Whew! This was rough, but so worth it. I’m a fairly seasoned trail runner, and I hadn’t tried running over on the islands, so I took myself over to Orcas one morning to tackle the trail from Mountain Lake to the top of Mt. Constitution. I got to the trailhead at about 9 a.m. and started my run. The surroundings are beautiful – it’s a very intimate, forest-enclosed area, and although the off season meant I had to endure a fairly soggy trail, it also meant I had the the area pretty much to myself. I did encounter a couple of mountain bikers on my way, but hikers were hard to come by.
The run itself was relatively easy until the last mile or so, which I anticipated when I experienced very little incline for the first couple miles. I will confess, I ended up walking part of the way. The view at the top of the mountain made the effort SO worth it. There was snow in the area, so many roads were closed, which meant no cars up at the top and I had the observation tower almost completely to myself. (Which is nice, considering I probably looked like a sweaty beet with bulging eyes and heavy breathing.) I could see everything from there – Victoria to Mt. Rainier – and the most sweeping view of the Puget Sound I’ve ever experienced.
The whole thing took me close to three hours round trip, including my stop at the top. Considering the three and a half hour trip (with the ferry ride) from Seattle, it definitely took up the day, but what a way to spend it! I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful for a shower in my life.