Orcas Island – Mount Constitution in the Snow

In mid-April we headed for a four-day trip to Orcas Island, part of the renowned San Juan Islands.  Highlight: the climb up Mount Constitution. Lowlight: the descent down Mount Constitution.

While Timothy prospers at both climbing and descending, Paula had never before uttered the words “going up was a lot easier than going down.” Especially when we’re talking about 2,600 feet of vertical gain over 4.5 miles.

But here’s where heading up a Washington State mountain in mid-April proved perhaps not the best idea: The chilly rain that we encountered on the way to the mountain turned to snow and freezing temps at the summit. And after we spent arguably more time than was wise taking pictures at the top — the structure erected by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936 is a cool castle-fortress — our fingers could not feel the brake levers on the way back down again.  Paula was quite certain she would die of frostbite, or at least lose a finger or two, as she quaked and quivered and shook and shivered while inching down what should have been a glorious descent.

Timothy, being the seasoned cold-mountain veteran that he is, found it simply a little annoying.

But we survived. And a few miles down the road, we took shelter in the welcome warmth of the Moran State Park offices — where the very kind staff took pity on us and served us hugely appreciated hot chocolate.

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