After making reservations for my camping bucket list in December, I was so excited to finally take Julia to Moran State Park on Orcas Island over Memorial Day weekend.
I typically have to work on actual Memorial Day, but it means I take a comp day on the previous Friday when I can. This meant that while I still made reservations for the campground and the ferry ASAP, the ferry rides didn’t feel too crowded. The ferry ride is about an hour and ours was delayed about 30 minutes in either direction due to a disabled propeller, but both sides have nice things to do while you wait (like explore a rocky beach area in Anacortes and sip cider at Boathouse Ciderworks on the island).
It’s a relatively short 20-30 minute drive to the park from the ferry and check-in was really easy. It was helpful that I had printed out our confirmation ahead of time since it sped things up and meant less talking while Julia was sleeping in the backseat. We were in site 79 of the North Campground and loved our space. It was near the walkway between the campground and the road, but didn’t get a lot of foot traffic, was a short walk to the restrooms, and had lots of space for Julia to climb and play safely. We set up the hammock immediately and it became her favorite thing – she was constantly asking to go “swing.”
We hiked the 3ish mile loop around Cascade Lake (we put Julia in our Lillébaby carrier on my back) and the spent the afternoon exploring the playground and fishing dock area on the lake. For dinner, we made foil packets with salmon and veggies that were delicious, and Julia made her first s’more.
The next morning, we made oatmeal for breakfast (topped with maple syrup, mascarpone cheese and blueberries) before heading towards Mount Constitution for our hike. We didn’t feel quite up to doing the full hike with Julia (she’s wiggly when in a carrier for more than a couple of hours), so we started at Little Summit and hiked to the top. Julia hadn’t slept great (she kept rolling off the Big Agnes sleeping pad that she insisted on using), so she took an early nap and was asleep for most of the hike up.
It was still too cloudy to see very far from the observation tower, but we climbed to the top anyway, just to make sure.
We hiked back down and of course it cleared up right when we got to the car. Luckily, the road we were on leads right to the top of Mt. Constitution, so we drove back and ate lunch at the viewpoint and caught a few more glimpses of the beautiful island from its highest point.
My back was KILLING me after carrying Julia on 2 hikes while she napped (dead weight), so Peter took her to the playground for awhile while I rested. It was a perfectly sunny day, so we decided to rent a canoe from Orcas Adventures to paddle around Cascade Lake. It was about $25/hour and that was plenty of time for us to paddle across the lake, under a bridge and around the other side. The water lilies were blooming and we saw some fish jumping around, as well as a heron and a little family of goslings with their parents.
After our canoeing adventure, we stopped for ice cream from the Lopez Island Creamery location right on the lake and gave Julia a little beach time while Peter started dinner (grilled ribeye with pea risotto – yum!).
The next morning we ate breakfast and then drove a little ways up the Mt. Constitution road to some waterfall trails that were only 1/4 mile or so each way – Julia was able to do a lot of hiking on her own, even though we didn’t hike very much mileage-wise.
We drove through the little town of Eastsound and stopped for pastries at Brown Bear Baking before stopping for another short walk and a picnic at Turtleback Mountain Preserve.
Our ferry back was delayed 30 minutes, but we just snagged a patio table at Boathouse Ciderworks and sampled their cider in the sunshine until it was time to hop on the boat home.
The long weekend was really paradise and we’re already scheming about how to convince our families to do a big group reunion camping trip.