Birthday Weekend (Mar 10-13, 2016)

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birthday_weekend_coverConditions: day hikes & urban strolls
Gear: n/a
Map: USGS Noble Knob
Area: Eastsound, WA (Orcas Island)
Reference: Day Hiking The San Juans and Gulf Islands
Stats: 4.95mi, 735 gain (round trip)

Steve surprised me with the best birthday weekend ever! I thought the birthday treat as an evening in town the eve of my birthday. Steve and I headed into Seattle and had dinner at Wild Ginger. I'd been there years ago and wanted to return. Steve had head good reviews of it and wanted to try it out. Wow...dinner was incredible. Afterwards we headed over to Benaroya Hall for an evening of the Seattle Symphony. That was incredible too.

Friday I headed back up to my place as Steve had to work. But..he got out of the office a bit early and then drove up to my place. Then...we loaded up our things for the weekend and headed up to Anacortes to catch the ferry over to Orcas Island. We had reservations at West Beach Resort out of Eastsound, WA. We had a nice little cabin complete with a wood burning stove and a small kitchenette. We arrived, unloaded out things, and then headed into Eastsound for a late dinner.

Saturday we headed back into Eastsound and had an incredible late breakfast at the Island Skillet. Afterwards we headed out to Moran State Park and drove up to the top of Mt. Constitution. It was pretty cloudy and socked in and we only had the occasional view out across the water. After driving back down we headed further south and hiked out towards Obstruction Pass. This was a nice short hike. We had brought a few snacks and had lunch near the beach. After our hike, we headed back into town, got spiffed up a bit and then headed down to Deer Harbor Inn Restaurant for dinner. It was another great meal and then we headed back to our cabin and West Beach Resort to watch the sunset and then we stayed up late after lighting a fire in the wood stove. I think I fell sleep 30 minutes into the movie we found on the TV. (Obstructon Pass: 3.95mi, 524' gain)

Sunday was a short day, we had a ferry to catch. We had been watching the weather and it looked like a real wind storm was brewing up. After breakfast at Mia's Cafe in Eastsound, we headed over to the Cascade Falls loop trail. It's a nice little trail that heads down to a small creek and has lots of scenic waterfalls. Then, reluctantly, it was time to head back to the mainland. We had reserved a slot of the ferry that left Orcas just after 3pm. As we boarded the boat all the tall trees were doing quite the dance from the winds. I knew that where we were was somewhat protected from the strongest of the gusts...I wondered what it would be like once we got out into the openness of Rosario Strait. The water was choppy when we boarded, lots of small whitecaps as far as the eye could see. We made a stop at Lopez Island and could tell the winds and the waves were picking up. As we left Lopez and headed into the open water of the strait the boat began to rock and roll quite a bit. The front observation decks were closed but I stood in the front behind the protection of the windows. The boat kept pitching front to back as waves crashed over the front of the boat. We couldn't see the cars down below but we figured they were getting swamped. The largest of the waves would crash into the boat and water would splash up and over the observation deck two stories up. Steve and I both spent the better part of the trip watching the wave action. Because of the rough seas (wind gusts were clocked at about 80mph) the crew was preventing passengers on the upper decks from going back to the cars. But, after the ferry docked in Anacortes and we could get back down to our cars we could see that the first few rows of cars on the main (center) deck of the ferry had been pushed and sloshed around with alarms going off all over the boat. There looked to be some damage to the first few cars. We were on the main deck but off to the side which seemed to offer some protection. So, other than a stop at a carwash to wash all the saltwater off the car, we had no damage. (Cascade Falls: 1.01mi, 211' gain) absolutely wonderful birthday...
Birthday Weekend Slideshow

 cascade_falls_map obstruction_pass_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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