All of the communities on Orcas Island are small but Olga, despite being pretty tiny, had caught my attention because of its store. Currently closed, this had been a long lived facility. The community is currently working to try and get it opened up again. I imagine it is going to be a struggle since there aren’t too many customers within range. Hopefully they can do something. We stopped off and had a brief wander around the area near the store and down to the water’s edge. With the sun out, it was a tranquil spot, even if we did wonder whether someone was going to come out and ask us what we were doing there. (They didn’t but we did feel like we were an oddity there.)
The holiday weekend meant the San Juan Islands were definitely the place to be if you had a boat. We saw plenty of boats coming and going including plenty of sailing boats. Some seemed either to be racing or training together too. I just grabbed some shots of the boats when I could. The evening light on a spinnaker really looks very nice.
One great feature of traveling to more remote areas away from the cities is the clear skies you can get at night. The ability to see plenty of stars when the sun has gone is great. With summer approaching, the sun takes quite a while to go down so I had to wait until quite late to get a shot that I wanted. I could have waited even later but I wasn’t that committed to the shot. I wasn’t using a fast lens so, even with higher ISO, I was still using a 30 second exposure. Even at 16mm, this still shows up some motion in the stars. Ideally, I would have taken a fast wide lens but I didn’t bother renting one for the trip so this will have to do.
For some reason, I don’t think this made it to a post previously. Nancy and I were going through some old shots from vacations in the UK and we made a stop in Beaulieu at the beginning of a trip nearly a decade ago. (This stop included me having a nap in the car as the jet lag caught up with me.). One of the funny things of this visit was that some cattle were wandering through the middle of the village. If you have ever been to Yellowstone, you know that the bison have priority over the cars. UK cattle might not have the same weight as a bison but I assure you that the average UK motorist is not going to try their luck.
Moran State Park provided a great place for some hiking. It is a pretty shady and damp environment, though. As we were heading down one trail, we came to a bridge over the river. The bridge seemed to have most of its surfaces covered in moss. The lack of direct light must have made it an ideal location for the moss to thrive.
Lime Kiln Point is a popular spot for watching whales. A humpback was not far offshore but a Steller’s sea lion came swimming up along the shore. It was very close in and headed past the lighthouse and to the north. We went back to watching for the whale. A little while later, a snort came from our right with a spray of water. The Steller’s was back and was bobbing in the water right in front of us. It hung around long enough to take a couple of shots and then it went back north. I think it was jealous of the attention the whale was getting!
Our walk in Moran State Park included a diversion up the hills to see some falls. There were two that I was expecting to see. The first of these was Rustic Falls. It was not supposed to be a big waterfall and that was the case. However, it was quite pretty. I wandered down to the water’s edge to try and get some shots of it. I was using the M6 which comes with a tilting screen. That really makes like so much easier when trying to get a shot very low to the ground. No need to lie on the earth or to fit a tilting eye piece. Just tilt the screen up, put the camera as low as you want, and get the shot. I wish my higher end cameras had the same capability!
The misty mornings at Orcas were not only pretty atmospheric to wake up to but they also could make for interesting shots of the ferries. As the banks of fog rolled in and out, the boats could disappear and reappear. As they backed out and spun around, they could be right on the edge of disappearing. Since we were facing south, the whole scene was backlit which made it look even more interesting.
Driving up to the summit of Mount Constitution, the road twists and turns a great deal. Some of the curves have a steep drop off which will not end well if your vehicle were to leave the paved surface. Consequently, there are plenty of concrete posts along the edge of the road to try and stop you going too far wrong. However, it is so shady and damp within the woods the cover the side of the mountain, these posts get no light and have become home for moss. It looks so thick that you wonder whether the car would even be scratched it you hit one!
Orcas Island is the location for Moran State Park. It includes Cascades Lake which makes for a nice hike. We extended the hike slightly to include some waterfalls but they will get a post of their own (or two). In the low winter light, the lake looks really beautiful. The trail brings you out in little bays but you are never too far from the water. The trail is not along the shore and the terrain is a little steeper than you might expect but it is still a pretty simple hike. Meanwhile, you get to enjoy the lovely views so it doesn’t feel like too much exertion at all.