My last days on the Washington Coast were at Kalaloch in the Olympic National Park and La Push just outside of the park on the Quileute Reservation. When I arrived at Kalaloch, I was eager to visit the Hoh Rainforest. Our family visited 20 years ago and it was spectacular. Of course, August is a dry month for the Hoh so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t expect to find 83-degree Fahrenheit temperatures and sunny skies. It was so dry all the ferns were covered with dirt and parking was almost impossible with the influx of visitors. I made a new plan.
The next day, I woke up early and drove to Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park to photograph Marymere Falls before the sun came over the treetops. This was an almost 2-hour drive and it was worth it. Walking to the falls a fawn and doe greeted me on the path. They were within 10-feet and didn’t run off. I enjoyed the moment instead of grabbing the camera. Even when my foot slipped in the water, I just laughed. Luckily, I had dry shoes in the car. After the falls I went sightseeing in Forks and La Push – don’t blink or you might miss them! La Push was my next destination, so I was happy scouting the area. I walked on the
beaches and watched the fog banks come and go.
While driving back to Kalaloch, I thought about this trip from the first night in Tehachapi, CA to this point with only one last night in La Push remaining. It has been an amazing journey and as my stepmom said, “Empowering.” I can not agree more. Even though my seven-week (49 day) solo journey is complete, my sabbatical is just beginning. On August 20, 2018, I will not report to work at NAU but instead Boston with my sister. I will continue to blog about my travels and photo challenges as I continue to photograph water and waterfalls.
Things I learned:
How to build a fire with wet wood, thank you Firestarter.
- Hiking alone is empowering and I don’t need to hyperventilate.
- My only limits are when I limit myself
- My husband is still my best friend.
- Family still comes first and my future trips won’t be for this long away from them.
Things I will miss:
- Doing what I want when I want. I only ate when I was hungry and didn’t plan for the next meal. Some meals were cheese and crackers, others more elaborate.
- Taking naps when I’m tired.
- The open road and all it offers. Many people asked me why I wasn’t traveling out of the country on sabbatical and I thought there are so many places near home I haven’t seen or photographed.
- Being popular at campgrounds with the “cool teardrop.”
What I look forward to now:
Showering without wearing flipflops and taking showers without hitting the button to reset my 30-seconds of water.
- Changing clothes standing up instead of in a W5’ x L8’ x H3.5’ bedroom. And just being in a room larger than this if it is cold outside!
- Not having to plan for charging camera batteries/laptop in the car when I drove (not all campgrounds had power).
- Washing dishes in a sink and/or dishwasher.
- Not buying ice every 4-5 days.
- The remainder of the year to continue photographing water, studying imagery, reading, learning new photo techniques and teaching workshops.
- Learning new strumming patterns on the ukulele and a few new songs. I almost memorized the ones in my book.
- Eating Mexican Food.
- Sorting my photos to find the ones I overlooked!
Tomorrow morning, I drive approximately eight hours to Spokane. Tonight, I will eat out at the only restaurant in La Push!