island

Orcas Island

A few weeks ago a friend and I went to Orcas Island to move some furniture. I had brunch by myself the next morning at the charming New Leaf Cafe. Since we were hiking that morning, I wanted something hearty and not too sweet or heavy. I ordered the duck confit hash and it was fantastic. Better than I could have imagined.

We drove to the park and got to the trailhead. We were going to hike to the top of Mount Constitution. You can also drive this, but we chose to hike it. Do you ever have those days were a hike or a workout is nearly impossible? For whatever reason, that was this day for me. I don't know the last time I was this slow on a hike.

There was ice cream at the top though so that was a bonus.

The day we went was one of the times the wildfire smoke was heavy. From the top you're supposed to have an amazing view. We didn't have that, but it was still cool.

Once we hiked back down we stopped for dinner at a bar in town. 

The next day we kayaked before we had to catch our ferry. There were lots of sand dollars in the water, starfish on the rocks, and I even saw one otter! 

It was a fantastic weekend. We ended up getting stuck on the island when one of the ferries broke down, but we made the best of it and had a blast. Except for the getting home at 4 a.m. on a Monday part. That wasn't ideal, but hey, at least I was able to work from home that day!

Any PNW weekend trips you'd recommend? I've been wanting to go to Crater Lake, but it's a bit too far to do in a weekend.

Ebey's Landing Hike on Whidbey Island

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

I'd been looking for a hike I could do safely by myself. Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island is well-populated, only 5.6 miles long, and not very technical. It's also not in the middle of the mountains. So I picked it.

It happened that my mother came along, which made it a lot funner. But it did mean that I wasn't by myself. Not a bad fact.

You may need a ferry reservation to access this hike. We got lucky and made it on as a stand-by, but barely.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

We parked at the trailhead across from the cemetery for the hike. The Washington Trails Association had recommended that trailhead for more of a hike and the other one for more of a beach walk.

We'd chosen a day to go when it was supposed to be raining sideways. Thankfully, the rain and wind weren't as bad as predicted. It rained a bit, but I stayed dry in my Arc'teryx. My mom's Columbia wetted out.

The prairieland here was amazing. Nothing like other parts of Western Washington I've seen.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

At one point two bald eagles flew at eye level maybe 15 feet off the trail. It was amazing. I had my phone in my hands but was too busy looking at them to take a picture. So I took one when they were flying away.

Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing
Northwest Pearls: Ebey's Landing

I could have done without the walk on the beach. It wasn't as enjoyable as the walk on the bluff. If I did it again, I'd probably stay on the bluff, walk down the hill to the beach, and then back up to the bluff and just do a there and back.

It was a pretty good day-hike. Afterwards we took the ferry back to Port Townsend (again, get reservations!), got pizza for lunch, stopped at a loose-leaf tea place where I found my new favorite decaf tea, and drove home.

Do you have any fairly easy hikes you'd recommend in the area?

Anderson Island

Northwest Pearls: Anderson Island
Northwest Pearls: Anderson Island

A couple of weeks ago my family and I went out to Anderson Island to visit some cousins. We took the ferry from Steilacoom, Washington. It was a great day for the beach. We had a barbecue, played in the sand, and rowed the rowboat around. It was a nice stay-cation. I haven't spend much time on Anderson; most of my time has been spent on Vashon, but Anderson is a nice island too! However, the ferry schedule to Anderson is a little less convenient.

Northwest Pearls: Anderson Island
Northwest Pearls: Anderson Island

-The view from the ferry, looking back to Steilacoom

Northwest Pearls: Anderson Island
Northwest Pearls: Anderson Island

Do you have any staycation ideas?

Vashon Island

My two best friends and I spent a day on Vashon Island in the South Puget Sound. (I was going to be there less time because I had to work, but surprise! the ferry went out of service and I couldn't get to work!) So we went adventuring. We went to this cool store called Minglement. It sells so much loose-leaf tea. You can see it below. I had the cafe there brew me a cup of New Moon tea. You can also buy it bagged and take it home to make yourself!

Northwest Pearls: Tea Selection at Minglement

Northwest Pearls: Tea Selection at Minglement

*Photo credit to M. R.

Then, because it's somewhat famous, we stopped by the bike in the tree. There's quite a few legends out there of why it's in the tree. Some are sadder than others. I'm not sure what the real story is, but it is cool to see. Vandals keep on taking the parts though so there's not much left at the moment. (Although at one point I did read that a person works to get replacement parts each time vandals take some. So sometimes the bike has more to it.) The bike is just a few feet into the forest off of one of the main roads.

Then it was time for us to leave and be on our merry way.

Northwest Pearls: View of the Puget Sound

Northwest Pearls: Ferry Ride

*Photo credit to E. R.

Have you ever been to Vashon? What do you think?