Orcas Island

After having traveled nearly 8 hours via land and water (with a whole lot of waiting during the transition between), I finally made it to Doe Bay Resort just in time for their weekly Thursday Pizza Night. The pizza was tasty but I was so sleepy that I soon headed off to bed. I stayed in their hostel option, and the first couple nights, I was the only one there. I awoke on Friday morning with a slight cold but since it was sunny, I decided to go for a drive through Moran State Park and up Mt. Constitution. Before I hopped in my car, I spent a few minutes in the early morning light gazing across Doe Bay, appreciating a rare clear November morning not shrouded in mist.

At 2,409 feet above sea level, Mt. Constitution is the highest point in the San Juan Islands. The air was near freezing and my ears had problems regulating to the increased altitude, my head already stuffy. The drive up the mountain was incredibly steep, with severe switch backs. Later, when I ventured into Eastsound, one of the few towns on the island, I learned that only the day before there had been snow on the mountain and all access had been closed to the roads. Luckily, I was able to enjoy a splendid view, although Mt. Baker in the distance was obliterated by fog.

This stone observation tower was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was so cold inside the structure there were puddles of ice on the stone staircases but the view from the deck on top was worth the several near tumbles I took down the stairs.

The park has several fresh water lakes that apparently are very popular swimming holes in the summer.

Friday night was spent in the gorgeous sauna at the resort, trying in vain to sweat out my increasingly irritating head cold. Saturday, freezing cold rain fell from the sky all day and I spent the majority of my time in the resort’s dumpy little library room working on a bunch of applications I had neglected since the beginning of the quarter. By Saturday evening, my throat felt raw and I decided to leave that night instead of Sunday morning. I caught the last ferry leaving the island at 10pm and made it back to Olympia by 1:30 in the morning.

It’s always better to be sick at home than in an uncomfortable hostel bed. I stayed in bed all Sunday, curled up with the cats, reading Mick Foley’s wrestling biography.

Doe Bay Resort is definitely a place I’d like to return to in warmer weather and with friends so we can collectively rent a cabin for a weekend. On my limited budget, the hostel was adequate but ultimately not as relaxing as I had hoped. Perhaps a bicycle trip around the islands this summer? Sounds delightful.

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