Saturday, May 31, 2014

Guemes Island

For our fourth anniversary, Tim and I rented a yurt at the Guemes Island Resort.

Wednesday afternoon, we drove up to Anacortes to the ferry dock at the north end of town. This is a different ferry than the big Washington state ferry that goes out to the San Juan Islands. Instead, it is a small ferry operated by Skagit County. The ferry holds around 20 cars and runs every half an hour. It's just a short hop from Anacortes to Guemes, so close that you can see the other ferry dock across the channel.

We got there just in time to get on the 4:00 ferry; we were the second to last vehicle to drive on.

Fifteen minutes later, we drove onto the island and headed north to the resort.

Here is a picture of our yurt.

It included a very nice deck.

The other yurts were named Dot, Hat, Jack, and one other that I can't remember.

After unloading the car, we walked down to the beach. I found it rather disorienting to be looking east and seeing water. Living in Seattle, I'm accustomed to seeing water to the horizon only when I look west. 

Scattered among the rocks on the beach were a lot of shells. Many were in pieces, a few were mostly whole, and some were in perfect condition.

We also walked along a short trail near the yurt, and saw this rather large mushroom. I estimate it was 5 to 6 inches tall.

Thursday morning, the first thing we did — even before breakfast — was to go climb Guemes Mountain. This is the beginning of the trail . . .

. . . and here is the view from the top.

Along the way, we had to be careful to avoid many slugs. However, we also encountered an actual snail on the path, which I do not often see in the Northwest.

Along the way, there was lots of new growth on the evergreens.

I remember the first time I noticed new growth like this — the brighter green and how soft the new needles are, not stiff and prickly like I expected.

Later on, in the afternoon, we drove back down to the ferry landing to check out the island's general store.

We had come pretty well provisioned with food and beverages, so did not really need to get anything. Besides a cup of coffee for Tim, however, we did get a couple of fancy chocolate bars and I bought two CDs issued by a label in Anacortes. Beyond the capsule descriptions by the CDs, no one could really tell me more about them, except that the musicians had probably played there and were relatively popular. So, based on just that limited information, I took a chance.

One is "Doc Pyling and the Creosotes" and the other is "One Heart Left" by Sfuzzi East/West.

After leaving the store, we decided to take a different route back to the yurt. We had a map of the island. It's not very large with only a few main roads. Along the way, we saw nearly as many deer (four) as cars, and possible more dogs than cars.

The island seems to not have a leash law. Fortunately, the dogs we saw trotting around were well mannered.

Another thing the island lacks is a stoplight. Many stop signs, but no stoplight. And very little traffic.

Thursday afternoon, we borrowed a kayak (included in the rental) and paddled out into the bay. We did not feel adventurous enough to try to go across to Jack Island, choosing instead to parallel the shore.

The water was pretty calm, and it was very pleasant being out on the water.

Friday morning, we packed up the car and at Tim's suggestion took a more scenic route home. We drove south over Deception Pass, stopping at a turnout to walk across the bridge and check out the historical markers.

We stopped in Oak Harbor to walk around the old downtown, and had lunch in Coupeville, where I ordered Penn Cove mussels.

Then on to Clinton where we boarded the ferry toward Mukilteo and home.

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