Thursday, August 22, 2013

San Juan Getaway: Day 3: Haunted Mausoleum + more

We woke up on our last full day with a long list of things to do. Our legs were tired and ached from the previous day's hiking, but we ventured on!

First on the list-

McMillin Family Mausoleum: Roche Harbor

I told you I was afraid to go to the mausoleum in the pitch black, and with good reason my friends...

You walk up through an aging graveyard with crumbling, overgrown plots caged by white picket fences, down a rocky path to the grand mausoleum entrance.

Things to do San Juan Islands trip to Roche Harbor Mausoleum
{Photo: McMillin Family Mausoleum: Roche Harbor © ShannonSorensen}

The musty smell of the dim forest and the quiet solitude among the trees, gives you the feeling you are on "hallowed ground". All six family members' ashes are buried in the stone seats that encircle the table.

visit mcmillin haunted mausoleum on roche harbor
{photo: McMillin Mausoleum: Roche Harbor, San Juan Island © ShannonSorensen}
Roche Harbor is on the list of haunted places, and this mausoleum has its share of ghostly tales:
As the sun goes down on summer evenings, and the lights shine through the trees on the tomb, some believe somehow the shadows change, and the McMillin family meets again to have a ghostly dinner together in the afterglow.
Late at night on a full moon, as you walk to the mausoleum through the winding graveyard path, be prepared to see the 6 people buried under the seats around the table, sitting together, laughing and talking. 
It has also been told that if you sit at the large stone table when it's raining, not a drop will come down through the roof's open center.
Gives me chills!

After our ghostly adventure, we walked through the bottom floor of the historic Hotel de Haro and gardens and kissed Roche Harbor goodbye as we headed out.

After a quick stop at English Camp for a little history, we headed to:

Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm

These alpaca's were a lackadaisical bunch. They mostly kept their heads down and ate grass, and peeked up every once in a while.
things to do on San Juan Island, visit alpaca farm
{Photo: Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, San Juan Island © ShannonSorensen}

At this point we came back to town to get something to eat and went to nearby Jackson Beach for a little respite.

After reviewing this photo, I was convinced I had either captured a shark or whale (see the "fin"?). Rod's convinced it's just something floating in the water due to the shape and because it has seaweed on it. I'm sticking with my theory.

shark, whale siting, san juan island
{photo: view from Jackson Beach, San Juan Island © ShannonSorensen}

We had tallied up a lot of hiking miles on this trip so far + we were always heading here and there, and I wanted to remember to take some time just to sit and take it all in, without thoughts of what we were going to do next. I always seem to forget to do that.

And although our legs were tired and we were feeling our limits, we had one more place to check off our list, before we could take some time to just sit.

Jackal's Lagoon

Why does lagoon sound so much more inviting than lake? Is it from watching Peter Pan too many times? For whatever reason, I had to see what these 3 lagoons were all about.

The first lagoon was pretty much a dried up salt bed (bottom left image in collage) but it looked cool from above. We decided we might as well hike down to see it close up. Not such a good idea. After whacking through tall weeds and bushes & scratching our legs up, we got about half way down the hill. I voted that it wasn't worth the torture of going down, knowing our tired legs would have to come back up. So I took a picture of our half way point and we trudged back up the hillside.

We dusted ourselves off and headed down the trail to Lagoon #2 (below)

places to hike san juan island jackal's lagoon
{photo: Jackal's Lagoon - 1st lagoon: bottom left; 2nd lagoon - remaining photos © ShannonSorensen}

The hike was harder than our tired legs were ready for, and when we finally reached the bottom, it was like a lake filled with moss and pools of stagnant water. Not that it wasn't still pretty, I'll just put it this way: it wasn't the lagoon of my dreams. Thoughts of hiking another 2 miles uphill to the 3rd lagoon quickly disappeared.

Rod did find me a good vampire stake (ha!) so I had to snap a picture of it.

We rested for a bit at the water's edge, but knew we had the inevitable hike back up those steep hills to get to our car. How much for a helicopter ride? haha no really.

Our final destination for the evening was the place we would stay for hours. A place we would sit and soak in the beautiful scenery until the sun went down...

South Beach

One of my favorite parts about South Beach was our friend the fox. He trotted out of the brush, onto the paved road down to the beach. I was obsessed with getting pictures of him so we pulled over and I grabbed my beefy camera and zoom lens.

Rod got out of the car and tried to get an even closer picture. That made me really nervous. I was afraid he'd get more than he bargained for. Looks like someone's hungry.
wildlife sightings, fox, south beach on san juan island
{South Beach Fox © ShannonSorensen}

wild fox photos on san juan island, washington
{South Beach Fox © ShannonSorensen}

The beach was beautiful and peaceful. You don't even want to know how many pictures I took of the crests and the crashes and the search of the perfect wave photo.

relax at south beach on san juan island
{South Beach, San Juan Island © ShannonSorensen}

There was a lovely view of Cattle Point Lighthouse. I wondered if the crabby artist was still there finishing her painting?

view of cattle point lighthouse from south beach, san juan island
{View of Cattle Point Lighthouse from South Beach © ShannonSorensen}

And we sat, and sat, and sat, (well, Rod threw rocks and sticks in the water) but I sat, soaking up all there was to see, smell and hear of this wondrous place...until the last rays of the sun peeked over the horizon.

beach sunset from south beach, san juan island
{Sunset at South Beach, San Juan Island © ShannonSorensen}

The perfect ending to a wonderfully full day.

*Stay tuned for my final post: a closer look at Friday Harbor before we ship off.

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  1. What lovely pictures! I love the fox. That picture with his tongue sticking out is priceless!

    1. Thanks Lauralynn! Our little fox visitor was one of the highlights of our trip! :)

  2. Replies
    1. I know, right?! I'm obsessed with the fox pictures too! :)

  3. Hi Shannon,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Roche Harbor to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!


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