Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Gorgeous San Juans

I've been pretty low key in the active/running world the last several weeks. I've been building a deck in my backyard (!) and been busy with work. But this last week I've been vacationing with my wife Julia in the incredible San Juan Islands, off the coast of Washington State, near the Canadian border.

I've been there twice before - for the scenery and the orcas that visit every summer. This visit we'd stay at the world famous Orcas Hotel on Orcas Island. Details of the trip aside, Julia and I went on 2 hikes the first day, but on Friday I wanted to tackle Mt. Constitution - the highest point on the island at 2500'. Most people drive to the top, but there's a hike (labeled "strenuous" in the guides - I'm "trembling!" that ranges from 3-5 miles depending where you start.

I lobbied for the long route, about 5.5 miles with just under 2000' of gain. (Hmmm.) The scenery was GORGEOUS.

It was pretty damn tough! I stopped to catch my breath multiple times, hiking a few of the really steep parts. At one point I wondered if I was on the right mountain experience from November flashing back to me....hopefully this time without snow (!) But this tale would be one with a more typical ending. Summiting the trail with Julia waiting for me at the top - she drove. It took me about 1:20 to make it up and the view was spectacular! On the way down we stopped at the lake where I swam a few laps. Ah the mountain ice water felt nice!

A few days later, this time on Lopez Island I set out on another run - this time to Iceberg Point - at the Southern tip of the island. Deserted. Gorgeous. Once I was out on the trail I didn't see anybody! Except for the occasional gull and ever present bald eagles (by the dozen up there!) it was me and the trail. Unfortunately I brought my road shoes. They're my typical Asics - Kayano 14s that don't have such great traction on the dirt. That would be my single complaint of the experience. Other than that it was HEAVEN! We kayaked, saw otters, porpoises and droves of baldys - including a few young ones! No orcas unfortunately - they were on strike apparently. :(

If you haven't checked out the San Juans by all means look it up! On lopez we stayed at the Mackaye Harbor Inn - incredible. More pics later...I promise! :)
The Trail @ Mt Constitution

Me on the trail....tired!

Steps from the top...I tried to sprint the last mile ("tried")

The view...see what I mean?

The deck framed out! Work resumes manana....


  1. I've never been to the San Juan Islands but they do look pretty!

  2. Wow, that looks lovely. and nice job on that deck !



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Film composer moonlighting as a runner, cyclist and triathlete