Discovering the Captivating Beauty of the San Juan Islands
By Elizabeth Jacob
Traveling is a part of my life. It's a part of who I am. I've seen Canada, I've seen parts of Mexico, I fell in love with Paris and I've been fortunate enough to travel through many parts of Eastern Europe. My husband and I are drawn to wine country, we could visit Colorado yearly, we love spending time with family in Maine and North Carolina, and Vermont, well, I'll take your outdoor country scenery any day of the week. But let me tell you about a piece of land that takes the breath away, that touches the soul, that leaves a mark on your heart.
Let's go back in time to when my husband was in college. He was a poor student working just to get by, enjoying the life around him, friends and music. Always music. On a whim, he decided to move out to Friday Harbor for a summer with a friend who had family on the island. I like to think that this was the summer that changed him. This was a time when his breath was taken away, his soul was touched and his heart opened. The San Juan Island will do that to you, or at least to this Ohio girl.
How do I describe the sound of ocean waves that softly lull over forgotten driftwood? Or what about the moments when you watch an orca emerge from water with such strength and grace? In that small moment you realize you are witnessing the power and beauty of nature. There are no words for a sunrise that slowly makes its way over still treetops, over open waters and into vast skies. And in the distance, you can see an endless mountain ridge quietly painted into the background: The Olympic Mountains, Hurricane Ridge, and on a clear day, Mount Rainer.
We played our guitars, we wrote our stories and all around the island songs surrounded us. The scuttle of fox feet running in the distant wood, midnight waves slapping against rough rocks, the silent hum of boats traveling through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
At one point during our trip, as I sat silently upon the driftwood in Eagle Cove, I had a moment to observe the world around me. I found peace in my scenery. My view was consumed by my children dancing along a rocky beach that was dusted with hints of sand. My view was the rays of sunlight that cast shadows over cool ocean waters. Those same shadows quickly fell into our hair and soaked into our skin. Those shadows soaked into our hearts.
I couldn't help think, did my husband realize what he found years ago during that brief encounter on San Juan Island? Or was it just a college summer spent traveling with friends, working odd jobs and catching the Grateful Dead here and there? Did he know that he would visit these special places years later with a wife and three children? There was something unique he found here, something he just couldn't part with, and something that brought him back.
These lands, these islands, in the Pacific Northwest hold a sense of magic: an unforeseen beauty that quickly unfolds before your eyes, a pure inspiration to the creative soul. Every direction you turn a new sight of nature faces you like a remarkable painting that hangs in a quaint gallery. Your breath is taken away and your heart is opened.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit San Juan Island I say go, jump on that ferry and don't look back. Embrace every moment and every space on the island. Make sure to visit each and every little beach and cove, strike up a conversation with the locals at Lime Kiln. Become knowledgeable about the orcas; if you get a chance watch them, because one day they may not be on this earth. Put a couple rocks in your pocket and take them home to treasure. Go on a hike in search of a bald eagle's nest. Capture every memory that you can and hold on to them forever. You will not be disappointed, I promise!
About the Author
Elizabeth Jacob is a freelance writer and an amateur photographer who documents the details of her life by weaving together whimsical words and captivating photographs on her lifestyle blog, Yellow Finch. She often writes about simple living, positive parenting, travel, food and more. When she isn’t writing or behind the camera you can find her spending time with her three children and husband Jon. Elizabeth is the copy editor for Babiekins Magazine.
Website : Yellow Finch Designs
Instagram : @elizabethmjacob
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