Allyson and I decided kind of last minute to head to Washington State for the holidays. We hadn't met our 5 month old twin nephews yet, and the rest of Allyson's family was planning a trip up there to see them and the rest of the clan. Obviously, we couldn't be in the Seattle area and not make it back to Orcas Island. We were last there for our wedding in August 2012. We have been there several time during summer months, but I had never been there in the winter. I was expecting dark and rainy the entire time and I was still fine with that. Nothing quite like getting cozy next to a fire looking out on the rain over the water with the fog covering the trees. However, we were pleasantly surprised! It only rained one morning in the 3 1/2 days we were there. And even then, we made the most of it.
Day 1 - Getting to Orcas
We stayed in a well-appointed studio at SeaStar Lofts right in Eastsound, directly on the water. It's a great little place from which we could walk to restaurants, beaches, shops, etc. I think in the summer, the noise from the bar and grill next door would get annoying, but in the winter it was perfect! And watching the sunrises and sunsets while warming up next to our gas stove was exactly what we were aiming for on this trip!
In the morning, we took our time getting up and around. We watched the sunrise while drinking our tea. We didn't feel like getting in our car right away, so we decided to go for a long walk around Eastsound. We went down by Odd Fellows Hall, where we got married (you can see more of our wedding photos here and here), and out on the dock at the end of Haven Road. Then we went north of town by the school, and then over to Ship Bay to walk along the beach for awhile.
After our lovely walk, we went back to our studio and made some lunch. Then we got in the car and drove over to Turtleback Mountain Preserve for a hike. When I first started coming to Orcas Island, this area wasn't open for hiking. This was our first time exploring the trails on Turtleback Mountain. Most visitors frequent the more popular (and also incredible) Moran State Park. Both are worth a visit! If you have never been to Orcas Island, you have to hike Mount Constitution. You can see details of our last hike up Mount Constitution here. However, since we've done that a few times, I was excited to explore a new part of the island.
I provide more details about our two hikes in Turtleback Mountain Preserve on other posts (Turtleback North and Turtleback South). However, here are a couple highlights from this day's hike (5.5 miles) from the North Trailhead out to Waldron Overlook and Turtlehead (1005 feet).