I have visited the Pacific Northwest many times in the last few decades, and explored as extensively as my aging legs possibly could. However; most of my time was spent in Oregon, barely venturing into Washington. I anticipated it being very much the same as Oregon, and in many ways it is. Washington is gorgeous, it has mountains and ocean and big trees, but the mountains aren’t quiet as tall, the trees aren’t quiet as big, and the ocean extends deeply into the land mass. It is this last trait that I never considered and has surprised me existentially.
My past experiences of being surrounded by the ocean have been in Florida and the Bahama’s. Being surrounded by ocean this far north is a very different experience. The air contains ocean moisture and controls the temperatures allowing little variance. Our days so far have all been a high of 48 F and a low of 42 F. It is cool, but at the same time comforting and amazing. We are parked right next to the water. If I didn’t know it was ocean I would think it was a slow river or lake, but it is salt water, it has significant tides, and it is so crystal clear you can see right through to the bottom like looking through glass. How did I not already know about such pristine waters?
When I was young I was a distance runner. I was never very good, but I did enjoy it and the very best running experiences were those rare Ohio days when it would mist. Maybe one or two of those would happen a year, and I would always make my best effort to get out and experience the phenomena. I don’t mind getting wet and something about being in the mist is exhilarating.
I don’t yet understand the science of it but, the location of the Olympic mountains and Pacific ocean and prevailing winds causes this part of the world to have tiny little raindrops just like those Ohio mists for nearly every storm. It has been raining all morning and the drops are so tiny I can barely make out the sound of them striking our roof. Shanti and I coated up and spent the better part of an hour walking along the shore enjoying the tranquility. I don’t imagine many people would enjoy this, but I found it incredibly soothing.
I was nervous planning ahead to spend the first two months of the new decade in Washington state. It is, after all, further north than Ohio where those months are absolutely miserable and depressing. Now that I am here I find myself excited to have new environments to explore. I haven’t gotten to do much hiking yet, but I anticipate my next entry will have pictures from at least one hike.
I hope that you have a wonderful new year and the next decade treats the people of Earth better than the last.
May peace find you.