It is raining yet again. The rain never seems to abate around these parts, our campsite that is. We’ve spent the last seven days camped down a little gravel offshoot of an Olympic National Forest Service road off Hwy 101 on the western most side of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. This locale happens to be situated in between not one, but TWO temperate rainforests, the Hoh Rainforest resides about 30 miles to the north while the Quinalt Rainforest resides 10 miles to the south. This would explain the rain.
Also the mostly undeveloped coast of the Pacific Ocean lay just 15 miles to the west. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and unique in its ever wet and ever alive feeling that drips from every moss covered tree and wild fern that takes over the road side. It is here, a bit past six months into our RV trip across the country, that I feel compelled to write.
I have missed writing I think. We kept up this blog for 6 years or so, detailing every little piece of our lives as they progressed from working and boat work, house selling and consolidating our things to getting rid of everything non essential and moving aboard Sundowner to take off across the high seas for a year of sailing the Caribbean. What a time that was!
Our videos have been a departure from the writing as we try to hone different creative skills and ways to document and tell our story. But still we both agree that the blog has a place too. We enjoy the videos and strive each time to make them our own, something that is enjoyable to watch but also that we’ll be proud to look back on later and remember these times.
It has taken and will take more adjustment to have both the videos and the written blog, as well as our busy traveling lives. Baring yourself on camera isn’t easy and takes some getting used to. Often times when we want to describe what’s happening the words on camera just aren’t there. There is also only so much time one can dedicate to recording life. Somewhere I believe lies a balance, one we are still working out.
It is not easy to keep up with the internet world. For example our campsite here in the forest has no internet whatsoever. You have to drive 30 miles in either direction to get it. So here we are completely disconnected, unable to check Facebook, You Tube, Instagram, the blog and an array of other things that draw our online attention. There are more often times like this out sailing. We have to be ok with being out of touch, with keeping a bit of distance but when the opportunities present themselves for us to share what we’ve been up to, we will.
Well what have we been up to? In the past 6 months we’ve traveled to 16 states over 5,000 miles. Currently at this campsite (no cost as all of our campsites have been) on the western most part of Washington State we’ve had four gigantic fires with stumps and actual tree trunks. Since it rains so much the wood is most often wet but Tate does his magic and works the wood in different arrangements and eventually gets a fire going.
He tends to it throughout the evening and keeps it nice and warm for us in our chairs. We bought some whip cream when we were last at the store and we’ve treated ourselves to delicious Irish coffees to enjoy by the fire’s side as we watch the sun go down, which at this time of the year isn’t until very late.
It’s very strange seeing the day stay light for long into the evening. It’s never like this back home and definitely not the in tropics, but here it gets light around 4am and stays that way till 10pm. It feels like the nights go on forever. In the winter however this is reversed with very little sunlight coming through in the day times. We have arrived in this area in a good time of year.
It’s so quiet here, the most quiet we’ve had in a while. There isn’t the hum of a distant road or the swooshing sounds of running water. It’s dead quiet except for the occasional loud call of the birds that live in the trees surrounding the RV. We never see them but can hear them, especially at dusk when we suspect they are calling their fellow birds home for the night.
Bald eagles fly around these parts in spades. You can’t go anywhere without seeing one, usually two or three, though the loud birds in these trees never let themselves been seen. They are fully hidden and protected in the super thick and evergreen rainforest where they perch. I imagine they are afraid of being eaten.
Next time, however, I’d like to have some binoculars to identify what could make such a sound. We call them the “super-sonic” birds as the end of their song is so high pitch and wavering that you can almost feel your ears twitch up to the noise, the kind of noise that makes your teeth hurt. Trees line both sides of the campsite and you can hear the same birds on each side, both calling in their super-sonic tones, perhaps giving each other a “tree-report”, or update on the status of things in this sleepy place.
Wildflowers flourish here. Purple, white, yellow, blue and orange flowers spring up and line the roads everywhere you walk or drive, in the summer anyways. If you lived up here you could most definitely have fresh picked flowers on the table at home, a cheery table adornment.
There is wildlife too. Just the other morning when I started the generator to run our coffee maker a group of three deer were startled, though just barely, and they meandered in plain view of our huge glass front windows, unafraid of being seen, it seems. There was a buck with short fuzzy antlers and what looked like a doe and a baby deer. A little deer family who call this rainforest area home. After they ate a little more they wandered out of sight.
The humidity here is undeniable. It’s similar to where we are from in Louisiana except it’s the middle of July and it is not hot, in fact it’s somewhat cool and we never leave the RV without a jacket. There is a dampness in the air and it makes our jeans and other natural fabrics slightly wet to the touch. It’s not bothersome though and there are no bugs to speak of really except maybe a few lazy mosquitoes, some flies and oh yes, now I remember, bees.
During my jog the other day I slowed down to catch my breath and I noticed after a minute or so a bunch of flies landed on me, seeking salt I imagine. Horseflies even…the ones that bite. Never mind them, they are harmless enough but then a bee showed up so I started my jog again seeking new scenery, unfortunately to my great dismay the bee had followed me very closely and when I stopped was in the same proximity to me as before.
This was cause for great alarm as I was afraid of being stung so I took off, at a full sprint, for a minute or two before having to slow down to catch my breath. Low and behold Mister Determined Bee was RIGHT where he was before, buzzing happily in front of my face. I took off again at a faster stride and this time looked over my shoulder to see him buzzing along at nearly 7 mph chasing me and whatever I had that he (or she) desired so greatly.
I still had a couple of miles to run so instead eventually I stopped running and confronted the bee. I started swatting at him with my visor (lacking in combat material). I hit him once and he went down. Satisfied that he was incapacitated I ran onward to the RV until a minute later he was back in action buzzing quickly near my ear. Too exhausted I was resigned to whatever fate he had in mind but in the end when I reached the RV he finally flew away and just like that my bee saga was over.
The National Forest Road is nicely paved and a perfect place for me to go jogging which I do about every other day. It’s SO incredibly pleasant to jog here in the northwest forests. I feel like I can go on forever, which is normally just 30 minutes in one direction, then 30 minutes back. Running faster or slower doesn’t seem to matter as my joints have a time limit they like to adhere to and that remains about 1 hour of hip-knee-ankle movement time.
The temperatures have stayed in the 60 to 70’s each day since June. This is a memorable summer for Tate and myself. Never have we spent a summer in such cool weather and we won’t ever forget it.
We have been waiting here in our quiet forest campsite for a good sunny day to hike 10 miles in the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park and the fortune tellers say tomorrow is supposed to be good…wish us luck!