The view west from the homestead

The view west from the homestead

Sweet Chance

Sweet Chance

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why is the Pacific Northwest so green??

October 15, 2007

You know what? It rains ALOT! The Hoh rain forest in the Olympic National Park receives 115 inches of rain a year, Olympia, WA receives 56 inches, Massachusetts 40 inches and Tucson 12 inches a year. This is according to a national weather site on the Internet. I think I vaguely remember Diane telling me Shelton, WA receives 86 inches of rain a year. Needless to say, our noses are moist, and we are not troubled with dry buggers. As it was, when we arrived from B.C. and set up our pop-up, it was so moldy that the canvas above our beds was a grey-black. Yech!!!! Chris scrubbed like a pro with chemicals we can’t name and it smells much better now. Since then, it has been set up in Shelton and rained upon fairly frequently. The day we left was raining and so it lies behind us, folded and damp. Does this road lead to Tucson?

We have spent the last 10 days based out of Diane and Rays' 5 star camping facility in Shelton, WA. Shelton is about 30 minutes North of Olympia. (I have to say Muchas Gracias to all friends and relatives who have settled in awesome spots and who put up with the likes of us!) We had a great visit with them and my cousin Sarah.... explored Olympia a bit---awesome Farmer's Market, complete with Habanero chocolates, venison jerky, and live music (my favorite was the German Polka band we heard the first time we went....they were a real crowd pleaser. All sorts of flavorful folks were up dancing with their rain coats on). But mostly we ate. Wonderful food......Diane is a great and generous cook and we all were pampered and padded (especially when Ray did the dishes after!) Sarah proved to be a great inspiration for Cassidy’s and Teslin's home school, and previously groaned about workbooks were happily completed in her presence. We decided it was the ABP problem (Anyone But Parents) but to Sarah's credit, she really has a knack for helping kids.

We took a 3 day trip up the Olympic Peninsula to see Olympic National Park . We left our pop-up at Diane and Ray’s and actually stayed in motels. We felt like wimps. But you know…..50 degrees and rainy is not inspiring tent weather. We did a 2 1/2 mile hike through Old Growth forest out to Olympia Hot Springs, an undeveloped set of pools in the Park. That was great....the pools were a bit shallow, the bottom got stirred up easily, but nonetheless, they were exotic and lovely. We didn't get quite enough hot springs so we spent the night at the Sol Duc Hot Springs further west. They were developed and had the feeling of a fancy past, now a bit run down. The Springs are nestled in between 2 ridges and there is a great Native legend about dragons that accounts for not only the springs, but the moss that carpets the rain forest. I copied this from a Sol Duc website…

“The Quileute Indians called it 'Sol Duc' - a land of ‘Sparkling Water'. According to Indian Legend, long ago a dragon lived in the Soleduck Valley. One day, he met another dragon from nearby Elwha Valley and the two proceeded to fight over their land. During their fight, they cleared the timber above the treeline and left bare areas that can still be seen today.

The dragons also lost some of their skin, which is hanging in the trees and clinging to the rocks of moss lichen. The two fought for years and were an equal match. When neither dragon could win the fight, they crawled back to their caves and cried. According to legend, the dragons' hot tears are the source of the Sol Duc's Hot Springs.”

October 16, 2007

Now we are winding through Idaho on I-90. It is lovely and actually sunny. It’s in the 50’s and we hope to set up in Missoula tonite, then check out Helena tomorrow. We just came through a pass with Larch trees bright yellow amongst other dark green conifers. Larch are an unusual pine tree and are actually deciduos and loose their needles each year. It is especially beautiful since they are the same shape as the pines around them….I’ll see if Chris can post a picture. We will stay up in Montana/Wyoming until we get to the point where we can’t warm up during the daytime. That’s always a sure sign you are too far North (or need a house!). The next few days have a pretty nippy forecast, but it is below normal for now, so we are optimistic.

We have decided not to come East and get Little Bear as Chris wrote in the last blog entry. It has been a long hard road trying to find him a good home and a family from CT came forward and really wants to adopt him permanently. We are working out the details, but they have a similar family make up as ours, with 2 older kids (12 and 14), a nice big fenced in yard and wanting a home- body dog. Little Bear's dilemna has been the hardest part of this trip…

Well…tata for now, Anny

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