When Justin finished school last December we vowed to each other that at least once a month we would take a trip. It didn't have to be extravagant, but it had to be exciting to ensure we could escape our busy lives from the city. We traveled for 4 years overseas before returning to Seattle and it has been a hard transition giving that up; travel is absolutely necessary in our lives. We loosely stuck to our weekend adventure motto while Justin was in school, but funds were tight and it was a bit straining to get out every month to places that were truly itching our souls. Of course our desired destinations center around the outdoors and running because there is simply nothing more rejuvenating. Last weekend happened to be my birthday, which also fell over the Orcas Island 50k. Neither of us were at a training point to race so we decided to register as volunteers. One of my goals this year is to volunteer at a race for every race I run. So many people give their time for Justin and I while we race that it's only sensible to do the same and pay it back. After all, races are not possible without their volunteers.
We stayed at the Outlook Inn, a cozy historical hotel that was established in 1888 with European style bedrooms. It was perfectly simple and quiet, which was exactly what we needed after spending long days running through Moran State Park. The Inn was just a block away from Brown Bear Baking, which was surprisingly busy for the off-season. The croque monsieurs and savory cheddar scones did not disappoint and held us over for hours on the trails.
Orcas Island is a special place to me because I grew up going to Camp Orkila. It was during my summers in the San Juans where I learned how to sail, fish, kayak, throw pottery, make friendship bracelets, play capture the flag and partake in countless wonderful childhood adventures. Every time I return to the San Juans I feel the same elated satisfaction I had when I was younger. Everything just feels right being in the woods of Orcas Island.
The day of the race we ran the Cascade Lake trail and up to Mt. Constitution via the Cable Line trail (steep!). We crested the mountain just before racers hauled their way up and tried to amp people's spirits with our duo cheer squad. After coating every inch of ourselves in mud from the trails we raced back to shower before coming back to the finish line and volunteer at the merchandise table. Rainshadow Running hosts the Orcas Island 50k and had some serious finish line festivities with live folk music, wood fire pizza, and tons of beer on tap. I don't know how much pizza I ended up eating but I almost had to roll myself out of the lodge to get back to our hotel.
Our last morning on the island was warm and clear. In case you missed the memo... winter never happened in the PNW. There was a gorgeous view of Canada from the top of Mt. Constitution. We decided to surpass our checkout time and ditch showering so we could stay on the trails until the absolute last minute before catching the ferry home. We grabbed a couple massive breakfast burritos from Island Skillet and then sailed back to the mainland.
I am an outdoor and travel junkie who is currently completing my doctorate in occupational therapy overseas in rural Fiji. On Sweet World Travels you will find stories of my life with my husband, the communities we serve, and the many adventures we take.