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Seattle 2010 Trip

Day 2 of 13

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Friday, June 25th
Ferry to Orcas Island

After breakfast at our hotel, we drove under cloudy skies to the flaship REI store in Seattle. This is our ritual when flying somewhere to go camping -- stopping at an REI to buy stove fuel (and whatever else catches our eyes).

Next, we drove north on I-5, stopping at a grocery store to pick up food for the next 3 days of camping. After grocery shopping, we arrived at the Anacortes ferry terminal around 2:15pm. We were in plenty of time for the 3:45pm ferry to Orcas Island. We stopped the car in line and had lunch and waited. There was a fairly large line of cars in each row, this being a Friday afternoon. Our ferry ended up being late, not leaving until 4:15pm. Had I known that, I might have taken the kids down to the shore to play while we waited.

Cars lined up for the ferry at Anacortes

Finally, we boarded and the ferry arrived at Orcas Island (after a brief stop at Shaw Island) around 5:20pm. We then drove onto shore and followed the road north to Eastsound, which seems to be pretty much the commercial center of the island. Even so, there's not much here. A grocery store or two, some restaurants, inns, and not much else. We stopped at the Island Market grocery store for some ice and a few other supplies. If I had known how large the grocery store was, I probably would have waited to get groceries on the island instead of getting them before reaching Anacortes.

Looking back at the wake of the ferry

From there, we turned south and headed to Moran State Park, the only state park on the island and the largest in the San Juan Islands. I'd made camping reservations about 6 weeks in advance, and after checking in with the ranger we drove to our site. At the time I had made reservations, the choices had been limited. Given the options, we'd chosen what appeared to be one of the larger sites even though there was a notice saying that it was noisier than other sites. We figured it wouldn't be a problem at night.

The noise came from the fact that the road was less than a hundred feet from our camp site, clearly visible through the trees. It wouldn't be a problem at night, but I must admit that having the road right there sort of detracts from the experience. If I had to do it again, I probably would have chosen the site further in that was a bit smaller. Or, really, I would have tried to reserve earlier when I had more choices. But, as I mentioned, this was sort of a last-minute trip (for me, considering how much I plan, anyway).

The site had a picnic table and fire pit. The site wasn't level, but it was acceptable. Someone drives a pickup truck around the campground each night, selling firewood out of the back. We bought some from them (you can also buy from the ranger at the entrance). We set up our camp and had dinner. The campground was almost completely full on this Friday night. The campground has bathrooms with running water, and showers as well.

After dinner, I took the boys on the short walk down to Cascade Lake, just on the other side of the road. We followed the shore south to a large picnic area. In addition to the usual picnic tables and bbq grills, there's also a large reservable shelter with about 8-10 picnic tables and a big fireplace. A large group was using it tonight. There's also a playground, large grassy areas, and a small fishing platform on the water's edge.

Fishing platform on Cascade Lake

I let the boys play awhile, then we returned to our camp site and enjoyed a campfire and s'mores.

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