My sister is a mostly solo shopkeeper; she doesn’t get out much. I’m a solo adventurer, so I don’t often ask if she wants to join me. Okay, never. But it was her birthday and she had shop coverage. I asked, she accepted. Being the locally world famous person she is, she had to be back for City Council meeting, so we couldn’t go far. We decided on Kalaloch beach on the OP, followed by lunch at Quinault Lodge, in the rain forest.
We don’t adventure the same. When she goes somewhere with a friend, they leave home at 11ish in cute outfits, have lunch somewhere, dinner later, and there is usually shopping involved. I leave at 6 in hiking pants, with a granola bar for lunch in my back pack, and there is always a latte involved.
But she wanted to go on one of my adventures, not hers. I promised to take her on a favorite hike when the wildflowers are blooming—we’ll see if that happens—but for this day we agreed on the beach. And she offered to be ready by 8:00 at the latest, after I told her it had to be early enough not already to have had coffee. She outdid herself, and I picked her up at 7:30. With lattes in hand, we headed northwest to the iconic Hwy 101.
It’s a familiar beach: we went to Kalaloch and Ruby, the next beach up, often as children. In later years, Kalaloch became our parents’ favorite, perhaps because of the cabins on the bluff. They took visiting grandchildren there, and I took my mother there several times in the years following my father’s death. I wrote about it here in a visit a few weeks ago just after her death.
This time I remembered to ford the creek and go north to see the so-called “Kalaloch Tree of Life” or “Root Tree.”
The Sitka spruce is a wonder, seeming to live on air after the ground eroded from under it. It should be dead; it should have collapsed long ago in the wild winters on the Olympic Peninsula that tosses drift logs around like toothpicks and permanently bends trees. No one understands how it survives, nor can I find anything that says how long it’s been like that. One “he said, she said” story, indicates at least 35 years.
We made cairns, filled our backpacks with round stones, agreed that although we love the OP beaches, it’s really the stones and driftwood we go for, not the surf and sun, and returned to Quinault for smoked salmon BLTs (Rebecca’s without the B) and beers on the deck of the lodge by the serene lake.
On the way out, we stopped at the Willaby Campground where I made a reservation last week for camping in July, not at the favored lake-side sites, but at the only site available for more than one night until mid-September (I suspect I caught a cancellation). I had cancelled the one I made months ago in the Gifford Pinchot, having checked it out in my own birthday adventure last week and found it seriously lacking. The new one is nearly perfect. I’ll be back next month, after Camp Gigi! Stay tuned for that!
Rebecca and I agree if we ever have to live together, which would challenge us, we should just travel. We do that well. But I might have to stop for shopping more often. She did buy a t-shirt in the gift shop. Adventure on.