26 Things I Learned While Camping on San Juan Island and at Baker Lake
- The wrong time to get attacked by mosquitoes is two days before camping. Makes you sensitive to what you can't avoid.
- The 2008 Mazda 3 doesn't have a plug-in or outlet to charge iPhones.
- Washington State Ferrys dobut we figured it out too late. Thus no personal pictures here. Apologies.
- The San Juan ferry trip is 100 times better on a sunny day (returning) than on a cloudy day (going).
- San Juan Island has a camel. Her name is Mona. She has a baby. T-shirts are for sale.
- A camel is all well and good but it doesn't beat baby alpacas.
- If you go to Downriggers, in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, spend the extra money for the dungeness crab sandwich. The grilled crab sandwich sounds like “grilled crab” but is actually a dollop of crab mixed with a gallon of mayonnaise and then the sandwich is grilled.
- Orca whales are actually dolphins.
- The skeletons of whale fins look like human hands.
- Dorsal fins are made of cartilage.
- Porpoises are shyer, smaller and chunkier than dolphins. They are nerds, essentially. Dophins are BMO-Seas. (Apologies.)
- Oceanographers are worried that boat noise, including noise from whale-watching boats, is depleting the whale population. Which is why we watched them from Lime Kiln Point State Park. Which may be why we didn't see any.
- The Whale Museum at Friday Harbor, where I learned #s 8-12, and which my nephews, 10 and 8, didn't want to leave after an hour, kicks ass.
- The scientists at Lime Kiln Point kick ass, too.
- Putting up a two-person tent is hard.
- Changing into your swimsuit in a two-person tent is harder.
- Changing into your swimsuit in a two-person tent, and getting a good look at your stomach, is a good way to get someone to go to pilates class next Wednesday at 5:30 PM.
- There are many multimillion-dollar yachts for sale at Roche Harbor, San Juan Island.
- The rich obviously need another tax break so they afford to buy these multimillion-dollar yachts and get our economy going again.*
- Yachta Yachta is a good pun but a bad name for a boat.
- Ryan, 8, likes rock climbing.
- Jordy, 10, knows the words to Sir Mix A Lot's “Baby Got Back.”
- Baker Lake is fucking gorgeous.
- A good brat beats a great hotdog.
- Patricia is freaked by worms. Even inchworms. Particularly inchworms that come down from trees on silk threads. She calls them “ninja worms.”
- The sign in park outhouses, advising against throwing garbage down toilets because “it is extremely difficult to remove,” is not only one of the most understated signs ever written, it also makes me think park employees are not paid nearly enough.
Baker Lake. We woke up to this. We went swimming in this. So can you. Because it's ours: a National Forest.