It’s quite entertaining when I think about how my friend, Sydney, and I make our decision on where we should go for our weekend adventures. This past week was no different; we were watching the Lord of the Rings and reading a book about the 1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die. Quite the combination if I do say so myself. While reading, we came across “Upper Skagit River, Washington, USA” and bald eagles; we were intrigued. I knew it was somewhere I JUST HAD to go see. So we made the decision that for our first adventure of the New Year, we would drive 3.5 hours and visit the Nation’s bird in it’s natural habitat.
Waking up on a non-work day at 6AM, isn’t something I do weekly, but I knew it’d be worth it. The book told us that prime time for the eagles runs from December to Mid January and cloudy days are usually the best days. Lucky for us, the forecast was just that: cold, cloudy and chances of rain (okay, it was raining). We didn’t really know what to expect so first thing we did was head to the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center to find some more information. They told us the eagles are best seen in four different locations located along highway 20: the center, mile marker 100, a county park, and a fish hatchery. Since this was an adventure, we decided it was our best bet to visit each site to try our luck (we did 3 of 4).
Each location was a bit different and the eagles we did see at each site, were so high up in the trees, it was hard to tell a mature bird (the ones with a white head and gold beak) from a juvenile bird (brown). At a few points on the way up the river, we managed to capture a few great views of bald eagles on the opposite bank of the river and we learned it was just have fun seeing them as it was searching for them. Sydney had the eye to spot them and luckily for her, I managed to snatch a few photographs.
Nothing could have prepare us for our way back down the river. A bald eagle sitting no more than 150 feet away from the river bank we were standing. Perching on a log pile, almost as if he knew people had come to capture such an image. I was blown away we the majestic composure this bird was giving us, almost as if he was saying, “this is me, your nation’s bird”. It was breath-taking and well worth the 3.5 hour commute. We saw a few more birds perched in the trees above the highway before heading out of river valley.
We knew our day was not up when we drove past an apple orchard/winery and knew we had to make a pit stop. I don’t think in my time here I’ve seen an apple orchard/winery combo, so I was hoping for something delicious. I wasn’t wrong, they had APPLE WINE and boy oh boy, was I in heaven. It was so sweet and tasty and overall a perfect way to end our journey to the Skagit River Valley. Eagles and wine tasting, who could go wrong with that duo!