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Starting My Yurt Life On Orcas Island, WA

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Old 03-14-2013, 10:17 PM   #1
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Default Starting My Yurt Life on Orcas Island, WA

My wife and I have owned a beautiful little piece of ocean-view land on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of WA state for about 9 years now. Over that time we have enjoyed camping up there in the summers, but we love spending time there and finally decided we needed a more "permanent vacation home." Since we do not have the money to build a house, our little community on Orcas does allow yurts to be constructed as temporary residences....although they also don't define temporary...so we are just GOING FOR IT. We plan on using the yurt throughout the year as much as possible to spend more time away from the hectic life we live here near Seattle.

Platform Construction
I began digging the holes for my platform a few weeks ago and decided to go with the 12" x 12" concrete piers currently sold at Home Depot. For the most part, I dug about 8-10" into the ground, tamped the soil, laid down some gravel and leveled the pier. The frost depth in the San Juan Islands is supposed to be 12" but I thought I would be okay digging 8-10" since we are pretty close to the water and really don't get prolonged periods of freezing cold. I'll let you know how that works out.
Over the last 2 weekends, I have placed 13 piers in the ground that will serve as the base for my 16' yurt (which we recently ordered from Colorado Yurt Co. It should come in April) I am super-excited to be starting my "yurt life", because I find my time in the islands to be the most relaxing in my life and I can't imagine any better way to spend time there than in a yurt. I'll post a few pics of our site and concrete pier setup (I've been using the PacificYurt 16' platform plans).

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Old 03-15-2013, 06:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Starting My Yurt Life on Orcas Island, WA

That certainly looks like a perfect spot. It must be a bear getting that stuff up there! A 16 footer is probably perfect for that spot. I built mine last Spring and enjoyed it all. You are going to have the time of your life up there.

Please keep the pics coming as I would love to watch your progress!
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Starting My Yurt Life on Orcas Island, WA

Looks like a great start to a new beginning. the only thing about having a place like this is having to leave to return to the ho hum part of your life feeling we know well. I know I hate when we have to come home from our place in southern West Virginia.
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: Starting My Yurt Life on Orcas Island, WA

Thanks for the nice comments and encouragement Jafo and Marshall. Even without the yurt I typically dread coming back to the mainland from the San Juan Islands. It is such a beautiful and magical place. I'll definitely keep the pictures coming.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:43 AM   #5
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Default Re: Starting My Yurt Life on Orcas Island, WA

This simply looks like a wonderful place! Happy yurting!
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Starting My Yurt Life on Orcas Island, WA

I thought I would post a few more pics of our

yurt platform

construction. A special thanks to my good friend Travis for his hard work last weekend. I now understand why yurt manufacturers recommend that you have building experience to build a platform. Lucky for me, my buddy has experience and a father who works in commercial construction who let us borrow some tools.
We had to brave some elements during the build as you'll see in the pics.
We still have some work to do (cutting the plywood and cross-bracing), but other than that we accomplished a lot.
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Starting My Yurt Life on Orcas Island, WA

Some more pics of the construction, our site and my buddy Travis. I am hoping to get back out to the island next weekend to finish up the platform.
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Last edited by OrcasGuy; 04-13-2013 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: Starting My Yurt Life on Orcas Island, WA

Looking good. Can't wait to see the rest. Again, what a great spot you have there!
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: Starting My Yurt Life on Orcas Island, WA

Thanks Jafo....and you were right...it was a bit of a pain getting all the materials up there. Luckily my buddy has an 8' x 16' tool trailer that we were able to load up.
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Starting My Yurt Life on Orcas Island, WA

I finally finished my platform about 2 weeks ago...but did not have a chance to post pics as I have been super busy at work. My wife, daughter and I went out there and finished up cutting the plywood deck and completing the cross-bracing to sure it up. It's been a lot of fun getting the family involved, as they are now as excited as I am to get the yurt up. We are hoping to get up there in the next 2 weeks to complete the construction of our yurt home away from home.

Here are some more pics of the construction
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