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Kalalock Campground
Olympic National Park


Another lesson of the rain forest borne home: you can't hang things outside and expect them to dry. Inside isn't much better, unless you have the heater going. Today I was going to walk up to a place called Aurora Ridge, near Sol Duc Springs, but...


I was going to take a morning-after picture of the Springs, but...


Don't get me wrong. It has rained nearly every day I've been in Washington. An occasional maintenance downpour. But then the sun would come out, and instantly banish it all to primordial memory.

Like a dream.

This is different. A heavy sky is hard to explain, but it's like something's decided to quit fooling around. There's damp work to be done, work that's built up and won't go away, that's going to take time. There's a slight lessening, now and then. A breather. Then it bears down.


It was still pouring when I stopped for propane at the True Value Hardware in Forks. I was apologetic to the phlegmatic fellow who came out to fill the tank.

"It's bad weather for filling tanks, but it's even worse weather to run out."

"I reckon." Water was dripping off the bill of his gimme cap.

"I haven't seen the news. When is this supposed to let up?"

For a second or two I didn't think he was going to answer. Then he squinted dourly up at the sky, wiped the brim of his hat with a slow finger, flicked the water away.

"Well...I been here a long time...and I'd say... July. The next significant break will be ...July 5th."

I started to laugh, but stopped when I caught his look. He was perfectly serious.


I came into Kalalock campground around 2 pm. There's only about a dozen RVs here, mostly strung out along the bluff. Everyone's inside, of course. Miraculously I found a similar spot, with a grill and a table, parallel to the beach. I couldn't find the site number, but I paid my 12 bucks anyway. The envelope was soaked by the time I got it in the slot.

Trees out here all grow away from the shore, turning their bare shivering backsides to the sea. I could see why, after wrapping up and attempting a walk on the beach. The wind is relentless. There's a wild challenging beauty to the chill wet blow, but after a few minutes I decided it was best enjoyed from the dinette, with the heater going, and a hot cup of tea in hand.

From this calm vantage, I find the multiple roaring rolling breakers soothing, like watching the deep inside flames of a campfire. The comparison is inexact, I know, but both are mesmerizing. Motion in the midst of stasis. Evanescent forms sustained through time, always consuming, always the same. Watching them, sometimes, half dreaming, you can slip without effort into the soft illusion of thinking, not of anything in particular, just following the form without burden of content. And if you can free yourself to imagine truly what I am seeing here, the rolling repetitive meaningless powerful portent of waves passing waves passing waves passing waves, then cluck like a chicken.

For you have been hypnotized, as I was. You can snap out of it now. Unless you need the eggs.


Just as I was zoning out, for perhaps the third time, a fellow in a wet parks jacket came right up, rapped on the window in a no-nonsense manner, and told me I had perched myself in a picnic area, and would have to move. I opened my mouth, but couldn't think of a thing to say. So I shut it.

Too good to be true. O well. There's plenty of other sites to choose from. And they're all about equally wet.

Tomorrow I am almost certainly heading down to Oregon. It's been swell, but Washington is beginning to discourage. Three months ago, to the day, I roared up out of the humid hell of summer Texas, desperate for cooler weather.

It was 38 last night, and no higher than 52 today. Cool accomplished.

Now at length I find myself pining for a little of that powerful sun I abandoned behind me, some bright warm place where I can take my shirt off and walk around in shorts for a while, maybe lay up like a lizard on a flat rock.

Perhaps I'll find it in California, a week from now. Or Arizona. Or even Texas.

Some people are just never satisfied. It's true.

That's why they put wheels on these things.


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