Cypress Island (Aug 15-17, 2014)

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cypress_island_coverConditions: multi-day kayaking
Gear: typical overnight gear
Map: SeaTrails WA001 Rosario Strait and Bellingham Channel / Padilla Bay
Area: Anacortes
Reference: San Juan Islands Afoot & Afloat
Stats: 24.63mi (21.4nm)

Day 1:
Stats" 7.3nm Washington Park > Cypress Head > Pelican Beach

Yana messaged me early in the week...got plans this weekend...no...wanna go kayaking? Sure!

She had worked with some in the EMSK group to plan a 3-day trip up to Cypress Island. Hmm...I figured I had all the gear but would it fit in a kayak? Turns out yes, with plenty of spare room :)

I meet the group up in Washington Park. Lots of unloading of boats (8 in all) and then packing of those boats. The beach area around the boat launch looked like a yard sale. We didn't plan to launch until about 3:30pm and we were pretty close to this. The route was pretty much due north of Washington Park aiming for Pt 591 on the south end of Cypress Island. We'd follow the east side of Cypress staying to the west side of Bellingham Channel up to Cypress Head where we'd pull the boats up on the beach and take a break before heading further north. We got there about 5:15pm (4.7nm), took about a 15 minute break and then we were headed off again. It's 7.3nm from Washington Park to Pelican Beach CG (2.6nm from Cypress Head). We arrived about 6:15pm. One group was already spread out in the remaining campsites along the west side of the beach but was kind enough to consolidate leaving our group a bit more room to set up. It was a late dinner and then time to turn in.

Day 2:
Stats: 6.5nm Pelican Beach > counter clockwise around Sinclair Island > Towhead Island > Pelican Beach

Day two started out with a hike to Duck Lake. After the hike the plan was to paddle counter clockwise around Sinclair Island. Lots of shallows around Sinclair and lots of watching for rocks just below the surface. Some homes on the island too. Had me wondering how difficult it was to build these homes in the first place (what about electricity, plumbing, running water, etc.) Sure is remote. Does seem like a nice quiet getaway... On the way back from Sinclair we headed first over to Towhead Island (just off the northern tip of Cypress Island) and then paddled on back to Pelican Beach. Bowl of soup for dinner tonight (was really strange packing a whole can of soup into the boat...I'm not used to the "go heavy" philosophy) and then the plan was an evening hike up to Eagle Cliff.

Day 3:
Stats: 7.7nm Pelican Beach > Cone Islands > Cypress Head > Washington Park

Thankfully not an early rise... :) The beach in the morning looked like a yard sale again. Lots and lots of gear to pack back into the kayaks. We were all packed up and ready to go by about 10:30am. The plan...head over to the Cone Islands (a state park) before heading back south. The islands are gorgeous. Lots of rocky coastline. Birds squawking. Lots of harbor seals in the area. Absolutely gorgeous. We paddled north of the northernmost (smallest) island (1.1nm), then south towards the "middle" one, then east again to stay on the north (and then east) side of the big island (1.7nm) before turning and heading south back towards Cypress Head. We arrived there about noon (3.2nm from Pelican Beach), had a nice long lunch, then began the long paddle (4.5nm) back to Washington Park.

Really great trip. Yana...thank SO MUCH for the invite. What a great way to spend the weekend. You know you've had fun when there are a couple hundred photos, you are tired AND sore!
 
Cypress Island Slideshow
 
eagle_cliff_coverConditions: day hikes
Gear: nothing special
Map: www.dnr.wa.gov
Area: Anacortes
Reference: San Juan Islands Afoot & Afloat
Stats: 5.87mi, 1319' gain (total for both hikes)

Day 2:
Stats: 3.0mi, 589' gain (for the loop) - Duck Lake Loop
Stats: 2.87mi, 730' gain (round trip) - Eagle Cliff

I reach a point I just can't stay in the tent any longer. I got up and found that Yana was already up. After breakfast, Yana, Kirsten and I went for a walk to Duck Lake. I don't think it's a lake...pond maybe...covered in lily pads and it's hard to get a good view of it with the tall cat-tails and grasses. Kirsten suggested making the hike a bit longer and we ended up doing the Duck Lake loop which touches the east side of the lake, heads down to Eagle Harbor, then heads back north following the east side of the island before cutting back west and meeting up with the trail we hiked in on (which then took us back down to the campground).

After dinner the group hiked up to Eagle Cliff. It's a nice west bluff on the northern end of the island, a perfect place to watch the sun set and day end. Yana hauled her critter canister up to the top since I had joked that it looked like the world's largest summit register. The sunset was awesome. Calm waters down below shimmered like gold with the setting sun. Headlamps on as we left the top, we hiked back to camp in the dark.
 
cypress_island_map

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