Friday, September 29, 2017
Yesterday afternoon the Elk left. And last night the rain arrived.
I woke this September morning to a nice, soft, steady drizzle.
Besides the rain, what also came to all of us during the night last night was a Northern Spotted Owl.
Yesterday evening, I was chatting with the Camp Host woman. We talked a lot about the Elk and how thrilling it was to have them around for four full days. She also spoke about how much she loved hearing a Northern Spotted Owl at night, usually starting in mid-September, but this year she hadn’t heard it. Those owls are endangered and she was worried that the one who lived nearby was “gone”.
Well, you can guess what we heard during the night. 🙂 Yep, the owl. Here is a link to an online recording of a Northern Spotted Owl. Ours sounded exactly like that. I lay awake for quite a while listening to it.
This morning was quiet because of the rain … there were no kids outside playing, no elk, no people walking about and chatting, and the owl was likely asleep for the day. With this sort of rain, the world is quieter, the air is fresher, the colors are richer. It was lovely.
And then I remembered that I needed to hitch up the trailer to the truck. In the rain. Bah!
Another lesson learned. I knew rain was forecast, but I hadn’t thought ahead yesterday to the chore of hitching up. You can be sure that the next time rain is forecast, I will hitch up the evening before when it’s dry out.
But I was blessed again! The rain stopped the moment I stepped out the door of the trailer on my way to get the trailer and truck ready to roll. I took in the power cord and the dump hose and the water hose. I backed the truck up to the trailer and hitched everything up properly, checking the lights on the trailer, and doing everything else on The List. I tidied up inside the trailer, duly stowing each item in its assigned place, set the fridge for traveling, made sure the windows were closed and latched … all those little details. My camera and Little Towhee were in the cab of the truck. We pulled out of the campground with trailer in tow and were on our way home.
Ha! and then the rain started up again the moment we pulled out onto Highway 101. But I didn’t mind the rain on the drive home. How could I complain when I’d been given that dry window of time in which to hitch up?
For the first few minutes of the drive southbound on Highway 101, back towards Olympia, Little Towhee was excited to be on the move again. But it wasn’t long before she was curled up in her basket sound asleep.
Later, at home, she said she would please like to be on the road in the truck only when she can see something other than raindrops on the windshield. I will do my best to accommodate her.
Heading down Highway 101 was nice and easy even with the rain. In truth I think the rain kept the traffic down. Still, I pulled over several times to let faster vehicles pass. Almost everyone tapped their horns with a little beep-beep to thank me.
Highway 101 along Hood Canal is interesting. There are lots of communities and buildings (and people) that have been there for many, many decades. And there are a few newer places too. There were older RV parks and older motels (all very nicely maintained), one sign that advertised “stump clearing”, signs in two different small towns that announced local yoga classes … there were small restaurants and small grocery stores, gas stations and boat rentals for fishing/shrimping, churches and cemeteries, lots of homes, and several signs for Hama Hama Oysters (the company is now owned and operated by a fifth generation!).
The words Hama Hama come from the Twana word hab’hab which is a reed that grows along the Hamma Hamma River. [Local residents say the name had always been spelled with one “m”, but the State of Washington named the river with two “m”s.]
But even with all of those businesses and homes, most of what borders Highway 101 along Hood Canal is forest, or the rocky gravel beaches of Hood Canal, or the grasslands and marshes that make up the deltas of the many rivers that flow into Hood Canal. It’s a lovely drive.
A reader of this blog who is a friend of mine, who does not live in Washington State, emailed me asking me where exactly I was on the Olympic Peninsula. Since others might have the same question, I’m including a Google Earth view of the Olympic Peninsula below. Seattle is off the map to the right.
The Olympic Peninsula comprises only about 10% of the geographic area of the State of Washington. The area that I explored this past week was only that little squiggly red line, and I certainly didn’t explore everything there was to see along or around that little squiggly red line. If one extrapolates from the area I explored and the time it took, then it would take years to explore just the State of Washington, not to mention Oregon or California or Idaho, or the Provinces of British Columbia or Alberta in Canada which I would love to see. I’d better get busy and get exploring!
Besides all of the treasured memories I have of watching the Elk and the spawning salmon, seeing Eagles (I haven’t even mentioned those in these posts), discovering waterfalls and so many different kinds of mushrooms, discovering old boat engines and huge Shire draught horses, talking with other campers and hikers and the Rangers and meeting all sorts of wonderful folk, and listening to the owl last night … besides all of those wonderful things, one of my favorite memories will be finding the quote below posted on a campground reader-board.