November 11th, 2017

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

The last few days I have had the traveling Jones so I got up this morning and went to Sequim and the wildlife refuge I worked at. I got to see some friends today, but one good friend was out of town unfortunately.

I took a walk down the the Spit. It was a trip down memory lane walking down that trail. The cabin I lived in for 2+ years has been torn down so that was a bit of a drag to see. I knew they had torn it down but I had not been down the trail since they had done so. I was the next to last person to live in it and it was full of good memories.

Walking on the beach and looking NW towards the Olympics is beautiful always and is a sight I always looked at first when I got to the bottom of the trail and onto the beach. You get to see the mountains and ocean all in one picture and it was so good to see that view again. I do miss living there, being near the water, and I miss seeing and hanging out with my friends there.

I had considered staying in Port Townsend tonight but decided to just go home and save it for another time. I need to go back and catch up with some other friends and will do that when I am off work and can stay a few days. I don’t want be too rushed and I want to enjoy some nightlife in Port Townsend. I guess that I’ll have to plan a little to get someplace close to all the happenings. Luckily it’s mostly walking distance in town.

It was a good day full of good memories around every corner…a day spent reminiscing about a lot of things. I’m anxious to go back and visit some more.

And So It Begins…

Adventure, Outdoors, Uncategorized

A little over two years ago I was… oh never mind. That was then, and this is now. Now is MUCH better. Then sucked in MANY ways.

With just a few days left here at The Spit, I started to move some of my belongings out of my cabin. Some is going into storage, and the rest I will take out to my new home on Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge.

I got out to Protection Island (“P.I.” as we call it) today with some of my belongings and it really hit me about this change – not only is it that am I moving out of Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. I just took my first solo trip operating a boat for the U.S. Government, taking my belongings out to an island that is a federal wildlife refuge that is closed to the public, and that I will essentially be the only person there most of the time. Here are a few pictures I took today: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnflaherty/sets/72157643042351424/. I will add to these during my stay.

I will be moved out there within the next week or so, putting out a few family pictures and setting up some of the few other personal things I decided to take with me. Not having a house (some may say “a real home”) is easy to overcome if you just do a few things to make it “yours”. Home is where, and what, you make it.

For more information about P.I. you can look at this website: http://www.fodnwr.org/in-the-community/webcams. This is our “Friends” group and most refuges, national parks, and other federal lands have similar organizations. They are all vital to these places and do so much and they can all use help and your involvement for these special places is very rewarding in many ways. Our Friends group has gotten a webcam put up on P.I. They also work on many other projects, one of which is a video about the history and importance of P.I.. If you click on the video link it will take you to Vimeo, which is hosting a very informative video about the island and its features. I learned a lot by watching it and maybe it will help some who watch better understand the importance and why these places matter.

It is amazing what you can do if you just set your mind to doing something and get it done. I have had many great opportunities happen in my life and those things have only happened because I wanted them to, and made them, happen. I may not have not done as much as some, but I have done more than others and I can take great satisfaction and pride in the fact that I have gotten to do so many cool things – well, at least to ME they were cool or I wouldn’t have wanted to do them. Dream for the big things and do what you need to achieve them. It doesn’t matter what others think… live YOUR life for YOU. If a “big” thing to you is something like getting a tattoo, or a second piercing in your ear, then by all means whoop it up!

Some can, and some do. The choice is yours.

Time Flies

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

Sadly, my time here at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is nearly over. It is hard to that believe nearly a year and a half has passed by already.

My replacement has already been chosen and he will be here sometime in mid-to-late March for training with me. In the meantime, I need to start packing the few belongings I am using and prepare to move out of the cabin I have called home this past 17+ months. I also need to do some training myself on what my responsibilities will be on Protection Island when I go out there April 1st.

It is both sad and exciting… I am leaving this place I have worked so hard at and have learned to do so much at, but you cannot move on unless you, well… move on. This was my first caretaker job and the first step in this new direction in my life and I feel great and am excited about the possibilities of the future. The opportunity that is coming up for me is very exciting and I am looking forward to it. Yes, I might be a little nervous about some aspects (like any new position you are starting in anywhere) but it will all be fine and, like all things, you just have to do it and keep learning and making it your own. Operating a boat – especially alone – will be a different experience for me, but I have had training and have been certified for operation of a boat. I have been out of the water in several boats and learned many things from some good friends who are experienced and expert people.

Speaking of friends, I have met a lot of great people and have made many good friends during my relatively short stay here but I really like it up here and I hope to stay… if not now, well, in the future. Some I may not see or hear from again, but many I will be staying in touch with due to the magic of the interweb. It really is much how life has worked from our first memories of school and friends – people move in and out of our schools, our neighborhoods… even our lives. Where I grew up it was a little more prevalent because there was a military base nearby and the population was constantly changing. Some of those people whose paths you cross you stay in touch with, yet others move on to other things in their lives. It is just how it works out.

I have also learned some things about myself as well, and I feel like I have probably become a better person in the last two years. In fact, I was thinking about it last night and I don’t think I have really had a day where I was in a bad mood until a few days ago… the first one in nearly two years! That is pretty remarkable for anyone to say. Have I had days where something didn’t go right and I got pissed off about it and got over it soon thereafter? Well, yeah… but there have not been any days of being in a bad mood all day. You know.. one of “those” days”. I am quite happy to be able to say that.

I have also begun my search for the next place/position after September when my time on Protection Island is done. It is possible to be asked to stay longer so we will have to see where that goes on both sides, but that might be a long time alone on an island (songwriting and the internet will be a huge help with that!). I do still have a couple of potential opportunities to follow up on that can open up in this area, but for now, however, I have started to look around at my next place in case these things do not happen to come through. Gotta be prepared.

No, I had not planned to stay in one spot so soon when I started this adventure (and I said that early om), but this is a good place for me to be and I really like most of what the area has to offer. I also said early on that I would travel around and make mental notes of the best places I visit and put them on a short list of places to end up. I like the Pacific Northwest in general so I probably won’t go too far away – IF it ends up that I have to leave the area for a position to make some money. I have done extensive traveling in the U.S. so I know what areas I will not live in due to weather, politics, or many other factors. Granted no place is perfect in every way so you gotta take a little bad with the things you do like.

But I guess that is really how all the good things in life are.

A New Year Closes In…

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Uncategorized

Well, another year is in the books in just a few days. A new year always seems like a rebirth to me… not sure why. Perhaps it is all of the “year in review” crap on all the news websites, or maybe it could be all of the threats of “resolutions” that always fail. I do tend to fall into that same routine to some extent – one of looking back and doing a little personal inventory on what has come and gone.

My caretaker gig here at the refuge ends March 31, 2014. Hard to believe it, but I will have been here a year and a half by that point. It has been an incredible last couple of years with a lot of changes. Many amazing things have happened and I have gotten to see, do, and learn so much since my journey started. It has been so rewarding and fulfilling and I am so fortunate to have been able to take this road.

Of course I have been thinking a little more about this gig coming to a close. It is sad to a degree, but I knew it would never be permanent when I applied for the gig. I will hate to leave my cabin and my position as the Caretaker. It will be strange to not see this beautiful place every day. It is strange to hear about your replacement and it makes you look at things differently, yet in a good way. It really is a closure. You look at the things you have done and accomplished, some changes you were able to make in your position, maybe see a few things you would have done differently, how the new experiences have affected you as a person.

As many of you probably know if you read my earliest blog entries, my original thought was to travel around and do various caretaker/campground jobs in a few different areas of the country, and maybe even Canada if it were possible. During those travels, I was going to take note of places I have visited and see if some of those could be considered as a place to stay when I got tired of the travel. After coming up here to this wonderful place to do my first-ever caretaker job, I have come to the realization that this area is someplace that could be difficult for me to leave. I really like what life has to offer here… the people, the weather, the crabbing, the friends I have made, the scenery, the mountains, the water… it really is a great place for me to call home. I believe I said before that I really did not realize the effect the water would have on me, and I think that it would be difficult to NOT be around it after having it. It is like the mountains when I lived in the hills in Colorado… I said I could never again live anyplace where there were not any mountains, and it kind of feels that way about the sea for me now.

I cannot say that “plans have changed” because there were really never any “plans”. Plans just get in the way of living. I set out last year to just live life, and I have been doing just that. Regardless of whether I stay around here or go someplace else, I do have to start looking around for my next opportunity. I have a couple of possibilities for now that I have to further look into, but I do have the next 9 months or so covered for now. I still have to consider options in case something happens and I do not get to become the island caretaker so I am keeping that in mind as I check around. One of the things I am beginning to look into is local, the other a few hours away. I do want, and plan, to stay in the northwest, however.

It makes it hard to move on when you find a special place. Colorado was, still is, and always will be for many reasons a special place to me. I never thought I would leave there… but I DID leave there. Up here it is a little more special to me, and those who know me and how I felt/feel about CO may be surprised to hear that come out of my fingertips.

It is all just part of this adventure I am on. It will all be fine.

A Happy New Year to everyone in the world.

Let’s Try This Again…

Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

Well, it looks like my Hawaii training/mini-vacation is tentatively scheduled for sometime in January… hmm, Hawaii in January. I do believe that will not suck much at all. Hopefully we can get it done this time and not have to deal with a shutdown. I’ve got things to do and islands to be on and do not have time for political BS.

On another note, it is starting to feel like Fall here. Leaves are on the ground, but there are still some trees that are just starting to turn! The weather is changing but it is still pretty nice here even though there has been some windstorms. Even when it is overcast it is still a wonderful place to visit. We are seeing lots of birds so get out your Sibley book, binoculars, appropriate clothing, some water and snacks and come on out for some birdwatching! It is a bit quieter here than in the summer, but the overcast weather is still good to be outdoors. Just look at it as you do not need sunscreen! I even got a call today from the caretaker on Protection Island to let me know there was a small group of orcas heading our way. Unfortunately I did not get to see them since I had things to do.

The change back to normal time was a relief, but we now close at 4:30. During the long days I split my day because it is easier to get things done since I have to close the refuge. This time of year, however, I work straight through so I cannot get away much until after I close up at sunset. I have to start getting to town to run errands after work instead of on my weekends so I can have some damn fun!

The last few weekends I have been busy running around doing some of those errands so no adventures to write about, but next weekend I plan on getting out to do some things so check back!