Paddling the San Juans With The J-Pod

Written by Pam

Continued from page 1

Jesse was a treasure trove of information. In his spare time, he sometimes substitute teaches onrepparttar island, and his favorite subjects are biology, geology, science, and ecology. We learned thatrepparttar 105328 black band along a cliff face about ten feet aboverepparttar 105329 surf is sometimes called sea tar, and that if you look closely, another orange band is just above that. Both are types of lichen. A bright green patch on a cliff means fresh water, maybe a stream or a trickle. In hiking terms, when you come onto a peak that is clear of trees for what appears to be natural reasons (as opposed to clear cutting by corporate loggers), you say that it is bald. The islands inrepparttar 105330 San Juan archipelago are mixed with some islands that are completely covered in cedar trees and other islands that are bald. Jesse explained thatrepparttar 105331 baldness comes from something called "glacial plucking". When a glacier recedes, it basically stripsrepparttar 105332 topsoil away as it goes. A glacially plucked island is really pure bedrock. Try building a home or farmingrepparttar 105333 land and you'll soon see whyrepparttar 105334 San Juans are still so sparsely populated.

That isn't to say that they're unsightly or uninteresting - far from it. One of my favorite places to be is inrepparttar 105335 San Juan Islands (note:repparttar 105336 archipelago is calledrepparttar 105337 San Juan archipelago,repparttar 105338 four main islands with state ferry service to them are calledrepparttar 105339 San Juans, and there is a San Juan island inrepparttar 105340 San Juans).

Since Jesse had timed our trip down Spieden Passage to go withrepparttar 105341 tides, we basically were carried withrepparttar 105342 current toward Jones Island. We still ended up paddling about five hours that day, but it was fun rather than back-breaking.

On Jones Island, we set up our tents, and then Jesse sent us on a hike while he got dinner ready. That night we had Smoked Salmon Pesto Linguine and wine. I vaguely recall other things like cheese and crackers, salad, and a Dutch-oven gingerbread, but it wasrepparttar 105343 linguine that really stood out. Luckily, Outdoor Odysseys provides handy recipes on their web site. I'm not sure howrepparttar 105344 meal would compare with other meals you could cook in a kitchen, but for a meal prepared on a campfire stove, it was incredible.

Day 2

The camp kitchen was well stocked for al fresco gourmet dining.

The next morning, I awoke to coffee already prepared and breakfast cooked (sort of) to order. Obviously Jesse could only serve foods that we had brought with us, but at least he served those however we wanted them. I had eggs, and Melissa and Brandy had French toast. Then we loaded uprepparttar 105345 kayaks and took off. Our goal this time was to sweep torepparttar 105346 north side of Spieden Island and avoidrepparttar 105347 "river" completely if possible. To do this, we had to paddle north instead of west, and then hope we covered enough water to reachrepparttar 105348 north side beforerepparttar 105349 current dragged us south. We didn't quite make it.

Up to this point,repparttar 105350 biggest concern we had had was riding outrepparttar 105351 wake of passing boats without tipping over. It was a bit scaryrepparttar 105352 first time, but you soon realized how stablerepparttar 105353 kayak was and just braced for it rather than panicking. Now we would have to actually negotiate a heavy current complete with a sharp turn inrepparttar 105354 middle of it without tipping over. Jesse and Brandy went first. It looked difficult, but they made it. Melissa and I were determined to dorepparttar 105355 same.

Let me tell you a little about this current before we dive in. It literally looked like a mountain stream bubbling and churning aroundrepparttar 105356 corner ofrepparttar 105357 island. At this point,repparttar 105358 island is just a tip that we have to get around, but there's this churning water separating us from our guide. The goal is to aim intorepparttar 105359 current, but not so much that it catchesrepparttar 105360 front end of your kayak and pushes you downstream. Once you get out intorepparttar 105361 current, then you turn your boat directly into it and try paddling upstream for a while. If you get to a point where you feel that you've progressed, then maybe you can turn back towards land and end up inrepparttar 105362 calm area onrepparttar 105363 northern side ofrepparttar 105364 island where Brandy and Jesse are waiting.

On our hike torepparttar 105365 lighthouse, we discovered a self-service souvenir stand, kid-sized totem poles in front ofrepparttar 105366 school, a historical museum inrepparttar 105367 old schoolhouse, and Lover's Leap. The view from Lover's Leap (not to mentionrepparttar 105368 300 foot drop) was spectacular. You could see back allrepparttar 105369 way to San Juan Island while Vancouver Island and some ofrepparttar 105370 Gulf Islands (Canadian English for San Juan Islands) were lit up byrepparttar 105371 coming sunset. Onrepparttar 105372 Leap itself stand huge madrona trees. And fromrepparttar 105373 Leap, you can see downrepparttar 105374 cliff torepparttar 105375 lighthouse.

Read this entire feature FREE with photos at:

By Pam, Seattle Correspondent, Jetsetters Magazine at

by Pam Jetsetters Magazine. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at


Written by

Continued from page 1

    <Back to Page 1 © 2005
Terms of Use