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Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Our 5-day backpacking trip was a challenging mix of water and trail. Like the more famous West Coast Trail, we got to climb ladders, cross boardwalks, navigate tree and suspension bridges, pick our way through bouldered beaches, and camp on sandy beaches (Mystic Beach, Chin Beach, and Sombio Beach). The last night in the woods at Payzant Creek wasn’t as interesting, although watching the waves crash onto the rock seemed very Hawaii-like.

We learned that the 19K day including the most difficult portion of the trail was a few kilometers too much, that we should pack extra extra food for the teen guy in the group, that the kids are strong hikers, and that our tried and true tenting and camping methods still work well.

We also love our new MSR Hyperflow pump, a recent birthday gift from my in-laws (thanks!).

Highlights included this amazing waterfall. The water has carved smoothly into the rock and the light on the green moss was amazing.

Another highlight was beach engineering and artwork. The sandy beaches were favored for these activities, which involved rerouting streamlets, building castles, and carving into the sand.

The surprise on day 5 was an octopus in the tidepool at Botanical Bay. He or she was quite large, at least 4-5 feet with tentacles extended, and swam right out of the kelp bed and around in front of us. We were amazed, having certainly never seen an octopus in the wild before.

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Previously, we divided our adventures into his, hers, and ours (the whole family). As the kids get older, and now that one set of grandparents has moved to town, we can parent adventure as well. The kids can stay home for swim team or cross country practice if they choose, and we can grab a little window of outdoor time.

We had two nights and 3 days to work with, so headed out on our bicycles early, were in Anacortes 3 hours later, and on the state ferry soon after. We rode on San Juan Island to our favorite hiker-biker site at the San Juan County Park, from which you get amazing sunsets and almost always see whales.

Except we saw no whales that evening. But then we spent the next day at Lime Kiln State Park, and there we were lucky enough to see thirty-some whales slowly passing by for almost four hours. I love hearing people ooh and ahh like they’re watching fireworks each time an orca’s huge dorsal fin breaks the surface.

We bicycled on Lopez Island on our third day and wandered some roads we hadn’t traveled on previous trips. We were lucky to have a simple parent bicycle venture with great weather, spectacular whale watching, and a personalized ferry pick-up from my parents. Pretty decadent to now have that option.

We loaded our bicycles onto the back of their boat, padded them with a couple towels, and bungied them in place. Then we watched little clear jellyfish by the hundreds as we made our way across the water towards home.

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