Friday, August 2, 2013

San Juan Islands: The First Step

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Laozi

Well. I didn't cover a thousand miles on my day's journey through Washington's beautiful San Juan islands

And it wasn't exactly a step I took to get the ball rolling.

But by driving a few short meters onto the car deck of a world-class Washington State Ferry, I did indeed kick-start an amazing adventure.

Here was my view of the ferry dock in mainland Anacortes, just a short distance from my parking spot in the ferry holding area.  I saw sand, sky, sea, and the old deteriorating stumps of the loading docks of the salmon cannery that once occupied this beach. A nice nautical scene, but my eyes were just getting warmed up.

And here is the view from my car, once I rolled onto the ferry. Yep, I was directed to a spot right up at the front of the car deck, and the view was dandy: more sky, more sea, and now mountains, open water, and an incoming ferry. Seabirds congregated on the piers along the docks, and the imposing magnitude of our craft had a powerful beauty all its own.

Interesting and admirable vistas. But the scenery was about to get much better.

Because as we sailed away from the dock, my second- and fourth-born daughters and I hiked up to the top deck of the four-level ferry, and for the next 65 minutes, in the chill July winds of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, took in the most beautiful landscape that you could ever imagine. 

 Isn't this incredible? No wonder I was smiling.

We took a billion pictures, did some entertaining people-watching, and huddled together for warmth in the icy breeze.

But most of all, we watched breathlessly for our first glimpse of Friday Harbor. Tucked into a secret hiding spot between the islands, this little island town was our ferry's destination, and the place where our journey would continue to unfold.

We had already taken our first step, but there was much, much more to come.

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Read more about my adventures on San Juan Island:

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