White Pass

Rainbow cloud

An illuminated rain cloud near White Pass.

 

This post covers day two of the Chinook Pass / White Pass trip I took May 19th and 20th.

volcanic rock

the volcanic rock landscape of Eastern Washington

After a great night’s sleep at the Whistlin’ Jack Lodge,  I woke up to clear skies and the promise of a great day.  I was rolling down Highway 410 by 8:30.  This route follows the Naches River which has cut a path through the rocky canyon walls.  I love this time of day when the sunlight and shadows paint the waking hills.  You can not only see the outdoors come to life with color by also hear it in bird song and other sounds of nature.

Oak Creek feed station

Oak Creek feed station

It didn’t take long for me to dress down to shorts and a lightweight shirt.  It was perfect weather for cycling with most of the day in the mid 70 degree range with little wind.

I continued to drop elevation and saw the pine trees all but disappear.  Rocky hills decorated with sage was now the landscape theme.

I made it to Highway 12 and turned back west.  This part of the ride was not too difficult as there was a moderate increase in elevation over many miles.  I stopped briefly at the Oak Creek Feed station.  This is another one of those must see locations if you travel through here during the winter months.  The Washington State Department of Fish and Game manages this site.  They feed the large elk herds to ensure the elk maintain healthy numbers.  This also helps to minimize the negative impact the herds can have on orchards and other farmland.  The area is set up for public viewing and will provide you with an up close and personal look at the elk.  Today, there were no elk in the area as most of them have returned to the surrounding mountains.

Hills

The hills near highway 12

White Pass 3

 

The landscape slowly changed back to the wooded mountains.  Rimrock Lake provided a few photo breaks along the way.  I once again saw the rugged snow covered peaks come into view as I climbed the grade.

Rimrock Lake

Rimrock Lake from Hwy 12, where I’m going.

 

Rimrock Lake from Hwy 12

Looking back east to Rimrock Lake, where I’ve been.

When I was approximately three miles from the White Pass summit I stopped to check out a viewpoint.  Clear Creek Falls was absolutely incredible.  It is a very well maintained and has a safe viewing area.   I couldn’t help but say, “O my God” when I saw the water roar over the 230 foot drop .

Clear Creek Falls

Clear Creek Falls

I pushed on up the hill stopping occasionally to enjoy the view of the valley where I had been earlier this day.

Mountain valley

Looking east from highway 12, near White Pass.

Roadside waterfall

Roadside waterfall next to Hwy 12

Today had been a 55 mile ride to the 4,483 foot White Pass summit.  The lowest point in this ride was 1,617 feet which is close to Highway 410 and Highway 12.

My Mountain Quest bucket list is down to Sherman Pass and Mount Adams.    I may also add another Mt. Rainier ride. Last year,  I rode up to the Paradise area of Mount Rainier.  I hope to also go up to the Sunrise area of that same mountain.

Over the next seven weeks I will steadily increase my hill climbing workout intensity in preparation for the July Pikes Peak, Colorado ride.

Mt. Rainier

Mount Rainier from Cayuse Pass

Thanks for joining be on another Mountain Quest trek.

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Posted in Bicycling, Mountains, Mt. Rainier, Photography, Washington State, Waterfall, Whislin' Jack Lodge, White Pass | 4 Comments

Chinook Pass

Chinook Pass

Chinook Pass

Chinook Pass links Eastern Washington with the west side on Highway 410 at 5,430 feet.  It’s closed during the winter months due to a heavy snow load and avalanche hazards.   With rain predicted at my home on the west side, I decided to head east.

waterfall

Chinook Pass waterfall

Last week,  I planned the trip out and kept a watchful eye on the weather forecast.  I tracked the Washington State Department of Transportation pass clearing progress.  On Friday, the pass was opened for the first time this year.  The mountain weather forecast for the weekend  was partly cloudy with a chance or rain or snow.

Snowcapped Mountain from Highway 410

Snowcapped Mountain from Highway 410

I decided to pull the trigger and make the trip on Sunday and Monday.  My goal was to park my truck at the ski area of White Pass on Highway 12.  I would head down the west side then take Highway 123 to Hwy 410 and then up Chinook Pass.  I knew this was a gamble and that I may have to change my plans if the snow and road conditions were not favorable.

Chinook Pass

Chinook Pass at the entrance to the Wenatchee National Forest.

I left home at 5:30 am and started the three hour drive.  I had my bike trunk and pannier bags stuffed full of equipment, food, extra clothes,  and inclement weather gear.

Roadside Stream

Chinook Pass Roadside Stream

I popped over Cayuse Pass on Highway 410 and was a little concerned as there was a slight rain that was very close to becoming snow.  White Pass was pretty wet as well.  I sat in my truck for ten minutes and waited out a downpour of rain.  The sky held promise of dryer weather so I maintained my hope that I would be able to make this trip as planned.

The plan was to make it to Chinook Pass then down the east side to the Whislin’ Jack Lodge which was approximately 61 miles from where I started. On day two,  I would continue east towards Yakima then  take Highway 12 west to the top of White Pass.

The clouds thinned a bit and the rain turned to a slight mist.  I loaded up my bike, put on many layers of clothes and rain gear, before rolling down the mountain.

Roadside stream

Rainier National Park stream

I was at 4,483 feet and hoped that as I dropped into the valley it would be a little dryer and warmer.   I initially retraced the route I had just passed through with my truck.   I hit the low lands of Mount Rainier National Park and took off some of my clothes and rain gear in preparation for the almost 3,000 foot climb that awaited me.   This part of the road is at approximately 1,500 feet and is fairly flat.  There was still large patches of snow in the thick trees bordering the road.  Many roadside streams provide photo opportunities and relaxing background.

It is just amazing how much more you see on two wheels rather than four.  I was thrilled to see an elk herd very close to me.  Approximately 25 yards into the tree line next to the road I had the herd moving very slowly parallel to me.  They did not seem alarmed by me at all.   I saw many deer over the next two days as they crossed the road in front of me or were grazing just off of the road.  An adult black bear was sitting in the middle of one of the gravel side roads as I rode by it.  Male mountain grouse were very enthusiastic as they attempted to call in a mate.  Being able to experience all of these animals in nature is another reason I love these mountain rides so much.

Hwy 410 mountain

Taken from the east side of Chinook Pass on Hwy 410

The workout began as I hit the pedals to ascend the pass.   It got very cold at the top and felt like it was well below freezing temperatures.  I stopped at the snow covered restroom area and was pleased to see the clouds part to allow some sunshine through.   I met a couple of guys that were traveling from England.  After swapping a few stories,  I decided it was time to head down the east side of the pass.  The photo at the beginning of this page was taken at that area.   I put a few more layers of clothing on in preparation for the many miles of downhill I would coast.

Chinook Pass

Chinook Pass

The deep snow pack was very impressive on Chinook Pass.  This was only the second day it had been open and there was very little vehicle traffic. The view of the mountains and valleys below were incredibly beautiful.

roadside steam

Chinook Pass snow melt steam

Chinook Pass water feature

Chinook Pass water feature

Roadside stream

Roadside stream from Hwy 410

The temperature went up substantially as I dropped elevation.  I was soon free of my bulky raingear and extra layers of clothing.  The scene around me changes as I continued down the road.  The snow covered mountain heather meadows had turned into to pine trees surrounded by nature’s volcanic rock sculptures.

Boulder Cave

Boulder Cave

I took a side trip near my destination to check out Boulder Cave.  I had not been there in over 20 years and remembered it to be fascinating.   The cave was a creation of volcanic activity and water erosion which took place over 25,000 years ago.  These forces left a 350 foot long by 30 foot high cave.  I made it to the trailhead a couple miles down the road.  I had forgotten that there is a 1.5 mile trail to get to the cave.  I elected not to take my bike down the trail and didn’t feel comfortable leaving it behind.   I added  photos I found on the web to give you an idea of what the cave looks like.  I suggest you put this location on you bucket list as it is well worth the short walk.  Even in the summer it can get cool in the cave so bring warmer clothes and a flashlight with you.

Boulder Cave

The entrance to Boulder Cave

Once I made it back to Highway 410 it was only a few miles to the Whislin’ Jack Lodge.  The lodge was built in 1931 and offers great food, lodging, camping, and a store that has a variety of items you may need.  All of the staff were great and very friendly.  It has been many years since I lived in Eastern Washington.  I do miss the down home, country feel that is prevalent in this area.  The office and entrance to the restaurant is very cozy.  There is an ornamented old stove in the corner with an area set aside for lounging or reading a book.  There are many mounted deer, elk, bear, sheep, and cougar on the walls and beams above to watch over you in the office.  I had reserved a room in the lodge building next door which was right next to the Naches River.  My room was very comfortable and offered a great view of the river just below the bay window seat.  After a much needed shower and change of clothes, I sat down for a great dinner and some red wine.   I met a local cowboy at the store and sat down to chat for a bit.  This old timer showed some wear from the cowboy life.  He had turned in his saddle and spurs years ago and replaced them with a boat and fishing pole.  He shared stories of his cowboy days and fishing guide business.   I hope to meet this fishing cowboy again some day.

I finished off the evening with some desert which I enjoyed sitting in my room’s window seat.  It was warm enough to open the window and enjoy the soothing sounds of the river and birds outside.  This day had been a great experience and I logged 65 miles on the bike.  It was an early night to bed as I had another ride planned the next day.

Naches River

Naches River from Hwy 410

I’ll see you then.

Posted in Bicycling, Chinook Pass, Mountains, Mt. Rainier, National Parks, Photography, Washington State, Whislin' Jack Lodge, White Pass | 2 Comments

Leavenworth – Lake Wenatchee – Plain loop

With a 90% chance of rain forecast for Northwest Washington, I decided to head to the east side of the state for a little cycling.  I was pedaling west on Highway 2 from Leavenworth by 10:30 yesterday morning.

Wenatchee River

The raging Wenatchee River from Hwy 2

The spring snow thaw and recent rain had the Wenatchee River beside me boiling.   Highway 2 follows the river through this canyon that goes miles up into the Cascade Mountains.  The power of water to cut through rock can be felt and heard as one stands on the bank.

Wenatchee River

Wenatchee River

I continued up towards Stevens Pass on the highway.  The traffic was fairly mild as this was a Monday.  As the road continued to climb up the mountain,  I found a few photo op excuses to stop briefly.

Tumwater Dam

Wenatchee River at Tumwater Dam

The Tumwater Dam was constructed between 1907 and 1909.  At the time, it was the largest hydroelectric project west of Niagara Falls.  The power it generated used to run the electric locomotives that pulled the train through the old Cascade Tunnel.

So far the weather was mild but dark clouds hovered over the Cascade Mountains to the west.  I left Highway 2 and headed north on Highway 207 towards Plain.

I was a few miles down the road when a utility truck passed me and lost a hard hat off of the back.  I picked it up and strapped in on my bike rack in hopes that I would see the work crew and be able to return it.

It didn’t take long to reach the Chumstick Highway intersection that would take me to Plain.  My original plan was to take the highway loop to Plain which would return me to Leavenworth.  The dark clouds to the west still looked threatening but I decided to alter my route and add another 24 miles to it.  This ride was the first one this year that I brought my pannier bags and some extra gear.  I had extra clothing, a water filter pump, and raingear.  By the end of this trek I would use all of those items.

Lake Wenatchee

Lake Wenatchee looking to the west Cascade Mountains

I continued on Highway 207  with Lake Wenatchee to my side.  There was seldom a car to be seen and I had the snow capped mountains all around me.  It was a very peaceful and enjoyable setting.  I stopped at the end of the lake to snap a few photos.

I pushed on around the lake to where the highway ends and National Forest road 65 began.  The metal barricades were closed and a sign told of winter storm damage and trees blocking the road.  This was still a paved road and I thought I would go as far as the road would allow.

NF Road 65

National Forest Road 65

I ended up going approximately 10 more miles on this road.  It was incredible.  The sound of nature  surrounded me.  Over the next 90 minutes I heard nothing to remind me of civilization.    Wildlife was all around me.  I saw many deer, quail, squirrels, rabbits, eagles, and other animals.

I found that somebody’s chainsaw work now allowed me to weave my way down the road past hundreds of fallen trees.  I left the hardhat for some lucky person to find later.  I stopped at one of the many roadside streams to pump some water.  Once my bottles and I were full, I moved on up the road.   As I had gained some elevation and got closer to those dark clouds,  the temperature began to drop.  I could feel that rain was inevitable.  I stopped at the end of paved road where road NF 6500 begins.   It was another 14 miles to Highway 2 but I knew the road was covered in snow a few miles away.  I turned my steed around and headed back towards Plain.

Mountain

I believe this is Mount Mastiff. Taken from the NW end of Lake Wenatchee

With a slight down grade to the road,  I covered the ground quickly.  The fact that a light rain would hit me occasionally was a good incentive to push on harder.  At Lake Wenatchee,  I followed the North Shore Road instead of Highway 207.  This took me through many beautiful lakeside homes and cabins.  By now the feel of heavy rain was in the air.  I knew that at any moment it would be a downpour.  I made it to cover just in time.  The covered front of a little country store on Highway 207 was very welcome.  I hung out with Shilo the black lab and talked with the store owner as an absolute downpour raged for 10 minutes.  The rain stopped, sun broke out, and I was off again.

I pushed on hard down the Chumstick Highway as the threat of more rain following me.  I entered the quaint town of Plain.  Evidence of early settlers was visible in the form of old log cabin structures.  Plain is one of those blink and miss it places.  I ground up and over the ridge that separates the valley where Plain is from Leavenworth, the sky opened up and soaked me.  I found a huge old fir tree at the summit which gave me some protection from the rain.  I changed clothes and donned my raincoat.  I was still soaked from the waist down but knew this wouldn’t bother me.

The sun broke back out for the last 10 miles of the ride.  I was happy to see that this trek ended on a positive and sunny note.  This day had put another 62 miles on my bike which I covered in six hours.  Once I got back to the truck,  I changed into some dry clothes again and headed for home.

I’ll leave you with this one last photo which I took from the shores of Lake Wenatchee.  That fog you see in the upper right part of the photo is the edge of the storm coming my way.

Lake Wenatchee

Lake Wenatchee

Thanks for joining me.

Posted in Bicycling, Lake Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Mountains, Photography, Plain, Washington State | 5 Comments

Monroe, Snohomish, and back to Mukilteo

Shadow Lake

Shadow Lake

With the temperatures expected to be in the high 70s yesterday,  I headed out on another bicycle trek.  I was rolling east from my home of Mukilteo by 10:30.  It was already warm enough that wore shorts and a lightweight bike shirt.  The first part of the ride was spent grinding through the busy city streets.  It wasn’t long and I was in the woods and farmland countryside.   The rolling hills ensured that I not only enjoyed the ride but also got a good workout in.

Shadow Lake

Shadow Lake

While I was on Connely Road,  I detoured at Bob Herman’s Wildlife Park at Thomas Eddy.  I rode down the steep gravel path which led to the trails of Shadow Lake and the Snohomish River bank.  I took a dirt trail through a grove of Maple and Alder trees to the lakeside bank.  A gentle breeze moved the leaves into a chorus accompanied by a few ducks on the lake.  I could have been the only human being in the world as the only sound I heard was the music of nature around me.

Geese

The elusive geese

I rode up and out of the park and pushed on towards Monroe.  I stopped briefly on Elliot Road to play hide and seek with a pair of geese.  They were in a roadside pond and appeared to be camera-shy.  I used some old SWAT sniper skills to sneak a camera shot of them.  My antics attracted the attention of another cyclist who stopped to chat with me.  After we shared a couple of cycling adventure stories we headed out in opposite directions.

I moved on down the road enjoying the sights along the way.  The temperature was over 80 degrees by now.  It was only when I stopped that I really noticed the heat.  Traffic was very light which made the ride even more enjoyable.  I stopped to take a photo of one of the many old barns that decorate the countryside.

Old Barn

Snohomish County Old Barn

I took the High Bridge Road over the Snohomish River and was soon in Monroe.  Early pioneers began to settle in this area in 1860.  They found it very suitable for farming and logging.  I stayed to the south side of town and took the Old Snohomish-Monroe Road.

Cascade Mountains

Cascade Mountains

I had an incredible view of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains as I rode through this area.  I worked my way through the valley to the city of Snohomish.

Snohomish City Hall

Snohomish City Hall

After a stop to photograph the old City Hall building I continued my journey.  I crossed back over the Snohomish River and took the Lowell River Road towards home.  I looked over to the river and saw a harbor seal doing a backstroke on the water’s surface.  For those of you not so familiar with this area, it is many miles inland from the salt water of Possession Sound.  Apparently this fella was hoping to get first dibs on the salmon in the river.

I stopped by my office in Everett before taking on the last 10 miles of the day.  I put another 55 miles on the bike this day and am a little closer to getting into Pike’s Peak climbing shape.

Snohomish Countryside

Snohomish Countryside

Thanks for coming along.

Posted in Bicycling, Mountains, Photography, Snohomish, Washington State | 3 Comments

Chuckanut Drive

Bellingham 1909

Bellingham 1909

The sun warmed this Northwest Washington weekend and was very inviting.  I packed up my bike and headed north.  at Burlington,  I veered west to Chuckanut Drive.  This road follows the shoreline to Bellingham and offers incredible views of the islands to the west.  It became part of the state highway system in 1895.  I parked my truck several miles south of the Skagit County line and was rolling northbound by 10:30. Roadside stream

A word of warning to any who cycle this route.  The roadway offers little accommodation for your bike.  There are many parts of the road that have no shoulder and has either a rock wall or drop off to your side.

It didn’t take long and I was down to wearing a sleeveless lightweight shirt and bike shorts.  This would be the first ride I’ve taken this year that I did not at least start out with long pants and several layers of upper clothing.

The traffic was mild which I appreciated very much.  I made several short stops throughout the day whenever a photo opportunity arose.  In less than an hour I was in Fairhaven.  This town has some of the oldest buildings of the NW.   Fairhaven was incorporated into Bellingham as it joined with Whatcom, Sehome, and Bellingham in 1909.

Fairhaven home

Fairhaven home

This town has always had a fun vibe to it.  There are many little shops and cafe’s that occupy the old buildings.  Most of the town has a great view of Bellingham Bay and the islands beyond.

After a stop at Winn’s Drive Inn,  I pedaled on to Boulevard Park.  Many other people were out enjoying the sun as they walked the boardwalk that joins the south end of town with the park to the north.  Bellingham is a college town  and houses Western Washington University.  The park was full of people walking dogs, playing games, sun bathing, and finding other ways of enjoying the weather.

Fairhaven building

Sycamore Square, Fairhaven. Built in 1890.

I found a sunny spot in the park and enjoyed my greasy lunch from Winn’s.  The bay was full of sail boats dancing on the waves.

Boulevard Park boardwalk

Boulevard Park boardwalk

Bellingham Museum

Bellingham Museum

I jumped back on the bike and continued north through town.  I passed the Farmer’s market area that was buzzing with activity.  I made my was NE through town and onto Marine Drive.  As much as I enjoyed the activity of the city it was good to cruise on the open roads of the countryside.  The commercial building had turned to open farmland and trees.

I made my way towards Birch Bay but stopped a few miles short to visit someone.  It was a quick visit as I had a long ways to go back.  I took a different route back which took me east towards Ferndale on the appropriately named Mountain view Road.

Mt. Baker

Mt. Baker

I stopped at a park next to the river to get some water and put on another layer of sunblock on.    It wasn’t long and I was again entering the Bellingham city limits.   I made a short stop to enjoy the Bellingham Procession of the Species parade.  It was quite entertaining and bizarre.  The costumes people wore were something in between a Maude Graw and Alice and Wonderland type theme and potentially influenced by LSD.

I rolled back on to Chuckanut Drive and stopped at Larrabee State Park.  This is Washington State’s oldest State Park.  I hauled my bike down the beach path steps to enjoy the sunset over the water.

Larrabee State Park

Larrabee State Park

I pushed on for the last few miles where I my truck was parked.   After peddling for 65 miles, I was glad to turn in two wheels for four.  This was a great day and an even better ride.

Thanks for riding with,

Bruce

Posted in Bellingham, Bicycling, Chuckanut Drive, Fairhaven, Mt. Baker, Photography, Washington State, Washington State Parks, Whatcom County | 7 Comments

Mt. Constitution, Orcas Island

Mt Constitution

Mt Constitution Summit

After many months of training indoors and low land riding,  I finally got back to some Mountain Quest trekking.

I headed back to the San Juan Islands to cross another mountain off of the bucket list.  The Anacortes ferry took me to Orcas Island where I began the ride.  There were many other cyclists on the ferry.  They were all headed to Lopez Island for the Tour De Lopez event that would start the next day.  This is a family style event that supports bike riding and sounded like a lot of fun.  I will have to put it on my list of things to do next year as I have other plans for Saturday.

Moran State Park

Moran State Park

I exited the ferry and was soon touring through the countryside.  Fields of sheep, cows, and a few deer kept me company as I rode on.     I made a short stop in Eastsound to get some food as it would be the last chance before hitting the hill.  I entered the Moran State Park and saw the road grade increase.  Many people were enjoying this beautiful park.  It was a very scenic ride with Cascade Lake to my side.

I took note of a few road hazards as I started my climb up the mountain.  Some of the corners with potholes and road debris could surely ruin my day on the way back down if not avoided.

Mountain Stream

Mountain Stream

I stopped to enjoy the mountain stream on my way up.

I tackled the biggest chunk of elevation gain for this ride.  There are approximately 5.5 miles of road that climbs up the last 1,500 feet.  I seldom saw any gear on my bike but 1st and 2nd for this section of road.

I made it to the top and realized immediately it was well worth the grind.  Even on this cloudy day the view was incredible.

Mt Constitution

Mt. Constitution summit looking east

Mt. Baker and the snow capped Cascade Mountains were beautiful.  There is an observation tower that looks like something from Medieval times.

Mt Constitution tower

Mt Constitution Tower

I took a photo from inside the tower doorway and adjusted the highlights to bring out the moss that covered the rock walls.

Mt Constitution tower

Mt Constitution tower

It was a bit cold up on top so my stay was short.   After a brief photo session,  I bundled up and headed down the mountain.  I bulleted down the road only touching the brakes on a couple of the tightest of corners.  What a rush!

I realized I would have to really push myself on the way back if I were to make the ferry boat ride I wanted.   For the next hour it was pedal to the max.  I rolled into the ferry line three minutes before boarding.  I was winded and wiped out from the day’s ride but felt a sense of satisfaction for accomplishing the day’s events.  This ride was the first step in preparing for the July Pike’s Peak, Colorado ride that awaits me.  My mission for the next two months will be to take my body to the limit in preparation for the ride of a lifetime.

I recommend this Mt Constitution ride to all as I believe you too will enjoy it as much as I.

 

Thanks for joining me  and until next time….Carpe Diem.

Posted in Bicycling, Ferry, Mount Constitution, Mountains, Orcas Island, Photography, San Juan Islands, Washington State, Washington State Parks | 7 Comments

San Juan Island

San Juan Island Loop

48 miles

On Friday morning the weather report had me smiling.  What better way is there to begin the Easter weekend other than in the sun warmed San Juan Islands.  I was up early and headed to the Anacortes ferry dock by 6:30 Friday morning.  Unfortunately there was thick fog which I hoped would soon lift.  With my truck parked in the lot, and my bike lashed to the ferry,  I was on the 8:30 westbound  boat.

San Juan Islands

San Juan Islands

I found the photo above on the web and thought it would help you appreciate the beauty of the San Juan Islands and surrounding area.

I met a couple interesting people on the ferry ride and enjoyed a great conversation with Tony and Lis from New Jersey.  Tony came to the US from Peru as a child and Lis was from Puerto Rico.  Their weekend destination was Victoria, BC where they planned to enjoy this sunny Easter weekend.   As I was writing this story a couple days later,  Tony contacted me to tell of his brand new  AnthonyTravels.Wordpress.com  page.  I will be keeping an eye on this one.

American Camp

American Camp

The fog thinned but still limited the view substantially.  This also slowed the ferry ride as the captain throttled down the engines to avoid a collision with unknown obstacle lurking beyond.  I exited the boat in Friday Harbor and started pedaling.  I elected to tour the island perimeter clockwise and check out the southern tip first.  For those of you that have not visited Friday Harbor, I highly recommend it.  It is largely supported by the tourist industry and has a variety of shops, restaurants, and other fun things.

Officer Quarters

Officer Quarters

The downtown buildings faded in my mirror and I was soon traveling through the open fields and countryside.   I entered the National Historic Park, American Camp as I neared the southern island tip.  This area was a US military camp from 1859-1872.  San Juan Island has some very unique history.  For twelve years the US and the British each had a military camp on the island, separated only by several miles.   Each side was there to protect their contry’s property interests.  Both sides claimed ownership of the island.  Things got very heated and nearly resulted in combat between the two forces after a pig was shot for tearing up a garden.

I took a few side trips to look at various old buildings and sites that were part of the American Camp.  There are many information boards throughout the site that tell of the history and to display photos of the once bustling camp.

Island Countryside

Island Countryside

Unfortunately the fog would not allow me to see if there were any grey whales negotiating the saltwater around Cattle Point.  I headed back north until I hit a westbound road that follows the island coast.  I was teased by clear sky as I hit a few hills but was back in the fog when the road dipped down toward the shore.

I took a side trip to check out the Lime Kiln lighthouse.  It is about 1/2 way up the island on the west side.  It has been many years since I have been in this area and knew it had a lighthouse worthy of photos.

Lime Kiln Lighthouse

Lime Kiln Lighthouse

This is also an Orca whale pod tracking station that will let you know where the whales are and when you can expect to see them in the area.  It is a little too early in the year to typically see them now.  Today the whales could have been  25 yards off of the shore and would be well concealed in the fog.

I headed back down the road and took another side trip at the San Juan County Park.

San Juan County Park

San Juan County Park

 This park is located in a beautiful cove.  After taking a few photos and filling my water bottle, I headed back out.

British Camp

British Camp

The fog lifted as I stopped at the British Camp.  The American Camp may have had the better tactical position but this camp was much nicer looking.  The hillside once had several buildings on it which housed the commander and officers.  It would have been prime view real estate that allowed for them to observe camp activity and the waters to the west and north.

Roche Harbor

Roche Harbor

Before I knew it I was entering Roche Harbor.  By now I was down to a light shirt as the sun covered me.  I love Roche Harbor.  It holds many fond memories of being here with friends and family.  It has changed much over the years.  Where once stood a very old and broken down home now has many high end condos.

I made my way down to the marina and looked for a place to get lunch.  During the summer this place is buzzing with activity.  There was a very relaxing slow pace feel to the place now.  I found a café and laid claim to a sun soaked picnic table with a view of the marina.  I did my best to replenish calories with an outstanding pulled pork sandwich and fries.

Roche Harbor Church

Roche Harbor Church

I tootled around town taking a few photos and talking to people I met.  If you come here plan on at least half of the day to check out the many sites.  One day I hope to stay in the old Hotel De Haro which has an incredible view of the harbor.

Roche Harbor

Roche Harbor

Mousoleum

Mausoleum at Roche Harbor

Mausoleum Markers

Mausoleum Markers

On the north side of town one of the founding families built a mausoleum on the hill.  When it was built the trees had been cleared which would have provided a panoramic view of the harbor and surrounding waters.  Each chair at the round table is a marker for one of the family members.

Lime Kilns

Lime Kilns

I would have loved to stay longer but knew I needed to finish the island loop and head back to Friday Harbor for the ferry ride home.  I found yet another photo opportunity along the way.  The only schooling done here now is that of wine making for San Juan Vineyards.

Old Schoolhouse

Old Schoolhouse

I enjoyed the ferry ride home as the sun moved low in the west sky.  Days like this remind me of how much this life has to offer and be thankful for.

Sunset

Goodnight

Thanks for the ride.

Posted in Bicycling, Friday Harbor, National Parks, Photography, Roche Harbor, San Juan Islands, Washington State, Washington State Ferries | 6 Comments