We got into Seattle around 9pm on Thursday night and drove straight to my sister, Leigh Ann's, house in Silverdale keeping them up past their bedtime and arriving around 11:00pm. Straight to bed and up early to get to the Kingston ferry at 9:40am Friday.
On the ferry. These things are gigantic!
The day dawned beautiful with sun and calm air. This allowed us to hang out on the bow of the ferry.
Allison spied this bald eagle hanging out on a post near the ferry landing at Edmonds. Our first ferry ride of the day was about 35 minutes.
From Edmonds it was an hour and a half drive or so to Annacortes, WA where we'd catch our second ferry ride of the day out to Orcas Island. I misread the ferry schedule and thought there was a ferry at 2:00pm. However, no. We had some time to kill for the 3:00pm ferry instead.
A cool, decomposing ship serves as a plant potter for those trees and grass
In line at the ferry. It's common for people to arrive an hour or more early, park and go walk around or hang out in the cafe.
I believe these are the peaks near Vancouver
Our ferry has arrived. Cost for the two of us plus our vehicle was $32. That is round-trip, at least.
The ferry interiors are very spacious with some large, comfortable benches.
A previous participant of the Orcas Island run. The ferry was full of runners. Pretty cool.
Mt. Baker seen in the distance from the ferry
Arriving at Orcas Island dock
From the ferry landing we drove about 15 minutes to the town of Eastsound where we indulged in massages at the Orcas Island spa. Perfect for getting relaxed and loose before the race the next day and a nice early Valentine's Day outing
Unfortunately since we didn't arrive on Orcas Island until 4:30pm and had massages scheduled for 5pm, we didn't get to our room at the Cascade Harbor Inn until well after dark. This is the next morning at 6:45am. The view of Cascade Harber from the deck of the room was very nice. Unfortunately we didn't get to enjoy it long.
The race director, James Varner, runs a very “green” race. Personal hand bottles for the aid stations are encouraged and, if you don't use your own bottle, reusuable plastic glasses are used. Carpooling and public shuttles are organized for runners coming to the island and race participants' shirts are hand picked from the local Goodwill stores and the race logo is pressed onto them. Here runners get to select their unique shirt.
The main cabin at Camp Moran complete with lots of seating, flush toilets and a large kitchen.
That's my “I'm eating a cold, stiff Shot Block” look.
Getting ready to head to the start line. It was warm enough that I jettisoned the long sleeve shirt too.
Runners lining up for the 8:30am start. The really fast looking guy, yeah, that one, in front here later got off course at an intersection where some flags had been removed. That cost him loads of time and energy and resulted in a 5:50ish finish time.
While I was out running, Allison drove up to the top of Mt. Consititution (2,409'), the highest point in the San Juan Islands, and got some great photos.
Mt. Baker (10,781') has some serious prominence, 8,812'!
Mt. Rainier (14,411') has even more prominence than Mt. Baker--13,211'!
Home of the 2010 winter Olympics, Vancouver, B.C., can be seen in the foreground of this photo
Cascade Lake. We ran around it in the final miles of the 50k race. It's really impressive the number of lake, streams and falls have the word “Cascade” in them in Washington.
RD James Varner hard at work while the runners are hard at play (or is it work also?)
That's me in the green coming into the start/finish area for the first of two aid stations on the course, at mile 10ish. With a number of 25k and 50k runners out there I had no idea what place I was in here. I thought I heard two guys in front me of say something about second and third place but that seems highly unlikely.
Heading back out for the second half (and then some).
A tree in bloom
Flowers in bloom. Apparently the El Nino winter is really playing a cruel joke on the local flora
A the finish line well before I arrived...
And now coming into the finish line...
Striding it out for the crowd
I finished in 5:38:16. 20th of 126 50k runners. Running the course was awesome. It's almost entirely soft, smooth single track through some amazing, super lush and green forests. One section in particular, around mile 14 perhaps, has to be some of the best single track I've ever run. A perfect slight downhill grade, smooth, soft dirt surrounded by a well-spaced glade of mossy green trees made for super sweet running.
James and the timers working out the details.
I went inside the mess hall to enjoy a couple cups of locally-brewed IPA on tap and eat some piping hot vegetable stew cooked up by the wonderful volunteers. Meanwhile, Allison napped in the car.
We missed the early vehicle ferry off the island that morning and the next one didn't arrive until 6:15pm so we got in line early to ensure we got on that one, had some espresso at the local shop and hung out. It made for a long night getting us back to Leigh Ann and Jesse's in Silverdale at 11pm.
Sunday morning, Allison, Mom and I caught the Bremerton-Seattle ferry over to downtown Seattle for a little sightseeing.
Allison and downtown Seattle
Of course, for outdoorsy types, the flagship REI in Seattle is a must see. And I'm glad we went--I ran into a friend of mine, Day Frostenson, from Los Alamos there. He is now living in the Seattle area and doing great it sounded.
Next was the Pike Place Market where I could easily get my fill of seafood and crowds. Awesome! In this photo I just liked the light on the towers above the market.
If it weren't for our GPS, I'd have been way lost
Mom and Allison at the famous market
Back at Leigh Ann's and Jesse's for the super bowl party. My neice Haileigh inflating a balloon
And nephew Caiden carrying around a toy gun that is larger than him
Nephew Zackary on the Iron Maiden blanket