August 3rd, 2017

Adventure

Today I started moving stuff into my apartment. I got cut short on time a little bit because of the heat. I also had to take my truck in to get some brake work done on it. Grinding seems to have developed in the last few days and that’s never a good $ign.

I also had to run and buy a stand-alone air conditioner today. I really didn’t want to spend the money but I had to. It is so hot, and my apartment’s on the second floor facing west. I cannot sleep at all when it’s hot. I have enough trouble sleeping as it is but add the heat on top of that and I might as well be up doing something since I can’t sleep.

I was sitting in the apartment today thinking how strange it is to be there. I haven’t read an apartment for nearly 40 years. My first apartment was in a building in Leavenworth Kansas that used to be a three-story house belonging to some of the upper crust in town. It is still on Broadway along with all the other big old houses with the old money. I remember the guy who was managing the place telling me that on the third floor there used to be a dancehall. I bet it was something else to see in the day. 

The house has a round the corner like a castle on it on one side and that was where my bedroom was. That was strange yet cool. It was a princely sum of $110 a month!

I remember waking up suddenly one morning for some reason and seeing what I thought was smoke filling the apartment. Needless to say, I flew out of bed and ran the other room to see what was on fire while freaking out a bit half asleep. I discovered that the pressure valve on the steam radiator had stuck and it filled the room with steam. The paint was even peeling off the walls! 

So here I am, 40 years later, sitting in another apartment. I have made payments on four houses during that time, thinking I would never rent again (which there was a rental or two in there while moving). It is completely different now though. I don’t anticipate ever buying another house again after my last experience and losing my ass on that “investment”. 

Will I move again? Probably not, but there is that chance so why drop anchor? I want, and enjoy, the freedom to move if I want to.

I do plan on being in this place for quite a while though. The convenience is nice, but it sucks to commute. But, I can set my iMac back up and start working on music again. Equipped kitchen is good. Bottom line is that it’s a place to call “home” and I can stretch out. I could even have company!

I have lived where I work the last five years and I needed to be away from that. I am glad all the pieces fell into place.

Reflections 8/12/16

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors

Today was an interesting day for me.

My new job is going exceedingly well and I am really enjoying it along with the people that I work with. I am getting to do some new and exciting things in a new old place.

I think that I missed the mountains more than I thought I did. Today I went down to the river after work and waded in the cool, rushing stream. I had to take my hearing aids out of course but it was so nice to be in that moment.

As I was walking down to the washed-out area where the bridge was this little boy about three, another boy a bit older, and their mom carrying a baby walked up the hill. The little boy walks up and says “What’s your name?”. I said “Shawn” and he walked up and gave me a hug! That really catches one off-guard. It’s awkward with the way things are in society these days but I have to take it at face value; it’s just a little kid wanting a hug.

I walked down to the water and did some wading around. It was rather cool to be waiting around in, but it also felt pretty nice after a 90° day. I pretty much had the river to myself (I actually did the same thing yesterday too).

I made my way back up to the bridge and stopped in the center of it looking over the stream, the river that it flows into, and the railroad bridge in the distance. I got lost in this stream…every movement, every bug, the ripples, the way the stream bed has been affected by objects in the water. It was just fascinating.

A movement caught my eyes and it was a garter snake swimming across the stream. He seemed oblivious to me and I watched it swim across almost to the far shore and he went in amongst the rocks. He then started diving to feed on the bottom around the rocks. I have never seen this before and it was incredible to watch.

An incredible peace was inside me. Don’t know what other way to put it than that.

Nature is so amazing if you just stop and think about all the moving parts – all the plants and animals doing what they do. It all just works. I have gotten much more in tune with my surroundings in the last several years. It is so easy to take a place for granted that you live in. It all can become routine and “everyday” if you’re not careful. Living life tends to get in the way sometimes and can consume our energies. I know… It has happened to me before and I regret that it happened.

But, I digress. Shit happens in our lives and we move on. End of story. We carry on and adjust our paths and it works.

And it’s pretty amazing.

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.

August 8, 2015

Adventure

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Today I took the Tunnel Creek trail and hiked to Hope Lake then on to Mig Lake. It was a perfect day for a hike – a few clouds but not enough to hamper the sun. The temperature was probably in the 60s, and except for six others and the loud-ass family of 5 whose kids had to scream literally at the top of their lungs, not many people.

When they say “most difficult”, they mean it. It went straight uphill for a mile and a half solid. I had red trail reviews about the hike and people were commenting about there wasn’t much to see. They were wrong! It was a beautiful hike through the forest. Lots of huge old-growth trees, plants of all sorts, and several different species of berries. As a benefit, and the canopy overhead blocked out the sun which was pretty warm when you were walking uphill in it.

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A wilderness area has its own set of unique rules and regulations. It is nature set aside by man, yet it is the most restrictive of all the public lands. In a wilderness area you don’t see a lot of human interference, such as signs. Mechanical objects are not allowed even if it is to work on the trails or clearly tree. Wilderness areas are usually pretty pristine, but today I saw the bottom of the gene pool had been hiking there. Toilet paper/baby wipes along the trail and food scraps in camping areas. People just don’t get it it seems. I do my shareeople do as well. I do my share, and most other people do as well. Unfortunately the few people that don’t really should stay home but don’t.

I didn’t let that get me down though. As you can see it was a fantastic day for a walk and it was a fantastic day for a fantastic walk.

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Hope Lake

Mig Lake

Plus, you have to remember that even though it may be hard to go uphill, then you stll have to come back downhill. I think downhill is worse than going uphill personally. It is harder on your knees.

It was a really good day in the forest. I got to decompress a little more and it felt nice. I’m hoping my bones solidify again quickly so Meghan and I can go for a hike tomorrow before I have to go back to the islands.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday’s post was an amusing little thing about making the dogs. Both of her dogs like to eat blackberries off the fine! Seriously, they walk over to the vines and pluck the ripe blackberries off and eat them!

Please bear in mind that these last two post have been off of my iPhone and I will probably have to clean them up when I get back to the islands. I just wanted to get a posting p please bear in mind that these last two posts have been off of my iPhone and I will probably have to clean them up when I get back to the islands.

Until next time!