Our trip odometer was approaching 5000 miles on what we thought would be a 3 or 4000 mile drive across the country.
What the heck, should we go all the way to Alaska? Attempt to cross the Bering Strait? What if we ran into Sarah Palin up there? Nah, she was probably far behind us scrounging for votes in New Hampshire or Iowa..
We voted to stretch our journey another 700 miles to the Northwest corner of the country, we’d proceed to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
The next day we drove into the national park there where a ranger asked, “So what do you want to see, the 8000-foot alpine region, boulder-strewn seashore, or a fantastic rain forest?”
I told him I wanted really wanted to see the sun.
He had no idea what I was talking about.
There is no word for sun in the northwest corner of the country.
It has never been seen by the pasty-faced folks who live there. Yes, it does get light in the morning and dark at night but they have no idea why. Its all clouds and rain.
In the evening people gather at the shore to watch a faint orange glow on the misty horizon. They call it “cloudset”.
We had raincoats and opted for the full rain forest experience. We camped on the Alwha River and learned that later this year it will set free. A hundred years ago they put in two dams that created fake lakes, a lot of electricity, and kept the salmon from coming home every year. In September they will begin to remove the dams.
It will be the largest dam removal project ever attempted in our country. The locals are excited. So are the fish.
That evening the Elwha was raging past our campsite. This year’s massive snow melt puts on quite a show.
We marveled at the life around the river. Moss
and ferns grew on everything as twelve feet of rain
fall here every year.
In Olympic National Park we are told to watch our for mountain lions as well as bear. We are instructed that the lions are predators, much more aggressive than bears. If you see one you are suppose to “back up a bit, never take your eyes off of it and to appear as big as possible”.
I practice flexing, puffing my cheeks, and widening my eyes.