Trees. Big Trees.

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors

I have spent the best part of the last two weeks with a few co-workers identifying hazard trees in campgrounds. We have looked at hundreds of trees and have found signs of disease while wandering through the woods dodging devil’s club and downed giants – climbing over, around, and through the sometimes tangled understory.

While wandering about it is quite interesting to not just look at the trees, since that is what we are doing to look for problems, but to touch and be up close and personal with them. A few Douglas Fir trees that we looked at were massive – over six feet around the trunk and one was nearly 300 feet tall. Think about that for a moment…THREE HUNDRED FEET! That is one big tree. And those are not even as big as the some of the redwoods or giant sequoia.

It makes me think about what the views are from the top of that majestic tree. That has to be incredible. I know that there are people who climb to the top of the redwoods for research and that has to be an amazing thing to do. There are canopy tour companies and I may just have to find one in California and give that a try. (I have another tree-based adventure I am planning on doing this summer. I will post on that only when I actually get to do it.)

It also makes me think about the things these trees have seen in their lifetimes and the challenges they overcame (and keep having to struggle through thanks to humans) to become that big and live that long. They have not been around nearly as long as the bristlecone pines we saw in Colorado, but the bristlecones we saw were nowhere the size of these trees.

It’s just like looking at the stars on a dark summer’s night; it really kind of puts you in your place in the grand scheme of things. We humans are pretty small and insignificant comparatively speaking, yet we can have such devastating effects.

Go out in the woods and take the time to really look around you. It’s pretty amazing what you can find if you just slow down to look, listen, smell, and sometimes even taste.

Perhaps it will awaken something in you as well.

What a Great Day!

Adventure, Outdoors, Travel

As I write this I am kicked back in the sun on a riverbank, in a t-shirt, surrounded by nature. The sounds, smells, and sights that are all around us is diverse and amazing. It’s easy to escape in it. And yes… I have my pants on as well.

Today was another outdoors day. I guess I was tired Friday when I got home because I slept a solid ten hours that night. Must have needed it but I could not fall asleep last night until 1:00 am, and then I woke up at 6:00 this morning. I haven’t slept that good or that long in quite a while as I did Friday night. That’s okay I woke up at 6 since I felt pretty good with just 5 hours in. Plus it’s a beautiful day and there’s stuff to do so I rolled out of bed and got ready to go after I made some breakfast.

It was a beautiful, sunny day today so I took advantage of it. I went to the storage lot and spent a few hours there knocking a few “to-dos” off the trailer list. Got several things done so not much left to do, but those things need to be done outside of the lot anyhoo. I got a few upgrades done and took a few things out I didn’t need in there. Saves pounds and that saves fuel and money. Getting kind of excited to use the trailer. It’s a pretty big change in my life right now.

Okay, had to come back in – starting to cool off so it was time. Plus, that’s about all I needed to say for now. Think I’ll go catch a movie or two.

Toodles!

 

Road Trip!!

Adventure, Travel

Well, I decided to head south after my appointment this morning. I will not give you my destination because I don’t really know what it will be. I have some bucket list checkoffs to sharpen the pencil for.

As I write this, I am in a hotel in Roseburg, Oregon. I had a beer and food at the lounge next door, then it was time to get my hot tub on. Needless to say I am quite relaxed right now and it is just whatI needed.

Keeping this short, as all I really did was drive today. I saw Mount Saint Helens, Mount Rainier, and Mount Hood on my drive. I also saw one of the worst highways I’ve ever driven on. It was black eyes for one had to been 30 miles. It was horrible. Cars were being pulled up over the side of the rail from an embankment, everyone was stopping to put their chains on. I honestly do not know why they have the highway still open.

I was hoping to drive a little bit farther, but I just said the hell with it and pulled over and got a room. I can drive more tomorrow and I plan on it. It will be much safer and I am also trying to modify my driving habits to go fewer miles a day. Slow down and spend time enjoying it.

This trip is really getting me excited to go get my trailer!

That’s all for tonight. Time to kick back!

See you kids later!

I Know… it’s Been a While

Adventure

Yeah, I have been quiet for a while but there really has not been too much to blog about recently. It has been a great summer so far!

It has been an interesting last few months. I have been really busy at work up here in the San Juans. We have really busted our asses trying to get a lot of maintenance projects done and we have really accomplished a lot of things. I think our team is really good together.

I really want to take a massive road trip at some point – probably in the next 3 to 5 years. I know some people who went on a year-long trip and had a blast. I know others who leave for many months and enjoy it. I think it would be fun to do Washington to the Atlantic Provinces through the upper US one way and take a lower Canada route the other way.

Just like my friends in Sequim and Port Angeles, I will definitely miss the new friends that I have come to know and hang out with up here over the last couple of seasons. Staying in touch is so much easier these days and I will still be within a few hours of where I am currently so it will not be far to visit.

I am ready to get back to the mainland; more things to do, cheaper groceries and gas, and not dealing with the ferry constantly. Will I miss it? Sure, I will miss aspects of it. Running a boat every day in the Sand Juan Islands, working on different islands…these things definitely do not suck. Seeing beautiful boats, talking to nice people, beautiful scenery…these things, too, don’t suck. But, I have lived on an island before and had NO conveniences except once a week when I went back across. I got spoiled in the short time I was in Port Angeles by having not only the convenience, but also the public transportation. I am also really excited to be able to hang out with my youngest daughter and spend more time in Seattle.

Knowing tese are the last few days I will be working here is a bit of a downer, but it is the nature of this path I have chosen and can lead to exciting and bigger things in my future.

THAT is what it’s all about. NOT the Hokey Pokey.

Near the Water

Adventure, Outdoors, Travel

Lately I have been pondering the ocean and what it means, and why it has become so important, to me. I have been quite surprised what I have thought about and learned about myself.

I never used to be an ocean person, and looking back it seems odd on the surface for an Aquarius to not think much about the water. I never cared for the suntan/sunburn/sand in the crack of my ass type of ocean places. Yeah, it is nice and it IS fun to play in the water and cool off on a bright, sunny day. For me, however, I have always leaned more towards mountains – the physical beauty of jagged, snow-capped peaks and breathtaking vistas just around the next corner or over the next hill.

The first time I laid eyes on a rugged and rocky coastline was a game changer for me. Here was something new and spectacular – I had the rugged physical features of the cliffs and rocks blended with the calm serenity of the water. I found it to be an interesting contrast of two opposite things. “There just might be something to this water thing after all!” I thought to myself.

In 2012 when I decided to move up here to Washington I was going in blind for the most part. All I knew for sure was that I was going to be the Caretaker at a National Wildlife Refuge on the northern coast of Washington on the outskirts of Olympic National Park. Hmmm…mountains and ocean. This should be a good place to be.

Well, it turned out to NOT be a good place. It was a GREAT place! There are not many places you can be with mountains and ocean so close. I was captivated by my surroundings from Day 1 and I still am 3½ years later. The magic of the mountains has become the magic of the ocean as well, and the two together is so incredible that it is hard to describe.

I have posted previously about all the things I have gotten to do since being up here so they do not need to be repeated. It really has been an incredible journey and it has been, and continues to be, amazing to me.

Not being on the ocean has been harder than I thought it would be. It’s not the end of the world, but I really do miss it. But just what do I miss? What is it that draws me to it? I have really put some thought into it and I have come up with a few things.

First, let me say this. The mountains have always had that magic to me. Since I was young I have always been drawn to them. I really did not give much thought to any other types of surroundings. Now that I have gotten older I have expanded my horizons and I see the beauty in other types of nature – the desert in all of its vast nothingness has its own beauty that I have experienced, although not as much on a personal level as hiking and camping in the mountains. Working in the refuges and seeing different animals and creatures has given me a different perspective on the things around me and now I don’t “need” to extinguish the tiny life forms (spiders, bugs, and such) from existence. It is just not necessary. It has really changed me and my life is much calmer for the most part. I can say without a doubt that I am a different and better person in part because of it.

A few weeks ago I had to go back up to the San Juans for some business. Getting on the ferry brought it all back to me – the sounds, the smell of the salt air, to gentle rocking of the boat. With that being said, my attraction to the ocean has been a puzzle to me to some extent – just what is it that draws me to it? Yeah, boating, crabbing, seeing whales near my boat, etc. are just the visible aspects. To me, there is the vastness of it for one thing. It’s water as far as you can see; an infinity of water if you will. No end to it, no beginning to it…it’s just all around us. Sometime it rears up and makes its presence known but mostly it just lies there calmly lapping against the shoreline.

Another thing is that it doesn’t really change like the physical features of the earth. Earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, sandstorms, and flooding all physically change the earth but once the flooding is over water returns to its calm self, enjoying a day at the beach. Interestingly, it’s probably the only thing of all the things I mentioned that we can try to control but can never fully tame.

It is relaxing to be near the water, and it is similar to staring into a campfire for hours on end (which I have done many times while camping). Nothing really changes, but yet it does. It is peaceful, it is mesmerizing, and it is something that is so big, so powerful, and so uncontrollable that it puts us in our lowly place in the grand scheme of things.

In my summer job I operate a boat most every day and I really enjoy my time on the water quite a bit. It enables me to see places and perform my job, but it also is both calming and exciting to be out there where not everyone gets to go and where many have never been or never will go.

I was on the internet a few days ago and came across an interesting article. It was rather timely given that I had started to ponder my “need” for the saltwater and it really brought up some interesting observations that I can definitely understand. It also helped me identify other reasons I have grown to like the ocean.

In closing this post I would like to add this: I have been fortunate enough to fulfill a lifelong dream of living in the mountains in Colorado – one big item scratched off of my bucket list. I never thought it could be better but I was wrong. Being here in Washington and having the mountains AND the ocean has been great, but being able to fully enjoy the water and all it offers (both physically and emotionally) has been something really special.

It’s good to be home.