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Port Angeles 21 August 2018


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Smokier

Travel maintenance day today. Our digs are ultra comfortable, and we slept exceedingly well last night. Today after breakfast 'at home,' we found a laundromat. (On some trips, that would be enough accomplishment for one day!) Here's Rochelle watching Dryer TV.

We did emerge last evening from a one week TV fast ...not necessarily intentional, as our accommodations in Newport, Astoria, and La Push lacked TVs. It felt pretty good, not being up-to-date with the ongoing idiocy. Last night we discovered we could watch The Daily Show On Demand, and so that's what we did, with a little CNN thrown in for comic relief. Sheesh! What a mess we've got ourselves in.


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The view from our window. Mouse over to see what you're missing.

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Smokier today even than yesterday, but not as stifling hot. We came back up to our supposedly 'Strait View' room right on the northern boundary of Olympic National Park and the top edge of Port Angeles, and Rochelle made a delicious salad. We're 'in training' for dinner at Sabai Thai, a restaurant we enjoyed thoroughly in 2012 when we came through on our way to Victoria for Rochelle's 70th.

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After lunch, a walk in the Park to the Visitor Center. Olympic is an 'adventure park' like Zion, where most of the tourist activity is limited to small areas, but the back country is huge and inviting for those who can carry their homes on their backs. Here, the principal foci are Hurricane Ridge (click the link to see its webcam; today, it looks like the picture of the Strait, above, with trees instead of houses in the foreground), the Hoh Rain Forest, and the Beach Unit from Ruby Beach to Kalaloch. 

We walked the trail from the Park Administrative offices (across the street from our place) to the Visitor Center, along Peabody Creek. This is one of those astonishing places where ten steps from the pavement, you find yourself in deep virgin forest. The trees here, the original mix of Cedar, Spruce, Hemlock, and Fir – and no, I can't tell the difference – are half a millennium old, and carry all the authority and power appertaining thereto. Awesome. 

A little creek – Peabody – runs through it. The understory seems a little stressed, the ferns brown edged and the Nettles skanky, but the creek chuckles away, and we found currants and Salmonberry. The fir at right is easily 200 feet tall and straight as an arrow ...amazing that it's still standing, with all the call for strong masts for sailing ships at the time Port Angeles was founded.

  Mature Fir Tree

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<p>A large slice of a Fir tree harvested sometime in the 1940s or 1950s</p>

A large slice of a Fir tree harvested sometime in the 1940s or 1950s

To put us in perspective, the Visitor Center features one of those tree ring slices that points out some of the highpoints in the tree's history.

The explanation at left tells us that the seedling (barely visible in a little plastic box) will be this big sometime in the 27th Century. 'A wild forest community,' it says, 'takes Centuries to develop.' The key notion there being 'community.' The zillions of acres of 'tree farms' aren't stable or viable forest communities; they're no more natural than a GMO Iowa cornfield. Folks who think that water and electricity 'come outta the wall' and that building materials come from the lumber yard, may find the concept inconceivable ...and that is why our National Parks are absolutely our best idea ever. 

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As in 2012, delicious. Obviously Port Angeles's favorite restaurant as well as TripAdvisor's #1. The special curry and beef salad. Afterwards a long walk around a couple of blocks to the sounds of a kick-ass local band at an outdoors party at the History Center, and then 'home' where our host, Mark, entertained us with the story of how he and Tammy came to be here ...and why we all so thoroughly appreciate AirBnB.


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