Kate’s Blog #4

Unquestionably, a bittersweet moment to leave Friday Harbor this afternoon and say so long to the beautiful San Juan Islands.  Knowing that we had reached the end to our adventure in Northern Washington brought back memories of chartering with our kids in the Caribbean and waking up on the day we had to leave, despite needing clean sheets and existing on bits and pieces of our stores, we were always sad to leave and shocked that the time had gone by so fast.

And so it goes in the San Juan Islands, as well.  Yesterday and today we did the last two things on our bucket list here:  whale watching and a bike ride around the island.  For weeks we had expected to just come upon the great Orcas while cruising from one beautiful island to another, but with no luck.  So, we resorted to a professional service and bingo!!!  After a 20 minute speed ride to the Canadian border, there they were before our very eyes, in all their amazing glory:  a pod of 4, mom and her 3 calves. Very large, spectacularly beautiful, and seemingly docile and sweet (no anthropomorphizing at all here) we felt the awe of their existence and didn’t regret the $119.00 for a minute!

This morning, we got up and set out on our bike tour around the island to get a perspective of the area with solid ground beneath our bicycle pedals.  This beautiful area did not disappoint.  We saw horse farms, cattle ranches, hay fields, small rustic cabins ( and not so small abodes) and caught a glimpse of where and how the locals live…all amidst constant peeks of beautiful white sand coastal bays and harbors seen previously only from the deck of Samsara.  I was prompted to consider the ever present tussle between man and nature and concluded that the latter in this gorgeous part of the world for once has delivered ed a clear TKO.   These islands are undoubtedly still relatively unspoiled.  There are no Starbucks and no chain stores.  In fact, many of the “retail” establishments appear to open if and when their owners get around to showing up.  Even the best restaurants were closed on one of the busiest tourist days of the year, Memorial Day.  Laid back is an understatement.

We will treasure the many hikes we did in these splendid forests where the trunks of the stick straight coniferous trees rise sky high out of the deep black rich dirt of the forest floors blanketed in lacy lush green ferns. Typically walking silently, we could hear the soft whirring whistle of the wind as it rustled through the trees.  Reminiscent of my childhood, we dodged the tiny winged pods of the maple trees as they helicoptered down from the tree limbs. 

We are going to miss the landscape where the hazy horizon showcases the outline of one island after the next after the next as far as the eye can see.  They are so peaceful, serene and settled and their energetic pull has blanketed my soul and encouraged me to sigh a little deeper, worry a little less, and surrender a little more.

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