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Cascades Sea to Summit Kayaking

Wed, 07/31/2019 - 14:38

Alpengirl Camp San Juan IslandsBack from the high seas! The Cascade Sea to Summit girls are tired but triumphant after three days of sea kayaking in the San Juan Islands! We have enjoyed exploring the archipelago over the past five days, starting with an impromptu trip to Lopez Island after our cleanup and re-supply in Anacortes. 

Having showered and loaded our coolers with fresh food, we woke up for yoga under the cedar trees and a delicious breakfast of Rainbow Hash with nectarines prepared by Sarah, who is earning her cooking bead. Then we packed up and headed to the ferry line, where we had a special surprise for LOD Sophia--the Artist care package from Sophia's family! Which we enjoyed on the beach as we waited for the ferry to Lopez. The girls wrote postcards home as we made the crossing. We spent the day exploring Lopez Island, from a local bakery to splashing in the crystal waters of Watmough Bay. Debbie won a Whale Breach Alpenolympic Event for her whale impression, and the girls napped on the beach and munched grilled cheese, tomato soup and raspberries for lunch.

The golden evening was spent at Alpenguide Laura's family farm, where we had our campfire dinner, s'mores, a soak in a wood heated hot tub and finally glimpsed a few shooting stars as we fell asleep beneath the orchard trees. It was delightful and we felt ready for another adventure!

The next morning saw us on the ferry again eating Hawaiian Breakfast Bruschetta and hard boiled eggs on our way to Friday Harbor. We packed our kayaking gear and were on the water under clear blue skies by late morning. It was a challenging 9 mile paddle to Jones Island against the current, but LOD Debbie kept us motivated and we were inspired by Laura and Zoey, our incredible kayaking guides. We camped above the beach on Jones island with views over the water to the south. The girls chose to sleep under the stars for the whole kayaking trip, and the meteor shower has continued to give us plenty of shooting stars to see. 

Our second kayaking day, led by LOD Maddie, we paddled to a small beach on San Juan, sighting orcas along the way, what a treat!! There was a group of four transient orcas heading north some distance in front of our kayaks. We visited a small beach on San Juan for tidepooling fun; each girl presented her own imaginary tidepool creature at a pretend Alpengirl marine biology conference, and Ellie won the Alpenolympic Event with her presentation about orange sea cucumbers. We also learned about some real tidepool creature with help from Laura and Zoey.

In the afternoon we paddled to the north side of Jones Island for lunch and swimming, then we concluded our paddling with a circumnavigation of the island, observing river otters and sea birds. Back at camp we explored the trails and bluffs of the island, and did a blindfolded tree identification activity :) Then we noshed on Sloppy Joes and watermelon and set up for our talent show. It was quite an event, with lots of creative acts and laughter, much of which was due to the wisecracks of our talent show MC, Debbie. Annie, Sydney and Sophia had us in stitches with their Bedtime Routine skit, and Elsie and Maddie wrote a rap about shopping at Costco! But Ellie and Josie stole the show with an act entitled “Life After Camp."

Our final day of kayaking dawned with a stiff breeze, inspiring Clara to lead some caterpillar yoga so the girls could start in their sleeping backs. Josie lead a sun salutation for her Yoga bead, then we warmed up our insides with some Sweet Brown Rice. Our paddle back to the starting point was a good challenge for the group, with headwinds, waves in the channel and some tricky currents. But the girls rose to the challenge magnificently, encouraging each other and really showing the strength and confidence they gained on the water in just three days. We stopped close to the end for a long and leisurely lunch on Turn Island. We were sad to part ways with our kayaking guides, but happy to fill up on fettuccini and peach crisp this evening, followed by a talk about the inspiration female figures in our lives lead by Maya for her Group Living bead.

Today (Wednesday July 31) we are looking forward to a bit of a sleep-in morning and exploring in Friday Harbor with souvenir shopping, ice cream and then final closing ceremony before taking ferry back to the mainland and camping one last night together near Seattle Airport. This has been a wonderful trip!