Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration & Orientation: After you have your room assignment, head to the conference room at 5:00 p.m. to register with the Road Scholar program staff, which is also where our Orientation session will take place. You’ll receive a welcome packet with your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, and other important information. If you will arrive later than 8:00 p.m., please ask for your packet when you check in. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Our Group Leaders will also serve as our hiking instructors throughout the program. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: In the Conference Dining Room, we’ll enjoy a catered buffet meal, plus coffee, tea, water.
Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Hiking approx. 2.5 miles near Deception Pass; about 2 hours depending on group pace. Rolling terrain, dirt paths, gravel in some areas, uneven footing, some exposed rocks and roots on the trail. Ferry ride is approx. 1.5 hours.
Breakfast: In the hotel breakfast room, we’ll have a buffet featuring an egg dish, breakfast meats and breads, waffles, a variety of fresh fruit, yogurt, and hot and cold cereals, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.
Morning: We'll travel by motorcoach to Fidalgo Island for a mid-morning hike along the northern shoreline of the Deception Pass Gorge led by our Group Leader and trail experts. The Deception Pass area is a dramatic seascape where the tidal flow and whirlpools beneath the twin bridges connecting Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island move quickly. We'll hike beaches, forested bluffs, and rocky headlands that offer picturesque vistas of the area and opportunities to spot wildlife.
Lunch: At a picnic area in Deception Pass State Park, we'll have sack lunches featuring a sandwich, chips, bakery snack, fresh fruit, and a drink.
Afternoon: Next, we'll board our motorcoach and travel northward to Anacortes where we'll transfer to the WA State ferry bound for San Juan Island. You may wish to enjoy the view from the inside passenger cabins or from the outside decks as we take our 1.5 hour journey through the archipelago to Friday Harbor. Upon arrival at the dock we’ll walk about 5 blocks to the hotel to check in.
Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a tasty buffet meal featuring salad, a main entrée, sides, vegetables, and dessert, plus coffee, hot and iced tea, milk, water. You may bring other beverages of your own with you.
Evening: We’ll then be joined in the hotel conference room by a local resident expert who will offer an insider’s look at contemporary life in the Islands and explores issues affecting island life.
Activity note: Hiking approx. 4 miles total on four separate segments; opportunities to shorten or opt out of route segments based on personal preference to abbreviate the total route length. Well maintained trail in most places, some gravel beach, watch for erosion on trails close to cliff edge; rocky shoreline and upland trails have several short modest elevation gains, including one section with elevation gain of approx. 300 feet.
Breakfast: In the hotel conference room, the breakfast buffet will feature a variety of fresh fruits, assorted hot/cold cereals and breakfast breads, cottage cheese, and boiled eggs, plus juice, milk, coffee, tea, water.
Morning: After an introduction at the hotel to prepare us for what our series of hikes will entail with route descriptions, we’ll be joined by a wildlife rehabilitation expert who will give a presentation about wildlife of the San Juan Islands. Later in the morning we’ll head out to the trail! Traveling via vans, our route will be divided into four segments, so opportunities to shorten the overall route length are available. You may choose to hike any and all of the four segments as you wish.
Lunch: Out on the trail, we’ll have our sack lunches featuring a sandwich, whole fresh fruit, chips, bottled water, and a chef’s choice fresh bakery treat for everyone. Each member of the group will build their own sandwich to their liking in the morning before leaving the hotel, choosing from an assortment of meats, cheeses, breads, condiments, and accoutrements.
Afternoon: Hiking will continue throughout the afternoon along the coastal prairie and bluffs in the San Juan Island National Historic Park at American Camp featuring views of the Haro Strait, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Mountains, and Vancouver Island. We’ll return to the hotel in the late afternoon.
Dinner: Hotel buffet.
Evening: Next, we’ll gather in the hotel conference room for a presentation by a local expert from San Juan Island Preservation Trust Stewardship, which will highlight the island's most precious resource: undeveloped land!
Activity note: Hiking approx. 6.5 miles total over the course of the day on two hiking segments: Mountain Lake Loop is approx. 4 miles, up to 2.5 hours, on woodland trail with root and rock outcroppings, around 920 feet in elevation; Little Summit Trail is approx. 2 miles, about 1 hour, around 390 foot gradual decrease in elevation. Getting on/off vans; total driving distance of about 20 miles, with stops; transfers of approx. 1/2 hour. Getting on/off ferry; ride to Orcas Island is less than 1 hour one way.
Breakfast: Early hotel buffet.
Morning: At the dock, we'll board the ferry for a ride to the neighboring Orcas Island where we’ll go on a hike in the old growth forest as we circumnavigate Moran State Park's Mountain Lake, a local favorite quiet and unexpectedly. At the end of the hike, we’ll take a van to the summit of Mt. Constitution to savor incredible marine views of the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands.
Lunch: At the summit of Mt. Constitution, we’ll enjoy our sack lunches.
Afternoon: Our hikes will continue on Orcas Island with the Little Summit Trail, which affords beautiful views of eastern Orcas Island and Rosario Strait from periodic vantage points. We’ll finish up our hike in the late afternoon and take the return ferry to the hotel on San Juan Island.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Friday Harbor. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Hiking approx. 5.5 to 6.5 miles total for the day, dependent on personal preference. Mount Young hike is approx. 4 miles; about 2 hours; elevation gain of about 650 feet; well-maintained trails. Bell Point Loop is approx. 1 mile; less than 1 hour; well-maintained flat trail. Afternoon Choice 1: 1/2 mile walk. Choice 2: approx. 1.5 mile hike; logging roads and well-maintained trails, some tree roots and minor rocky footing in sections. Driving approx. 14 miles for the day; about 1/2 hour total.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: Traveling by van to the trailhead, our Group Leaders and hiking experts will outline the hike for the day. Opportunities to shorten the overall hiking distance available to those who wish. For the first leg of our trek within San Juan Island National Park, we’ll climb up Mount Young and make our way over and down into English Camp on the shores of Garrison Bay. Lovely views of the surrounding islands from atop the mountain makes for a fulfilling morning hike.
Lunch: At English Camp National Park, we’ll enjoy our sack lunches.
Afternoon: Easier going, the Bell Point Loop on the shores of serene Garrison Bay offers a more relaxed and serene shoreline trail with no elevation gain. Upon completion of Bell Point Loop, we’ll transfer via vans to historic Roche Harbor Village on the Island’s northwest corner. While in Roche Harbor, we’ll have a choice of walking activity, each led by either the Group Leader or hiking experts. Choice 1: Set out on a short stroll through an outdoor sculpture park where we’ll view various works of art and sculptures. Choice 2: A bit longer than Choice 1, this group will take a short hike to the Mausoleum, an architectural delight and family crypt for the John McMillan family. John McMillan was the founder of the Roche Harbor Lime Company and built the Hotel del Haro, which we know today as Roche Harbor Resort. While on the hike, we’ll view the lovely island woodlands and see some unique architecture created by the Free Masons. In the late afternoon, we’ll return by vans to the hotel before setting out on foot to explore the Whale Museum. Led by a museum docent while here, we'll find a fascinating collection of exhibits, artwork, models, and artifacts displayed to promote stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem.
Dinner: Hotel buffet.
Evening: A local resident historian and author will join us in the hotel conference room to share the history of the San Juan Islands.
Activity note: Hiking approx. 2.5 miles; about 2 hours with rest breaks; gently rolling terrain at sea level, well maintained single or double track dirt paths throughout.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: In the late morning, we’ll set out via van for a hike along the grassy shorelines and beaches of San Juan Island starting from Jakle’s Lagoon parking area. We’ll experience the peacefulness of the national park's American Camp and Griffin Bay area beneath the cedar and fir canopy with its pristine lagoons and estuaries until we conclude near Cattle Point Lighthouse at the island’s southern tip.
Lunch: At Cattle Point’s picnic tables with wonderful marine views, we’ll enjoy our sack lunches.
Afternoon: We’ll then take some time to independently explore Cattle Point Interpretive Area, which includes views of the neighboring Lopez Island, shorebirds and cetaceans, the restored lighthouse, and remnants of the Navy radio station that was in operation from the 1920s through the 1930s. Returning to hotel in the mid-afternoon, take some time to enjoy Friday Harbor independently, or just relax.
Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a tasty buffet farewell dinner. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.
Evening: After a short review of the program and tomorrow’s departure details, we’ll be joined by a beloved local musician in the hotel conference room and treated to an exclusive musical performance. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 7:15 a.m. Ferry transfer to Anacortes, WA, is approx. 20 miles; about 1.5 hours. Driving approx. 100 miles from Anacortes to Seattle; about 2.5 hours. Drop-offs at SeaTac International Airport and the starting hotel will be at approximately 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., respectively. Scheduling outbound flights after 2:30 p.m. is advised.
Breakfast: Early hotel buffet.
Morning: Once checked-out of the hotel, we’ll depart Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, via the Washington State Ferry. Upon docking, we’ll transfer to a chartered motorcoach and ride to Seattle with drop-offs at SeaTac International Airport and the starting hotel. This concludes our program. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!