I’ve completed processing my pix from our camping trip to the San Juans, and posted the results here. While I have broken the pictures down into sections, a highlight reel may be called for. In this entry, the small pix are linked into the pix.whybark.com album they come from, so click the thumb once to get to the album, find the thumb on the page, and click again to enlarge. (hm, I gotta come up with a better context and focus strategy than that, huh?)
Our campsite was located at the south end of idyllic Lake Cascade, in Moran State Park on Orcas Island. Moran State Park was created in the 20’s when Robert Moran, a wealthy shipbuilder and former mayor of Seattle, gave the property to the just-formed state park system. The park lacks a single element of astonishing presence such as Mt. Rainier or the Olympic Range, but it’s still a truly astonishing site.
Our campsite afforded us this lovely mirrored sunset. Later that night I was able to observe the stars of the Big Dipper reflected in the lake. In fact, each night I saw numerous satellites, and each night, I saw one meteor.
A short hike from camp up a very steep trail brought us to this viewpiont above the lake, known as Sunrise Rock. In this view, our tent is not visible; it’s hidden by the greenery just above and to the right of the small blue and white tent seen in the photo (in the thumb, that tent is a tiny light colored dot in the shade, to the lower right).
Within the park, there’s a moderately tall (2409 ft) peak named Mount Constitution, the highest peak in the San Juan Islands. On a perfectly clear summer day (such as the day of our visit) you can see as far as Vancouver BC to the north and to Rainier to the south. Mount Baker, however, is the closest of Washington’s grand and towering volcanos, and as such dominates the view. One may drive up the twisty road as we did, or opt for the four and a half mile hike up the mountain. At the summit is a cool-looking replica of a 12th century Balkan watchtower that is open to the public and from which most of the images of views on my pix.whybark.com album were shot.
Also an easy hike directly from our campsite is the picturesque, modestly-scaled Cascade Falls, which felt pretty damn good by this time in the heat of the day. On our return, we took a service road which immediately felt as though we’d taken a wrong turn and ended up backstage at Disneyland. We kept joking that the security guards would jump out and haul us away, or that we’d see animatronic wildlife piled up, rusting by the side of the road.
Instead of animatronic graves (NEWS FLASH: The Country Bears opens Friday!!!) we came across piles of discarded picnic benches, charcoal grills, and firepits; it was literally refreshing to see something that was not a perfect postcard for nature, warm and fuzzy in beauty and balance.
Not to worry, however, nature let us know that she’s the boss when at 4 am on the first night, a huge windstorm kicked up. I woke up and scurried about in the gale moving light stuff, soaking our firepit, and generally feeling helpless before nature’s fury. I then lay in bed sleeplessly as the tent tugged and pitched in the breeze. The wind died by midday, but then began anew at promptly midnight and was still in action when we left at about noon on Sunday.
I’m reasonably confident that when I say “huge windstorm” I mean larger than me. If I had been in a house and not a tent I doubt I would have been much concerned by the gusts.
On our last day, we packed up the camp and took a nice, five or six mile walk around the rim of the lake via the Lake Cascade Loop trail, and then hit the road and summer Sunday afternoon traffic back to Seattle on I-5. It was, all in all, a deeply pleasant camping experience.
2 thoughts on “Moran State Park, part 2”
Oh la la! I went to Orcas last year and camped on the sound; Obstruction Pass, maybe. Mt. Constitution has the view of views, it’s the best! It was sort of defeating to hike up and see a bunch of fatties with baby carriages getting out of their SUV’s, though. Didn’t know you could drive to the top. 🙁
See, it pays to do the research!
Stay tuned for a special episode tomorrow, poupou!
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