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Our trip begins this morning in Friday Harbor, Washington, located in the San Juan Islands archipelago. Meet your guides and fellow travelers this morning near the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal. After a quick round of introductions, a short van ride delivers us to Jackson’s Beach for lunch, followed by a bike fitting for the today’s ride. Hopping on our bikes and followed by van support, we pedal to Cattle Point Lighthouse, which sits on the south end of the island. Along the way, our guides share the inspiration behind its name and insights into the contentious history of San Juan Island. After checking out the lighthouse, we continue our ride to Lime Kiln State Park, considered by some to be one of the best shoreline viewpoints in the world to spot whales. We then check into our comfortable canvas tent cabins at Lakedale Resort. Tonight’s dinner, made with locally sourced ingredients, in prepared by our guides. Lunch and dinner included.
Cycling: Up to 22 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1536’/-1465’
We have an early start to catch our ferry from Friday Harbor to Orcas Island. Today we drive to Moran State Park on Orcas Island and hike up to the summit of Mt. Constitution (2,409’), the highest point in the San Juan Islands. The trail meanders along Mountain Lake before starting the switchbacks to the top. We enjoy a picnic lunch along the way. At the top, we enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of Mount Baker, the North Cascades, and the other islands of the San Juan Archipelago from a stone watchtower built in 1936. It’s all downhill from here in our van with a stop in the artsy village of East Sound to explore the shops before boarding our ferry to back to San Juan Island. Returning to Lakedale Resort, we’ll enjoy dinner and discuss preparations for tomorrow’s kayaking overnight to Stuart Island. All meals included.
Hiking: 6.7 miles. 1,490’ elevation gain/loss
Following breakfast, we transfer to Roche Harbor, pack our dry bags into tandem kayaks and begin our paddling trip to Stuart Island. We head into Spieden Channel to explore the shorelines of Spieden and Sentinal Islands before reaching Stuart Island. We set up camp at Stuart Island State Park, which has primitive sites with picnic tables, fire pits and composting toilets. There is time to relax in camp, or we stretch our legs on a hike to Turn Point Lighthouse. This is among the most scenic overlooks in the Pacific Northwest! The guides prepare dinner and share the history of the area over a campfire. All meals included.
Sea Kayaking: 7-10 miles (4-5 hours) on open water with waves, tides, currents. Hiking: 5 miles (3 hours)
We pack our gear into our kayaks, then paddle across Spieden Channel towards the north side of San Juan Island. We watch for eagles, seals, porpoise and orca whales; much of the saltwater and shoreline in the islands is a protected wildlife refuge so sightings of birds and mammals is a regular occurrence. Following the coastline, we peer into tide pools to find invertebrate and plant life. A picnic lunch on a remote beach provides fuel for our return to Roche Harbor. Arriving in the mid-afternoon, we unpack our kayaks and transfer to Lakedale Resort. The next two nights are spent in log cabins, or we stay in rooms at the lodge. The guides prepare another outstanding dinner. All meals included.
Sea Kayaking: 10-12 miles (4-6 hours) on open water with waves, tides, currents
We board one of the most environmentally friendly boats in the islands to view the diverse marine life that surrounds us. In the company of an expert naturalist we look for orca whales, humpbacks, porpoises and more. Anyone not wishing to go on the whale watching tour can join the guides for a scenic hike around Mt. Finlayson and Jakle’s Lagoon. The trail, located on the southern tip of San Juan Island, meanders through grasslands and forests of Douglas fir, hemlock and cedar to the driftwood covered beaches of the lagoon. After the hike or whale watching cruise, we reconvene for a tour of some very special local farms to learn about sustainable agriculture in the islands, how to raise Alpacas for wool, and how to cultivate fragrant lavender. Returning to Lakedale, we enjoy dinner and an evening of relaxation. All meals included.
Boat cruise (4 hours) or hiking 3-5 miles (2-4 hours).
Packing up, we transfer to Roche Harbor for a sea kayaking excursion around Henry Island to English Camp on San Juan Island. English Camp is a National Historic Park, created after the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over possession of San Juan Island in 1859, the crisis ignited by the death of a pig. Those not wishing to kayak can hike with a guide up Mount Young (646’) to enjoy views of Vancouver Island, the Olympic range and the Gulf Islands. Continuing the hike we reach English Camp, where we gather as a group for a picnic lunch. The trip concludes with a transfer to the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal. We plan to arrive by 4pm. Departures by float plane or ferry can be booked for any time after 5pm. Breakfast and lunch included.
Sea Kayaking: 4-6 miles (2-4 hours) on open water with waves, tides, currents. Hiking: 3 miles (2-3 hours) with 600' elevation gain/loss.