sharing the road with us, but we made it to the ferry terminal in time for our reservation where we had an unexpected surprise. Sharing our ferry line were our friends, the Berry's. Not a situation either of us would have predicted when we first met 14 years ago.
It would have been a great trip if all we did was ride the ferry. We started the ride on the front to watch the sunset.
The sun setting over Puget Sound and Decatur Island
However the view back was no less spectacular, with the snow on top of Mount Baker reflecting back the pink of the sky.
Mira had other ideas on how to spend the ferry ride.
Mira's new favorite activity is doing a puzzle on the ferry.
We reached our rental in the late stages of twilight, made some dinner, had some drinks, and settled in for the night.
The next morning we decided to do a hike to Iceberg Point, which is a BLM site on the south western side of the island. The path from the road to the trail is somewhat hidden as it makes use of easements on private land. Thankfully some helpful locals were able to point us on the way.
It was fairly easy one mile hike through the forest to the bluffs over the sound. The San Juans are to the north and east of Seattle, so we got a new perspective of our familiar mountains.
Mira and Ajax with the northern face of the Olympic Peninsula in the background.
The rocks of Iceberg Point provided ample photo opportunities.
Mira and Sonali on Iceberg point.
When the wind shifted, we could smell the seals, but we only saw one occasionally poke their head above water.
Mira and I.
After exhausting the angles on Iceberg Point, we walked to the high point where there was a marker for the turning point on the US - Canada border.
We spent some time on this point watching the clouds reflect in the water and the boats zipping around the outcrop.
Taking in the views.
While there we saw a mini drama play out as a boat that had been speeding by suddenly stopped. We figured he saw a seal, or maybe a whale. When he started off again he didn't make it very far before stopping, at which point it became clear that he was stranded. "That could be us" is a phrase I've used many times in reference to boats viewed in perfect moments. Sonali took no time in pointing out the stranded boat "could also be us."
A stranded boat (left). The boat on the right came to assist.
Thankfully for the stranded boater, another boat came to assist and their combined efforts got the engine running again. With promises to check in once they reach harbor, the crisis was resolved and both boats went on their way.
Post hike meal, what looks like vegetable juice is actually an arugala martini
After the hike we headed to the little town center for lunch to a restaurant called Haven. I'm a sucker for odd cocktails, so I had to order the black pepper and arugula martini, which was surprisingly good. While we ate our meal, we got to watch a pod of seals swim around the bay and reminisced about a similar setting on the northern coast of Ireland.
That afternoon we introduced our daughter to the board game pandemic and watched a little college football.
As depressing as gray skies might be during the day, they can also lead to some amazing sights at dusk and dawn. Our rental was on a bay and for our evening dog walk we drove to the other side of the bay. From there we could see a sea of pink and purple, occasionally punctured by the head of a seal or a bird. It was a beautiful end to a perfect Saturday.
Sunset on the beach.
The next morning was my birthday where I got a very special cupcakes to go with my morning coffee.
A painting for my birthday.
It is the Pacific North West and two days without rain is asking too much.
Mira suggesting the weather conditions mean we should not go for another hike.
Before leaving the island, we went for a little hike at Shark Reef Sanctuary. It was raining and we knew we found the trail head when we saw the collection of Subarus at the side of the road. The end of the hike was an overlook where we finally got to see a complete seal.
Us at Shark Reef Sanctuary
Our final stop on the trip was to get lunch at a little noodle place that was the definition of a hole in the wall (complete with neon sign proclaiming such). It was a kitchen worked by two people, a few tables, and a patio. There was good music coming over the one speaker and they made the noodles when you ordered.
Mira and Sonali, digging into their noodle bowls
Sitting there looking out over the grass and trees, under a covered porch, in the chilly air and the slight drizzle, next to my family, and with a steaming bowl of noodles was a little slice of perfect.
Just a bowl of noodles.
Unfortunately it was now time to head back to reality and the very long line to get back on the ferry to Anacortes. We just made it, we were the 6th to last car to make it on the boat.
Bidding Farewell to Lopez Island. We hope to be back soon.