Whidbey Island & North Cascades

[Continued from Olympic National Park]

After our drive from Portland to the Olympics which was a stretch of ~3 hours with literally no interesting sites to stop at, the rest of the trip’s drives didn’t seem so terrible since there was more to do along the way. After we checked out of our cute little cottage in Port Angeles, we made the drive through Sequim and Port Townsend to take the ferry to Whidbey Island, since that was the fastest way to bypass Seattle and get to the North Cascades from the Olympic Peninsula.

Unfortunately S needed to nap most of the time in the car, so we didn’t stop by any lavender fields in Sequim. We did take a quick walk through Dungeness Wildlife Refuge and did some great bird-watching (yep, we’re officially old…we have the bird identifying apps and all). Then we needed to get to the ferry around 30-45 minutes early, so we drove to Port Townsend and explored the town a little.

The ferry ride was pretty seamless, although we did have to get reservations early for a car – if you are just walking on as a passenger, you can just show up. Good thing we planned ahead too, because all the reservations were booked by a few weeks beforehand – so we would’ve had to add ~3 hours to our drive had we not gotten onto the ferry. The ferry dropped us off near Coupeville, an adorable historic town on Whidbey Island. We explored the town, had lunch, and watched some seals play near the dock!

The town of Coupeville and the ferry ride over from Port Townsend

Because we now have a National Parks passport, we are intense about collecting all the national parks “stamps” from both the parks themselves but also National Historic Sites (basically anything run by the NPS.) We therefore HAD to stop by Ebey’s Landing, which was a quick respite for S to crawl around. Here we could see the Olympic Mountains on one side, the North Cascades on the other, and Mount Rainer in the distance. Pretty cool.

Ebey’s Landing

Our final stop before heading to our cabin in the North Cascades/Mt. Baker area was Deception Pass. I had heard a lot about this place from various Seattle friends. The state park itself was a little underwhelming especially as we had been hiking through the national parks, but we had a nice afternoon snack on the beach. Then we drove over the bridge and decided that Deception Pass is BEAUTIFUL if you have the right mode of transportation – ideally a boat! (Owning a boat sounds like a nightmare to both of us, so it’ll never happen…but I very gladly will stay friends with friends and family who do have boats, haha).

Deception Pass – from land and from over the bridge

After our various stops on Whidbey Island, we made the 1.5 hour drive to the North Cascades and Mt. Baker area, where we met up with one of my BFFs NT and her now-husband AL.

So happy to have gotten some quality time with the bestie before another baby (NOT MINE) joins the crew in a few weeks!

I was dumb and didn’t realize that the North Cascades would still be completely snowed in by end of June. Apparently August is a much better time to visit. Oops! So we mostly did local walks and chilled with our friends in our cute treehouse cabin. North Cascades is apparently the most remote / least-visited national park in the US, and it definitely showed via the sparse lodging options. We stayed in Mt. Baker, which would’ve been a 1.5-2 hour drive to the heart of the North Cascades (Diablo Lake etc). We didn’t want to do that as a day trip with S, so we stayed around the Artist Ridge and Nooksak River area instead. Artist Ridge was actually also still snowed in, so we only got as far as Picture Lake…it was cool seeing 15 ft of snow in the middle of summer, anyway!

Our picnic at Picture Lake

The Nooksak River which was just behind our cabin- we spent one afternoon watching some whitewater kayakers

We stayed in a little vacation community so had some good downtime enjoying the playground, the local walks, and even the pool. At the end of the weekend, we had to make the drive + ferry to San Juan Island – stay tuned for the next blogpost about our week on the island. (I’m pretty proud at how quickly I’m churning these blogposts out…I’ve figured out a good photo integration system so it doesn’t take me eons to download all my photos onto each post now, which is a lifesaver.)

Chilling in our treehouse. S started getting sick through the weekend and had some bad sleeps 😦 But we had been traveling so much and her routine was completely out of whack, so we can’t blame her! Peep the tantrum photo in the top left LOL

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