Landing at the Coop

My arrival in the San Juan Islands of Washington was well worth the stress of hauling oversized luggage by plane, shuttle, and ferry all the way from Denver, Colorado. The noise of times and dates and logistics clattering in my brain suddenly dissipated in a single wave of sea, sky, and clear air as soon as my ferry entered Friday Harbor. A deep breath—and I remembered why I wanted to come back to this quaint town nestled in the quiet beauty of San Juan Island.

Clark Casebolt, the owner of Outdoor Odysseys, a sea kayaking company in the San Juan Islands, picked me up at the ferry and we drove to just a mile outside of Friday Harbor where I would meet my new summer home: the office, storage facility, and hub of Outdoor Odysseys—affectionately nicknamed “The Coop.” As one of the new interns here, I have become intimately acquainted with the Coop, along with the numerous guides that busily pop in and out of here, my fellow hard-working intern Kaitlin, and Clark’s friendly and hyperactive dog, Celeste.

My arrival here happened to coincide with the transition from the off-season to the “on” season and thus a lot of prep work, cleaning, and organization awaited me and Kaitlin. Within a few days, we were able to clean the Outdoor Odysseys pantry and arrange its copious amounts of organic food, organize the storage building, clean the vans, wash the kayaks, and even mow the lawn! Despite the hard work involved in the behind-the-scenes component of Outdoor Odysseys, there is definitely time to have fun, enjoy the balmy weather, and explore the island.

New kayak racks at Outdoor Odysseys
Yesterday, after an orientation on some of the technical aspects of the company, Kaitlin and I drove to Lawson’s Lake, a pristine body of water surrounded by towering Ponderosa Pines. We relaxed on the wooden dock and watched as a bald eagle tended to its nest in a tree close to us. Earlier in the week, I went for an evening run on a road that goes parallel to the island’s shoreline. In the distance, I could see the snow-topped peaks of the Olympic Mountain Range jutting out from behind a shroud of pink clouds.

The scenery here is surreal, the people are friendly, and the work is rewarding. For now, I am just enjoying life and looking forward to more adventures here in the San Juan Islands—both on land and in the kayak.


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