Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ship Peak Hike on Orcas Island

Hike: Ship Peak Loop in Turtleback Mountain Preserve
Hike Difficulty: Moderate 
Hike Distance (Round Trip): about 3 miles
Time (Round Trip): 1.5-2 hours
Elevation: Ship Peak 931 feet

In previous posts, I gushed about Turtleback Mountain Preserve and how incredible it is. We went on two hikes in the preserve when we were on Orcas Island in December. Details about our hike in the north section of the park can be found here. We enjoyed Turtlehead Hike in the north section of the park so much that we made sure we had time to go on another hike before leaving on the ferry at 12:15pm on our last day. I honestly couldn't tell you which one to go on if you had to pick one. Both were awesome, so either do both or know that you won't be disappointed with either one!

I realize this photo is not terrific because of the condensation on the trailhead map; however, it can still help you in visualizing the trail and planning your hike. 

We started out on the South Trail from the Wildrose Lane trailhead, and then veered off the wide trail to the left for the single track Lost Oak Trail. And then we hiked up and up and up. The forest in this section of the park is very different from the forest on the Turtlehead hike, and I was glad we got to check out all of the park's diversity. 

 I just can't get over how GREEN it was on Orcas. I was so thankful for this trip, since it is incredibly brown and bare in North Carolina right now. 

 There were many vista points along this trail, not just at Ship Peak. And the views seemed to change before our eyes because the fog continued to move. 

Considering a Madrona tree tattoo and this one looks like the perfect one!

At this sign, we turned right towards Ship Peak. 

 This section of the trail didn't seem to exactly match what the map indicates. We just kept following signs for Ship Peak and continued on the trail after Ship Peak to meet back up with loop trail. In other words, there is no need to go out and back to the vista point. The trail loops back to the main trail.

This actually reminds me of the spanish moss in South Carolina.

Once we met back up with the main trail, we followed it down with a short stop at West Overlook (760 feet). We could see all of Crow Valley out to the north side of the island and south towards West Sound. It was beautiful to see the fog hanging over several of the farms perfectly placed throughout Crow Valley. Can you tell how much I love this place? 

 Yes, it looks like sunset, but it's actually 11am. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest in winter. 

 Crow Valley

 It was really this green. I did not do a thing to this picture. 

We made it back down the trail quickly (too quickly for my taste) and drove the 10 minutes to the ferry. Our visit was too short, but it always is. I am just thankful we know of this place and will come back to visit again and again. In the meantime, I'm glad I got some good pictures to remind me of the feeling I have on Orcas. 

 Quick stop on the side of the road on our way back to the ferry. 

The sun lighting up the Madrona trees

Directions to Wildrose Trailhead from Eastsound
Head south on Orcas Road for 1.2 miles. 
At Y, turn right on Crow Valley Road.
In 5.3 miles, turn right on Deer Harbor Road.
Turn right on Wildrose Lane. Parking area will be on your right. Enjoy!

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