Monday, July 5, 2010

On the Road to the Washington Coast!

Last week Blakely and I had the awesome opportunity to road trip to the Washington coast with my parents! Two of the greatest people I know. We shared many laughs and diet cokes (and consequently frequent bathroom stops) along our 15 hour car ride to Birch Bay, Washington which lies just 15 mins from the Canadian border.

We stayed in a condo along the beach and were able to take day trips to Bellingham, Ana Cortes, San Juan Island, and Vancouver, Canada.

Trip Highlights Include:
  • Bathroom Break in Twin Falls to watch base jumpers jump off the 486 foot Perrine bridge over the Snake river. Crazy! This was actually a married couple from San Diego that jumps off stuff to keep their relationship strong.
  • Pike Place Market in Seattle: We had to pay $14 to park for one hour! so we tried to soak in as much of the cultural experience in a short amount of time as possible. Someday I would love to return to explore this glorified farmers market, buy fresh produce and fish for dinner, and "people watch" for hours. 

Always staying true to the Jazz!

I have always wanted to buy/receive fresh flowers from a farmers market so even though we still had a 3 hour car ride ahead of us, I made Blakely buy me flowers. They were so beautiful! But, they only lasted a day and a half. So worth it though.

  • Fragrance Lake Hike in Bellingham: This beautiful hike winded through the thick moss-covered Washington forest, popped out for views of the ocean, and ended with a 1/2 mile loop around hidden Fragrance Lake. I will admit it smelled much like many other lakes I have been to, but it was beautiful.

SO much moss!

I have never seen bigger slugs in my life and they were everywhere! I wonder how many suffer death from hiker boot.

Oceanview with the San Juan Islands in the background (I think).
Look at the Dr. Suess spider plants in the background

  • Ferry to San Juan Island: We took the Washington State Ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. 

Being on San Juan  reminded me a lot of visiting Avalon while living on Catalina Island; lots of quaint tourist shops filled with stuff I would never buy, local overpriced restaurants, and the harbor filled with the most ridiculously large yachts. 

We traveled by bus to Rouche Harbor where we had a Bocce Ball tournament: Boys vs. Girls
 The boys won!
Rouche Harbor was filled with the most beautiful gardens. Blakely was a good sport as  I took picture after picture.

Blakely likes to pretend he has big muscles.

We also crossed the island to Whale Watch Park which is known as one of the best places in the world to view whales. Over 80 Orcas make their home along this coast during the summer. We did see whales! They  were far offshore and very small, but with the help of binoculars we were able to make out their fins as they surfaced and the big splash as they breached. 

Vancouver: My parents let us take the car and venture up to Vancouver, Canada for the day. They would have loved to join us but turns out their passports expired 6 years ago! We started the day by wandering through the Farmers Market at Granville Island, and exploring the parks along the harbor.
Our delicious raspberry tart and turtle cheesecake breakfast!
Next we went to the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge which suspends 165 feet above the Lynn Creek.  You can pay $30 to visit the Capilano Bridge in Vancouver which rises 230 feet over the Capilano River, but we were perfectly content crossing this swaying bridge for free! 

When we were planning our day in Vancouver we wanted to find a quick hike we could do that would give us views of the ocean. We found the perfect hike; 1.8 miles to the top of Grouse Mountain where you get a great view of the ocean as well as explore several tourist areas on top.  The locals call this hike the Grouse Grind. You climb 2800 ft in 1.8 miles! Blakely and I have been on our fair share of hikes but lets just say this was crazy!

We were greeted by this intense warning sign before we began our hike. It almost talked me out of going.

What does 2800 ft in 1.8 miles look like? STAIRS! All the way up!

Only 1/4 way? Seriously!

We made it to the top and we had beautiful views of the ocean harbor.

Because the trail is so steep so they required all hikers to ride the gondola back down the mountain. We gladly paid the 5 bucks for the safe ride down.

Before we traveled back down the mountain, we took advantage of the tourist stops on top of Grouse Mountain  including a lumberjack competition! These two lumberjacks were world renowned tree climbers and log rollers.

  • Sea Kayaking in Semiahoo Bay: Blakely and I met in a kayaking class at BYU but we have never been able to go again. On our last day Blakely, my mom, and I rented kayaks and were able to explore the Semiahoo Bay. We were able to to kayak to a long dock full of about 30 pregnant seals. The seals lay out on the dock during the final weeks leading up to their birth and then they actually give birth on the dock. We were then able to kayak further along the bay to view a sunken ship which we could see really well because the tide was so low. We ended the trip with a race whose winner is still being debated.

I'm so grateful we were able to spend such an incredible week together with my parents!