This morning, we sat with the sun warming our backs as we looked out over the Pacific Ocean. We made it to the other side!
The Olympic Peninsula is amazing, like all of nature decided to hold a big party in one place (except the desert, which either wasn’t invited or couldn’t make it). The cliffs and beaches of the sea sit against a rainforest, which surround a huge mountain with glaciers and rivers and valleys. The rainforest is so many shades of green it almost hurts your eyes to adjust. The cedars and spruces are among the biggest in the world and the ground is spongy with moist soil, clover and mushrooms. Our pictures can’t capture the color or convey the feeling of being so immersed in green. Cue Kermit the frog.
When we first arrived, it was raining and impossible to tell what our oceanside campsite looked like. The beach looked like an eery driftwood graveyard. But within a day, the skies cleared and we could see how lucky we were to snag the last spot at this site.
There were no hookups here for our 3-day stay, but we were clean and fully stocked up after staying with friends, who had generously welcomed us into their world for an entire week.
Our friends’ house in Enumclaw, WA, was a real home, with kids running around, dogs barking and the chaotic happy feel of family. The backyard has a barn and a garden and goats, all of which our kids loved. The front yard has a view of neighboring farms and, in the distance, Mt. Rainier. Surrounded by nothing else, the mountain is unexpected and unreal on the horizon. Up close (we drove up for a day), it looks even more like a backdrop, with the bright reds and oranges of autumn set against the impossibly tall grey mountain and its snowy top.
In the middle of the week, we headed into Seattle and stayed with another friend and family. A dinner of halibut, caught recently by one son, was a reminder that we were now in the Pacific Northwest. And two nights spent in their home was yet another reminder of how lucky we are to have made such friends over the years. All these people, across the country, who we haven’t seen in years still seem so close; talking to them is like no time has passed at all.
We ate our way through Seattle, stopping only to check out the Space Needle, take in an IMAX at the Pacific Science Center, and spend a few hours teaching and learning in BigSchool. We’d like to think E&G got as much school as any Seattle kid that week, since the teachers were on strike until Thursday.
Either way, we fully enjoyed Seattle, loved living as a family of nine in Enumclaw, and can’t say enough about the Olympic Peninsula. Now we head south, past Mt. St. Helen’s and across the Oregon border to Portland and, from there, to Crater Lake, and then to the coast for a few weeks…