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I’ve heard Canadians express guilt for giving the world Justin Bieber. After spending the weekend a handful of miles off the coast of Victoria listening to Canadian radio stations I’m convinced that they still love him. We heard the same three JB songs probably 700 times, and it was wonderful. Bieber set an amazing tone for our weekend, and I swear I’m not lying.

When we woke up for our first full day on the island we quickly realized that our box of pop tarts and bag of mushy mandarins weren’t going to cut it. We welcomed any excuse to explore the adorable Eastsound downtown and we were excited to gorge at the first cafe we happened to drive by. What we didn’t realize when we accepted the invitation to visit Orcas Island was that the Island was in clear off-season mode. If it wasn’t for an annual marathon through Moran State Park I doubt more than a half dozen business owners would have escaped their Saturday-morning beds.

After admiring local shops, most of which had ‘closed’ signs hanging from their doors, our stomachs whined until we made our way to the Island Skillet. Within minutes of being seated we each identified a yummy order, which is no easy task when your group includes two of the pickiest eaters in Cascadia.

With our tummy’s full and our minds set to adventure we drove to Moran State Park to hike and hopefully catch a glimpse of a couple of waterfalls. Somewhere in my mind I knew the possibility of hiking was likely, yet it never actually occurred to me to pack accordingly. So, as it turns out, hiking in the mud alongside waterfalls in bargain slip-on flats is very difficult. What I’m trying to say is you better enjoy these photos because I sacrificed my life so you could see these waterfalls.

(If you want to see more photos of Moran State park check out part one.)

There’s nothing better than coming home from a hike to a cozy cabin on the water with ice cream waiting in the freezer. Well, that’s what I thought until Gracie served us ice cream on top of a freshly-baked brownie with season 7 of Seinfeld playing on the TV. Even though the point of travel is to experience new things, the comfort of familiar foods and entertainment cannot be underestimated. Sure, you can watch Seinfeld anywhere on the planet. But from now on whenever I watch an episode from season seven I’ll be transported back into that living room with that bowl of ice-cream-soaked brownie.

Sometimes trips like these can feel like little capsules or an episode of a TV show. At first you may recall the characters and the plot but as you keep digging you remember the little details. Maybe you remember a stupid joke that failed miserably or the unusual shape of the coffee table in the living room. Time stands still and you can move through the capsule like a video game. Small details, like looking for a gas station and almost accidentally picking up a hitchhiker when you first arrived on the island, feel like individual Polaroids in your mind. When you reach out and grab an individual frame it expands into a vivid hologram that you can step inside of and explore. Photos do more than represent events as they happened. They can transform your mood like a favorite song or a familiar smell. They have the ability to drop you into a room in the middle of a cabin on Orcas Island and smother you with all the good feelings.

Orcas Island was beautiful, and so were the people that I got to explore it with.

Music Pick of the Week

Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music email me.

This week I’ve chosen a beautiful song from the Bellingham jazz band Rex Queen. Give it a listen and maybe even consider giving them a follow on Soundcloud or Facebook.