Sunday, November 4, 2012

Washington, Oregon - Day 8: San Juan Islands

A change of plans today. We had thought about heading south towards home, but since we have no set itinerary we looked at a map and decided to turn north and visit the San Juan Islands.  The San Juan Islands are a group of Islands located between the Washington Coast and British Columbia, Canada.  They are part of the state of Washington, but accessible only by plane or boat.  Washington State Ferries services the four main islands, which consist of San Juan (the largest), Orcas, Lopez and Shaw.

Under the usual overcast skies, we left Oak Harbor and headed north to the town of Anacortes where we would catch the 9:30 AM ferry to San Jaun Island, our first stop.

Getting on the ferry.
Heading into the San Jaun Islands.
A ferry heading back from the islands.
The ferry was pretty empty, not surprising considering the season and weather.
Val enjoying the crossing.
Arriving in Friday Harbor, San Jaun Island.
Friday Harbor.
Upon arriving in Friday Harbor, the largest town on San Juan Island (or any of the San Juans) we headed down to the southeastern part of the island.  Even though San Juan Island is the largest of the San Juans, it is still quite small and only takes 15 minutes to cross the island or 30 minutes to drive it lengthways.  Our first stop was South Beach, a driftwood strewn beach looking over at the Olympic Peninsula.

Piles of driftwood at South Beach.

The mountains of the Olympic Peninsula.
From South Beach we journeyed on to Cattle Point, the southeastern most point on the island.

Looking north from Cattle Point.
Looking south towards the Olympic Peninsula.
From Cattle Point we head west across the lower part of the island.  This area had many beautiful old farms along the way.

As we traveled west, we made a stop at False Bay.

False Harbor.

As we reached the west side of the island and turned north the terrain changed from fields to forest and it also started to rain.  We also began to see a bit of fall color.

We also found a small pond among the trees which was beautiful in the mist and rain so we had to stop.

We continued north making a brief stop at an alpaca ranch.

From there we went on to the northern end of the island where we stopped in the town of Roche Harbor for a delicious lunch of fish and chips.

An old hotel in Roche Harbor.
The Roche Harbor Marina.

After lunch it was still raining, so we turned south and headed back to Friday Harbor where we are spending the night.  After exploring the town a bit we called it a day and spent the evening relaxing and planning tomorrow.

Friday Harbor from our hotel.
Our drive through the farmland and countryside of the island was wonderful.  The scenery was stunning and the scattered light rain made it even more wonderful with all the fall color.  It was a picture perfect fall day.

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