Adventures in the Pacific Northwest

by guest blogger, Sue Glenn

In August 2019, Sue and Mark Glenn and Jim and Lori Dickens met up to explore the Pacific Northwest in an end of summer adventure. 

The fun began in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA.    The Glenns ferried in from Seattle and the Dickens ferried the next day from Anacortes.  After dropping our luggage at the Tucker House Inn (wonderful staff, unbelievable breakfast, perfect location) we headed out to explore the island in a clockwise manner from Friday Harbor.  We began with the American Camp (not very impressive), 4th of July beach (where we ran into Tom Lodge, Bucknell ’82 and his wife), Jackle’s Lagoon, Cattle Point Lighthouse and a hike to Mt. Finlayson.  Spectacular views of the ocean all around!  We then drove to the “resort” area of Roche Harbor and had a well-deserved lunch outside at the Roche Harbor Marina.  On the way back to Friday Harbor, we visited the Westcott Bay Sculpture Park in an effort to satisfy our artistic cravings.  

The next day was all about orcas!  We kayaked in the morning at Jackson Beach where Lori and Slim got very up close and personal with a transient orca.  Since transient orcas like to feast on seals and since Lori was pretty much dressed like a seal, there were a few tense moments (at least for Lori)!  Sue and Mark kayaked close to shore and so were completely oblivious to what was going on.  That afternoon, we drove up the West side of the island stopping along the side of the road where we saw several people gathered.  For an hour we were treated to a spectacular show of a dozen resident orcas just off shore.  And we learned a TON of information from some folks who were REALLY into orcas in kind of a cool and slightly geeky way.  Once the orcas headed south, we headed to the Lime Kiln State Park where we had a fabulous picnic with many bees followed by a nice walk to the lighthouse.  Before heading back to Friday Harbor we stopped at the English camp (WAY better than the American camp that we saw the day before) and had a lovely hike on the Bell Point Trail.  The day ended with drinks outside at the Friday Harbor House (where we once again ran into Tom Lodge and wife).

Then it was time to explore British Columbia!  We caught a morning ferry from Friday Harbor to beautiful Victoria!  Dropped our things off at the fabulous Hotel Rialto (lovely staff, perfect location, incredible muffins/banana bread for breakfast).  We spent the afternoon and evening exploring Victoria – enjoying the harbor, the flowers, the architecture, the food, the drinks!  Found the perfect pub patio to hang out at for many hours of eating, drinking and people-watching!

The next morning we rented a car and headed out of the city.  First stop was the East Sooke Regional Park where hiked to Beechy Head, partly through the woods and partly along the coast.  From there we headed to Sooke Potholes Provincial Park and then to the amazing Butchard Gardens (even Slim and Mark agreed they were incredible). That evening, we enjoyed a relaxing, fabulous dinner at the Collective Wine Bar in the Cook Street Village area of Victoria.  

 Sand Bar Dinner with Mark and Sue expertly navigating our return to the Sutton Hotel.

Our final stop was Vancouver!  We took the very convenient BFI (bus/ferry) Connector from Victoria to Vancouver – definitely the best way to make that trip.  And well worth it to spend the extra $5CAD for the up-front seats!  Arriving in Vancouver, stopped at The Sutton Hotel (great location, mediocre staff, no breakfast) and then headed to Granville Island for a wonderful dinner on the patio of the lively Sandbar Restaurant.  After a walk back to the hotel we sadly had to say good-bye as Lori and Slim were flying home early the next morning and then on to other adventures later in the week.  Sue and Mark stayed on for one more day which was spent in beautiful Stanley Park followed by dinner at the Cactus Club on the beach at English Bay.

Here are some of the great discussions from the trip: 

  • Did Slim pressure Lori to dress in seal colors before going kayaking in an effort to attract transient orcas?
  • Which are superior: LLBean “shants” (Mark) or Lulu ABC pants (Slim)?  
  • Is San Juan Island in WA or BC?  And what WAS the name of the town we stayed in?
  • Is Deschutes fresh squeezed IPA just something that Slim made up? If not, why has no one else heard of it?
  • Are drones REALLY not allowed in US State Parks or did the park ranger just not like Slim?  Was she even a park ranger?
  • What are the statistical odds of 4 Bucknell graduates being on the same random beach on San Juan Island at the same time? 
  • Is there any better vehicle than a 2013 Toyota Camry, even if its key fob does not work thus making it very annoying to get into the car or trunk?
  • Who had the more impressive leg length to walking speed ratio – Sue and Lori….or Mark and Slim?
  • Who was the favorite Canadian?  (1) Bill who drove the BFI bus from Victoria to Vancouver and entertained us with stories, (2) The British guy in Sidney who called the cab to take us to Victoria and kept checking for us to make sure it was really coming, (3) Bjorn the East Sooke Regional Park guy who directed us to our hike and became Mark’s new best friend, or (5) the guy who escaped from the Vancouver hospital and was roaming the streets attached to an I.V. according to Lori and Mark.  (Slim and Sue were in the middle of an intellectual conversation and can not confirm the existence of said guy.)

Our Pacific Northwest trip was fabulous, and made even better by being with such old, dear friends – can’t wait to travel with you again soon!

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