Monday, January 3, 2011

My place

Apparently I have to turn off the TV to get the urge to write something. Who would’ve thunk it? Or in this case, get away from the tv completely…too bad that meant leaving my warm dry shelter for cuddling up in my car with my soaking wet four legged friend.
A little known fact: The Hoh Rain Forest where I am currently residing is the wettest place in all of North America. No not just this general area of the country…but this very valley only about 20 miles long and less than a half a mile wide. Even wetter than the rain forests of central america…ex: Costa Rica, Belize, etc. So what does that mean? Well for the past 5 days there has been no more than a couple hours of semi-dryness. 2 weeks ago it rained so hard in one night that the river went from 4,000 to 40,000 cfs (cubic feet per second). 200 ft long spruce trees with root wads the size of semi trucks were floating down the river…taking smaller trees and every thing else with them in the process. Quite a sight to behold.

I had to rush into town at 80 mph in a blinding rain to get food & supplies after the park ranger told me he expected the road to wash out and I would be cut off from society. In the end that didn’t happen but the impression was left in my mind.
In the aftermath it became clear that my beloved Hoh River had went through an overly common midlife crisis. Every single run, hole or otherwise known fishing spot of mine was gone forever replaced with a whole new scene. Back to square one on learning this river and its steelhead. I guess that’s part of the game and part of the fun…each day is new and unique.
I wish I could say the past few weeks were very productive, and not that there haven’t been moments, but their just isn’t much to do around Forks, WA besides go fishing. And when I cant do that…well I have Walker Texas Ranger marathons at least.
Im not sure what it is about the road but today it was like as soon as I got in the car and got the music going (Ray Lamontagne), my mind started turning in overdrive. Catching up I guess on the past two months here where I think I may have taken a mind vacation. I’ve always thought of myself as very self reflective, often times to a fault or at least to the sacrifice of my everyday happiness. But it is also something about myself that I wouldn’t change, so realizing I had lost touch with that for a while really bothered me. Im glad to say today I am catching up in a hurry. The meaning of life, my destiny, and my summer plans were all on the menu today to the point of me missing road signs and turns more than once.
Possibly my mind vacation enable me to better take in my surroundings. Over the past two months since I took up residence on the Hoh River I have been encompassed daily by breathtaking beauty. Bald Eagles, along with Pate of course, are my constant river companion. There graceful flight and majestic stature never stops amazing me. Golden Eagles, who dwarf even the Bald’s, often fool me into thinking taradactyls and lost worlds. I’m yet to see a T-Rex. Elk frequent my front yard every few days, sometimes just feet off my front porch. Cougars probably aren’t far off either. Sometimes following a dark riverside trail I have been overcome with that eerie being watched feeling…times like these make me even more thankful for my little buddy with acute senses by my side.
And then there are the days that the rain parts, the skies clear, and Mount Olympus towers in the background. Suspended above rain forest and glacier…a photo could be mistaken for the Himalayas. Other days I drive 15 miles in the opposite direction to the ocean, walk the beach and listen to the waves. And then there’s the steelhead…yup, this place isn’t so bad.

My backyard...the Hoh River Valley