Road: Olympic Peninsula

Art Journal, The Road


We slept one night at Cape Lookout, Oregon before driving into Washington state. I was excited to explore the beach. I forgot that sand dollars existed in the world until I came across the quartered and halved pieces scattered on the beach. I had whole ones in my childhood possession. Along with the calcareous starfish bones and empty seashells.
The road took us inland past estuaries and farms. Once again our resolve to “not be part of the problem” waned a little (but didn’t crumble) when we drove past the Tillamook Creamery. Kurt and I are fans of the Tillamook Dairy Farm Cooperative (their swiss cheese anyone?). Outside the creamery lines of people clustered disappointingly close together. Since we hit the road it’s been like this with the safety protocols, a smorgasbord of behaviors.


Our last destination, before trekking across the better part of North America to get home, Olympic National Park. It is not like the other National Parks we’ve been to. There are no apparent roads to the interior of the park. There are many places on the Olympic Peninsula where a road would be desired, but there are none.
We explored the periphery, landing at Kalaloch Beach for the duration (there’s a nifty tree). The evening we arrived the landscape was grey scale. I was still geeked out about exploring. I wasn’t complaining. The camera loves atmosphere.


That next morning we explored north. Headed ultimately for views of the Salish Sea, but first a Big Tree then Forks.
Down a short path, skirted by a small fence was the biggest cedar I’d ever seen with a tree growing off it. Massive. Imposing. Spectacular. Dripping with moisture. Tree. Saved from logging because it did not grow straight and true.


Forks. Just another small town rotting under the weight of time. A line of tires businesses fronting the main road. This downtown was built later than the typical turn-of-the-century Italianate brick fronts we usually see, this downtown build is from the form-follows-function era. There a totem pole erected at an intersection. There a shrine to logging. And then shiny edifices to Twilight in windows.
I had to look that up. Yes that Forks. The things one stumbles upon while wandering.


Onward. A glacial lake drinking in every shade of blue from the sky. Tree stumps growing trees. Mountains kissing the clouds. More ocean sunsets. More forested drives. Nights falling asleep to the white roaring noise of waves. Mornings filled with the talk of crows. Crows laughing at campers leaving camp. Crows breaking into food supplies. Beaches with smooth black stones. Beaches with long stretches of gently slopes sand catching fragments of tidewater. Cold, cold, cold streams dissecting beaches. Trees tossed onto shores, old giants roots and all. Eagles soaring. Trees dripping moss. Olympic Peninsula▪️

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Road: Every Shade of Green

Art Journal, The Road

All the greens. Every shade. The Pacific Coast smells of green and rain. It rains, even if the forecast doesn’t call for it. The weather is a wicked stubborn child doing exactly the opposite of the predictions. The desert weather could be clocked like a train. Clouds came on time, rain started punctually. Not here. Clouds and wet come meandering in and out faithlessly.
We left the ocean for a minute camping in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. We followed the dirt road out the long way the next day. Wind up and down a mountain. Once on pavement we headed out towards the coast again camping in Siuslaw National Forest that night.

Things I noticed:

  • Gold claims along the river. Some just official signage, others clever names. At one a man was there at his claim panning in the river bank.
  • The gradient of the trees dissolving into the low hanging clouds before the sun burned them off.
  • Small waterfalls everywhere. Water dashing downhill being hugged by moss covered rocks and fallen trees.
  • I kept thinking there must surely be something (big and bright) flowering? The only striking wild flowers were yellow and growing on a coastal evergreen bush (as far as I’ve made out). Otherwise the flowering trees and bushes have been cultivated in yards.
  • Green life growing everywhere. Green things growing on top of green things on top of green things.
  • The old bridges. There are these amazing old Gothic/Art Deco river bridges. Some concrete, some a combination of concrete and painted moss green steel.
  • So far the southwest coast of Oregon is very small town. The towns all feel comfortable to visit.

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