My all time favorite place on the Olympic Peninsula is Lake Crescent. Known for its brilliant blue waters and exceptional clarity which is caused by a lack of nitrogen in the water which inhibits the growth of algae. it is officially the second deepest lake in the state of Washington.
The lake was formed when glaciers carved out deep valleys during the last Ice Age. Approximately 8,000 years ago, a great landslide from one of the Olympic Mountains dammed Indian Creek and the deep valley filled with water.
On my fruitless search for Mick Dodge, I soaked in the soul of the Hoh River valley. Sunlit open glades presented a rich interface between forest and river, providing food, water and cover. Riparian habitats are essential to wildlife. Ospreys, bald eagles, black bears and river otters visit the Hoh River and its tributaries in search of salmon.
I was also curious about the name…
Smitty Parratt, in his God and Goblins study of Olympic National Park place names, claims that Hoh means “fast, white water” but, in fact, no etymology for the name can be found in either the Quinault or Quileute languages. As Herb Fisher said, the “Hoh is only a name.” If there was an original meaning it has been lost. The Hoh River people themselves, who speak Quileute, call their river Cha’lak’at’sit, which means the “southern river”.
The Forks Library posted Poems along the trails in the Hoh. This one resonated with me:
Lost by David Wagoner
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, and you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers. I have made this place around you. If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, you are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows where you are. You must let it find you.
Since I decided to travel around the perimeter of this country, I thought it appropriate to seek out the furthest corners. Cape Flattery marks the spot of the most Northwestern point in the contiguous states. (I understand the most Northern spot is somewhere in Minnesota – I will check that out some time this summer)
Cape Flattery is the oldest permanently named feature in Washington state, being described and named by James Cook. on March 22, 1778. Cook wrote: “… there appeared to be a small opening which flattered us with the hopes of finding an harbour … On this account I called the point of land to the north of it Cape Flattery.
In 1834, the first Japanese persons known to have set foot on what is now Washington state arrived in a dismasted, rudderless ship that ran aground near Cape Flattery. The three survivors of the broken ship were held as slaves by the local Makah people. When William H. McNeill learned about them, he took them to British authorities at Fort Vancouver, under orders from John McLoughlin of the Hudson Bay Company which controlled the site.[
Check out my Places Page for more pictures from Cape Flattery, and my Critters page to see some of the birds that let me capture their picture
A local Indian Legend explains how Olympic and Sol Duc Hot Springs were created:
Once there were two dragons. One lived in the Sol Duc Valley and the other lived in the Elwha Valley. Neither dragon knew or the other’s existence. One day they were both out exploring the forest when they came face to face on top of the ridge separating the Elwha and Sol Duc Valleys. Get exploded with anger as each accused the other of invading its territory.
The fight was brutal as the dragons thrashed and ripped at each other to win back their territory. After years of fighting and clawing at each other, they grew frustrated. Their strength was evenly matched and neither could win. The dragons both admitted defeat and crawled back to caves back in their respective valleys and are still crying over being defeated. The dragon’s hot tears are the source of the hot springs in Elwha and Sol Duc Valleys.
Last night I was pleased to see 2 other airstreams in the small campground. One of the couples shared a bottle of their champagne and Aunt Dot’s Pretzels (oh my were they good) around the campfire to celebrate my retirement
This morning I took a walk to Sol Duc Hotsprings. My soul was filled by all the nature around me. My thought for the day was how water keeps moving always taking the path of least resistence. Hmmm….
Community theater is the heart and soul of a community. I was lucky enough to be in Friday Harbour to experience “Rock On” featuring hit songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s put on by the San Juan Singers and the Chameleons. As I entered the theater I was delighted to see the audience dressed in their favorite glad rags from those decades. I was one of only 10 people in the audience that were visitors to the island that night. The folks around me welcomed me and thanked me for patronizing island lodging. I felt immediately like part of the community. The production was very high energy. The audience was dancing in the aisles.
For decades I maintained season subscriptions to Seattle’s top production theaters. I loved their fancy production sets and professional actors. I thoroughly enjoyed the shows. Last year I decided to try a smaller community theater instead. The sets were simpler, the casting was creatively non traditional. The audience smaller and more intimate. Curiously these productions touched my soul and stayed with me much longer than the larger stage.
I look forward in my travels to find community theaters all across the country during my travels.
To see more about San Juan Island, check my Places and Critters pages
If you have any recommendations please feel free to post them as comments.
Many ask why I named my Airstream Bob. The short answer is that I named it after my Dad.
My dad was a private pilot. Growing up I flew with him all over the country mostly to local fly-in breakfasts, sometimes longer trips to warmer climes (Texas & Florida) to get away from the cold Chicago winters. He always like to say how someday he wanted to fly across the country wherever the wind would blow him and sleep under the wing.
I have so many fond memories of flying with him. One hot August day, at 8 years old, I ate too many pancakes and sausages at one of those Fly-In breakfasts. Flying home on final approach, the august heat, smell of airplane oil, and my breakfast got the better of me. Being in the Aircoupe, with the windows down, my dad told me to hold my head out the window so I wouldn’t mess up the interior plane. The interior was spared, but I was a mess, he poured a gallon jug of water over me, which felt great in the heat, I was soaked so he let me wear his t-shirt. It was all fun and games from my point of view.
The next plane was a Mooney. I learned to fly in that plane, with it’s variable prop and retractable landing gear. My dad loved that plane. I used to feel so important as his co-pilot, keeping watch for other aircraft. Mapping our progress against our routes. Setting the radios for the next VOR we were tracking to. One of my favorite adventures in that plane, was when we flew over the Bermuda Triangle and our instruments went a little cuckoo. We popped thru the clouds though, and there was Nassau looking pretty as a picture.
After the Mooney came the Cheetah. That was a sweet ride too. I was in college by this time, and he would fly up to a local airport and give my friends rides. I remember flying to watch the fireworks from the air. What a vantage point.
Sadly, my dad was involved in a mid-air collision over a small airport. The weather was closing in, and both planes had the same idea of waiting out the weather at the same airport at the same time. My dad was on his way to retirement a mere 30 miles from his destination. I hold on to the thought that he died doing the thing he loved, and felt no pain. He was a young man and I was only 24. He was still Superman in my mind. I appreciate that I didn’t have to witness him failing. I also take with me the belief that one never knows how much time they have left, so it is important to embrace life.
I named my Airstream Bob, so I can take my Dad with me on my version of flying across the country. My guardian angel watching over me.