Day Fourteen – September 23, 2012

Camping by the Hoh River – Olympic National Park

Tonight I sit on the banks of the Hoh River in Olympic National Park – one more place I can check off of my bucket list! It is a milky blue-gray from the glacial deposits and is quite relaxing to be camping next to. I finally am able to have a fire, so I had a burger and cooked some diced potatoes up with butter, onions, and spices. A damn tasty and filling meal. I am keeping the fire going as long as I can – not much wood to burn and they are not selling any.

Last night was just a place to stay on the way to get here. I have always wanted to see the Olympic Peninsula, and I have not been disappointed. I got my first full view of the Pacific Ocean on this trip today as the highway went right along the edge of the water. I stopped and took a walk on the beach. It was good to see it again – it has been a while. Made a few other stops along the way to see some things and hike a bit. Saw a giant Sitka spruce (I think that is what it was). The roots and the base of the tree looked like something out of Middle Earth. It was surreal.

And even more surreal was the songs that came up on shuffle on the way as I was driving. I had the iPhone going through my stereo, and the first song was a Pink Floyd song. Not too strange, but then the strangest thing happened. Three road songs in a row: “Movin’ On” by Missouri (a midwest band from the 80s), “End of the Road” by Eddie Vedder from the “Into the Wild” soundtrack, and “Back on the Road Again” by REO Speedwagon. It was obviously a day meant for a drive.

I got to the campground here early in the afternoon and got everything in its place, had lunch, then took off for a hike. Ended up doing about two miles, maybe a hair over. Walked through parts of the rain forest and it is almost scary looking in places. Enormous trees with moss and lichens hanging off of them. They said the trees average about 220 feet, but some grow to 300. It makes you feel pretty small on this earth walking amongst them. It is just incredible to see, and even if you cannot walk far you can still see a lot by just walking a short trail.

A nice morning shot
A nice morning shot

Back to the fire… Rather interesting that I was told it was okay to scavenge wood in the park. I have NEVER been told to do that ever. National Parks do not let you do that that I have ever seen.

Later, I ran into a guy and let him know this about the wood. He said he had brought some, and that I could go by his site and get a bundle from him since this is is last night out.

I went by and we talked a bit. His name is Willie, and he is a young guy, maybe about 30. He came from Maryland to Seattle via college in Wisconsin. We had a good chat, then I grabbed the firewood and we parted ways. The few people I have actually met and talked with during my travels have been very nice people.

I can tell that I have lost a few pounds so far. Not as many as I need or want to lose, but I can tell that they are going away slowly. I have been doing a lot more walking/hiking and some bike riding almost every day. I am also not eating as much so I just gotta keep it up on all levels and I will get there. There is much less stress so that is a big help in many ways.

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