Olympic National Park

Trip Start Mar 26, 2006
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Trip End Oct 20, 2006


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Flag of United States  , Washington
Sunday, August 20, 2006

Our four-day backpacking trip along the Olympic coast begins at Second Beach, then goes south to Toleak Point and back. We're camped by ourselves on a rugged, crescent-shaped sandy Pacific beach that's strewn with bits of green, brown, and orange seaweed, driftwood bleached white by the sun, pink crab shells, and a varied collection of floats and buoys that drifted to shore long ago. The salty air is filled with the percussive crash of pounding surf smashing against the nearby cliffs, and every few minutes the melancholy call of a seagull drifts across the water from the rocky islands a few hundred yards out.

The wildlife is abundant here. A large colony of sea lions has taken up residence on one of the distant shores and they're lying about catching the warm rays of the early morning sun. A few days ago, we spotted a pod of whales in the bay, their geyser-like spouts easy to see against the dark tree-covered shore across the way. In the tidepools, hermit crabs scavenge for bigger homes and snails hobble along the slimy rock bottom.

This place of wilderness and tides and sand brings me some peace after the crowds of tourists and the busy pace of Seattle. I've been noticing how cities seducce me, make me feel like I'm supposed to be doing more, seeing more, eating more, shopping more. More, more, more. I'm plagued by the feeling that there's something else more exciting going on, and it makes it difficult to just relax and savor whatever it is that I'm already doing. Something to watch as we move south to Portland and San Francisco.

Here on the sand it's easy to just give in to the surrounding natural beauty, the sights and sounds, the rise and fall of the tide, the vastness of the glimmering ocean, give in to the gentle rhythm of the day as it unfolds. I wish this blissful solitude and peace for everyone - an entire day free from the stress of work and worry, schedules and obligations, a moment to sit quietly and just be. How amazing to be without a permanent home or any valuable possessions and yet feel perfectly content, exploring with delight this startlingly beautiful planet on which we live together. Happy to create miniature Zen gardens from the sand and stones as whales pass by. Happy as Todd writes "I Love U" in the sand.

Wishing everyone out there this loving life kind of day. Wishing everyone out there some peace and sanity.
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