Due to some strong suggestions from the office staff, I find myself at South Beach, a spot usually not discovered while sea kayaking in the San Juan Islands, hiking with Clark’s dog Celeste up Mt. Finlayson. This end of the island is a favorite for many locals, and I can see why. The trail to the top of Mt. Finlayson is bordered by tall yellow grass where deer meander until they catch sight of my presence and then bound off into the woods. To my right, I look out over the ocean to miles and miles of cerulean water and waves that silently crash onto the shore below. In the distance, the Olympic Mountains appear to jut out of the water. Their white, snow-dusted peaks are covered with a shroud of misty clouds. I feel like I am caught in the middle of colliding worlds; sky, forest, ocean, and mountains surround me.
Celeste and I pause at the top of Mt. Finlayson to look around and then follow the trail down towards the beach. South Beach, like most of the beaches here on the island, is marked by bleached white logs and driftwood that have washed up on the shore throughout the years. These driftwood remnants contrast starkly with the dark pebbly shore and also serve as makeshift benches where I can sit and watch the waves roll in.
I throw a stick for Celeste for awhile and then we head back up towards the car. I’m sure that I will come back here again sometime soon. It’s the perfect spot to get a little exercise, relax, or eat a picnic lunch, all while basking in the picturesque beauty of San Juan Island.