more of orcas island

August 26, 2014 |  Category:   life Seattle & the NW travels






A few things have changed since we last came to Orcas Island, though much of it remains as I remember it. Doe Bay Resort, where we had a class retreat for our music program back in college, got a whole lot bigger and expanded into multiple dwellings and even a cafe. Mark reminded me that some of us went swimming in the cold September waters on a dare during that trip. It was probably the only time I ever went swimming in Washington. I find the water unbearingly frigid and can’t even stand to dip my feet; they immediately go numb. The kids remarked at the difference in water temperature as well, but that didn’t stop them from wading in or swimming in the lake. I don’t know why some memories can be conjured up so clearly while others lurk in the shadows. I can remember how the air smelled during that class trip, how windy and cold it was up on the mountain, and the evenings filled with drums and music in the big retreat house we all stayed in. We drove 2 big school vans up to the ferry, a 3 hour road trip from campus. I don’t know if anyone had a camera. It’s quite possible that no photos of the trip exist. Isn’t that something? A stark contrast to now.






On this trip, we cooked all but one of our meals while on the island and ate them out on the deck on the weathered table: A barbeque, Norwegian-style pancakes with fresh blueberry and huckleberry sauces, zucchini bread, eggs, fennel salad, and quesadillas made with leftover pork from our Hawaiian feast. But the best of all were the crabs and the clams from a local shop that laid traps in the nearby water.



A short walk to the beach is always a good way to start and end the day. When I stand here and remember where I am – on a tiny island on the most northwestern tip of the US – I can’t help but feel like I’m standing at the edge of the earth.

You Might Also Like

  • Elizabeth August 26, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Such gorgeous photos, thank you for sharing more of your trip – as a Seattleite I get unduly excited when non-PNW bloggers I follow somehow have reason to come visit or otherwise take notice of our fair city and its surroundings. The San Juans are such a treasure that it’s impossible for me to imagine how most of the world can go about their lives unaware of their majesty, but then I think that must be the case for the vast majority of places in the world… I can’t begin to imagine how many beloved, incredible pockets of Earth exist that are every bit as wonderful as Orcas Island and equally precious to the select few lucky enough to live near them or stumble across them. I’m more and more grateful for the Internet these days not only for the conveniences it provides, but also because it affords me the chance to build a network of people and blogs and websites across the full expanse of the world; so, when I inevitably am unable to experience in person every scrap of what the world contains, at least I’ll have a greater chance of at least seeing much more of it via the words and pictures that have been shared by so many others. Again, thank you!

  • Erin August 26, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Oh, I love these Orcas posts! Our family has a cabin on neighboring Waldron Island that my grandparents built in 1965 and we have been going to ever since. Unfortunately, we have been stuck in Queens all summer and haven’t been able to make our annual trip. These pictures and posts have given me a little taste of my favorite place in the world when I can’t be there to enjoy it myself. The clear water, crab and clams, evergreens and those gray skies! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jeanne August 27, 2014 at 3:05 am

    Old memories are wonderful. These days I’m finding myself reliving them and wishing, so badly, that I could go back in time again.

  • Melissa August 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    We live in Missouri but try to go back to Washington state and the San Juans every few years because that scenery is unmatched anywhere else. Thank you for sharing!