Sunday, November 13, 2016

Orcas Island

Now our day on Orcas Island!

This is Eastsound, the main town on Orcas Island. If you follow Gilmore Girls, this is like the Pacific Northwest's version of Stars Hollow. Except on an island.

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So we left the darling bed & breakfast cottage.

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Hopped in the Mini. {Isn't she cute?}
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And drove a few minutes to Eastsound. First we looked at it from the outside.
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While I'm disappointed I never saw a whale {orca pods usually move on by this time of year, only a couple stick around} I got to see a happy starfish! Do you see that orange thing in the middle? Exciting stuff for landlocked state dwellers.

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There is no chain restaurant or store in Eastsound.

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Which is wonderful. Just local joints.

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Like Darvill's Bookstore. The owner learned we were from Denver, and immediately praised our well-loved bookstore, The Tattered Cover, telling us, "That store has done great things for our industry!" Proud moment. And small world, eh?

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I love small town shopping. Especially when you can browse books and see the ocean at the same time.

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I contemplated us moving here. 

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They even have an Episcopal church with Lutheran services. Hmm...

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Chimayo?! Been there!

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Random wheel barrel of pumpkins in an alley. Because what else do small seaside towns have to put in their alleys?

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But anyway, we couldn't spend too much time shopping because we'd heard there were some other things to marvel at on the island. So we hit the road.

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And headed for Moran State Park. Moran was a Seattle mayor way back when who got sick and was dying, came to Orcas Island. Long story, but he had to get the state to accept this treasured land from him for all to enjoy. I'm grateful he did. 

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The drive up is just full of stunning, picturesque views. You could see ferries in the distance, and birds of prey swooping around. No wonder the Native Americans treasured this part of the country so. 

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Either you're looking out toward the sea, or in at the lush forest.

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What the locals insist on you doing on Orcas Island is going to the top of Mount Constitution. This mountain is 2,400 ft. My hometown sits at more than twice that elevation. Sort of crazy to think about. It's a 4 mile hike up, or a nice drive. On the top is an old stone lookout tower. 


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That's Mount Baker in the distance. Let's get a closer look...

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Closer!

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See how blessed we were to go on a relatively clear day? Below, with our telephoto lens, we captured multiple Canadian cities. This photo was taken by Sander on the top of the tower, using our telephoto lens, directed what must have been hundreds of miles away. You can see both America and Canada from this point. 

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Then we drove some more and parked, and ventured into the forest. Because I wanted to.

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I wonder what made this tree fall?

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The underside was gnarly.

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And everything on Orcas Island is covered in moss. Fallen trees give way under your feet. So different than our Rocky Mountains, which are rugged, dry, and hard.

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The other thing we wanted to see on Orcas Island was Cascade Falls.

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First, you pass Rustic Falls. See how the fall colors were in their full glory during our trip? Bless.

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It was at about this point that I was thinking to myself, "Yes! Thank you Justin for taking me here! Thank you for making me do this! I needed this!"

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It was so, so good for my soul.

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Then we spotted Cascade Falls. And we made our way down, over a bridge, and under some moss covered trees to get a closer look.

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This is a 360 shot which doesn't translate well on my blog, but I'm including it to show you that I crossed that fallen tree bridge by myself, and bravely, to get closer to the falls. I wasn't scared of falling. Maybe when you have an anxiety disorder, it's good to get out and regularly push yourself to surpass it?

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Needing a late lunch at that point, we hiked back to the car and started searching for a place.

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We found ourselves in, not a town, but a community named Olga. It didn't look promising for lunch, and we figured we'd have to head back to the other side of the horseshoe-shaped island.


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But as Sander drove, I spotted a sign with the word cafe. So we pulled in, not knowing what to expect.

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This is the best sort of vacation experience, friends. When you're hungry and confused, and find some random joint in the middle of nowhere, and decide to try it.

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Only to have it turn out to be one of the best vacation lunches you've ever had. 

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The service was amazing. The potato salad was amazing. The sandwich was amazing. The butternut squash soup was amazing. 

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And the raspberry macarons were amazing. If you should ever find yourself on Orcas Island, plan for lunch at the Catkin Cafe. Amazing. 

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And to think we just happened upon it in the middle of the island, with no signs of life from the outside, only to find several chefs at work out in the open, an amazing menu, and locals living it up on the inside. 

We tooled around some more, seeing a beach, checking out a couple graveyards, ending up lost in a YMCA camp, and snooping around island neighborhoods while scheming about how we could move there and be happy. 

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We think.

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Eventually we made our way back to the French couple at our bed & breakfast, because we'd ordered dinner: salmon in puff pastry, filet steak, a divine salad with a savory sort of French style of dressing I need to recreate, and a dessert of chocolate and pears. 

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We made use of our cottage's hot tub. I saw a shooting star. We both saw lots of stars. then woke up early to have some baked brie in puff pastry for breakfast {oh to be French!} before our host and chef not-unkindly kicked us out because he felt it was his duty to make sure we caught our ferry on time. 

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Note to self: start figuring out puff pastry. The French know what they're doing with food.

And on to Seattle...




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