Island Charm

Lopez Island Travel Blog

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Our campsite at Spencer Spit State Park
Our campsite was lovely...just the right amount of shade/sunlight. It was also quite spacious. We set up our large tent and put a canopy over the picnic table, then headed to town to find a grocery store. We only had about 10 minutes to get in and out of the store with our purchases since they close at 8pm. Good thing we didn't go sight-seeing first! Back at camp, Tora got a fire started while I fixed our plates of roasted chicken and  potato chips.Not the most healthy meal, but filling enough before bed.

I had gotten up at 6am, so I was really tired and went to bed around 9:30pm after helping to drink a bottle of wine. Poor Frodo was shivering like mad...Tora had forgotten his sweater. I think Tora followed shortly after, because her lantern light flashed in front of my eyes.
Tora, trying to keep Frodo warm by the campfire


When I camp, I'm an early riser...so different from my home routine where I usually don't get up until 8:30 or 9:00. So, it wasn't unusual for me to wake up around 6am. I let Tora sleep until around 7am when I called her for breakfast...bacon and scrambled eggs...and lots of coffee. During the night, a small critter had gotten on the picnic table and was checking out the watermelon that I forgot to put away. He left little deposits of evidence all over the table, but hadn't gotten into anything else.

After breakfast and the dishes were done, we walked down to the beach, about a 1/4 mile away. The walk down was on a bit of an incline...enough to make my knees start to hurt. I have severe arthritis in both knees and am constantly battling the pain. Once down on the beach, we sat upon rocks and enjoyed the view.
Geese crossing (daddy goose stood in the road and wouldn't let us pass until all the babies were clear)
There was a mist over the water and between two of the other islands...it made quite a pretty picture, especially when a ferry was crossing through the mist.

While we sat there, I was looking at all the pieces of driftwood, hoping to find something interesting to photograph. And I found it! I 6" piece of driftwood had a natural heart of darker wood (apparently where a previous branch had been). I just had to snatch it up and bring it home with me! The tide was going out, so there were lots of algae covered rocks, stranded jelly fish, and other things one might find on a beach. The air also smelled strongly of dead sea life.

The walk back up to camp was a killer for me...my knees were screaming bloody murder and refused to support me further! So, I found a bench and Tora went back to get the car to pick me up.
Gawd, it sucks getting older and the toll of old sports injuries makes its presence known.!

After some sandwiches for lunch, I asked Tora for the keys so I could drive around a bit and look for photo opportunities. I saw many things to photograph, but there was never a good place to pull over. Oh well....maybe I'll rent a bike and check things out further. An hour of driving around the island was enough, so I headed back to camp. There, I went in search of the bike guy so I could rent a bike.

I haven't been on a bike in at least eight years, but I remember how much fun it used to be to ride and really enjoy the nature/sights around me. It was a perfect day to ride, too. At $5/hour, renting a bike is quite a bargain. I headed off down the road and was really enjoying the coasting.
Trail from the beach
But then a little voice hollered at me that if I was coasting, then it was a good chance it was uphill going back. After only a mile, I decided to turn back. My knees were hurting, I was thirsty (I forgot water), and my body was letting me know just how out of shape I am. I had no sooner turned around and was riding back when I heard startled grunts. Looking to my left, I saw about a dozen pigs jump out of a water hole by the fence and turn around to look at me. I hollered "hello, pig, pig, pig" and they squealed and bolted like their tail was on fire! Those pigs had the biggest pasture I had ever seen pigs in. usually they are in small sties. I bet those pigs were from the same farm as the bacon we bought...it had very little fat...not even enough to scramble eggs afterward.
A raven acts as sentry
The road back had a very long, slight incline. If I was in shape, it wouldn't have been a big deal. I ended up walking the bike the whole way back up the hill, stopping to take pictures and catch my breath every few yards. While I was riding, everyone who passed me would wave. I later learned that it's the custom on Lopez....when you're driving, you wave to everyone. When I finally made it back, I had been gone exactly one hour. The pisser was that I had to walk back down to the beach to turn in the lock key to the bike, then back up again. Tora to the rescue once more!

We decided to snack in the early evening and have a late dinner after watching the sun set. I had read that Agate Bay was the place to go to see beautiful sunsets, so we headed off in that direction.
Spencer Spit
Since sunset wasn't until another three hours, we explored other parts of the island. At Lopez Village, we followed the sound of Indian chants and drums, finding them only as they were finishing for the day. What we did hear was really spiritual and pretty. One of our favorite places to discover was Shark Reef Sanctuary on the southeast part of the island. The quarter mile trail was an easy one, ending at rocky, fir tree covered cliffs. The view was breath-taking! When we got to Agate Bay, we still had about 90 minutes before sunset, so we just chilled for a bit. There were lots of goldfinches flying around and we even heard and saw a kingfisher.
Tora and Frodo relaxing on the beach
A blue heron landed on a rock and stayed there quite a while, so I was able to get several pictures of him. There were rock formations out in the bat that were quite unusual...one looked like a fish tail and the other looked the head of the fish.

We were getting bored, so we headed back to Lopez Village to catch the sunset there. Gorgeous!

Dinner consisted of sausages that we tried to roast over the campfire. The outside of mine was black, but the inside was still pretty pink, so I split it opened and tried again. Much better! I threw it on a bun and added some mustard, then devoured it in 30 seconds. Corn on the cob and potato salad accompanied the sausage. We forgot the marshmallows, though we did follow our meal with another bottle of wine. While we drank our wine, we looked up at the sky to see a remarkable display of stars. Bed around midnight....at least it was a bit warmer tonight.
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Our campsite at Spencer Spit State…
Our campsite at Spencer Spit Stat…
Tora, trying to keep Frodo warm by…
Tora, trying to keep Frodo warm b…
Geese crossing (daddy goose stood …
Geese crossing (daddy goose stood…
Trail from the beach
Trail from the beach
A raven acts as sentry
A raven acts as sentry
Spencer Spit
Spencer Spit
Tora and Frodo relaxing on the bea…
Tora and Frodo relaxing on the be…
A ferry crosses between the island…
A ferry crosses between the islan…
The piece of driftwood I found tha…
The piece of driftwood I found th…
Fuzzy wuzzy
Fuzzy wuzzy
Caterpillar close-up
Caterpillar close-up
Kayaks & driftwood
Kayaks & driftwood
A row of colorful kayaks
A row of colorful kayaks
Self-portrait while riding the bike
Self-portrait while riding the bike
Horse plowed fields
Horse plowed fields
Part of an antique thresher outsid…
Part of an antique thresher outsi…
View from cafe at Lopez Village
View from cafe at Lopez Village
A blue heron waits for sunset
A blue heron waits for sunset
Shark Reef Sanctuary (southwest)
Shark Reef Sanctuary (southwest)
Shark Reef Sanctuary (northwest)
Shark Reef Sanctuary (northwest)
Shark Reef Sanctuary (southwest)
Shark Reef Sanctuary (southwest)
Tora and Frodo at Shark Reef Sanct…
Tora and Frodo at Shark Reef Sanc…
Looking to the horizon
Looking to the horizon
Shark Reef Sanctuary (southwest)
Shark Reef Sanctuary (southwest)
Tora and Frodo at Shark Reef Sanct…
Tora and Frodo at Shark Reef Sanc…
A banana slug crawls along a branch
A banana slug crawls along a branch
Banana slug
Banana slug
Buoys make a colorful decoration
Buoys make a colorful decoration
Agate Bay
Agate Bay
Sunset view from Lopez Village
Sunset view from Lopez Village
Sunset view from Lopez Village
Sunset view from Lopez Village
Banana slug on the ground at our c…
Banana slug on the ground at our …
Lopez Island Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
The only "large" grocery store on the island
Get there before 8pm - they close the doors then! Besides food, they also carry camping supplies, so if you forget your sleeping bag, need propane,… read entire review
Lopez Island Sights & Attractions review
Kayak & Bike Rentals
Very friendly fellow runs this bike & kayak rental from the beach at Spencer Spit State Park. Prices are reasonable, especially for the bikes. He also… read entire review
Lopez Island Hostels review
Commune with Nature
This secluded campground should be the first destination for any camper getting off the ferry on Lopez. You’ll find Spencer Spit far away from roads… read entire review
Lopez Island
photo by: aelder2259