There are a couple fairly short trail loops about a mile and a half long in the Hoh that aren’t all that difficult a walk, even for someone recovering from knee surgery. The first trail focussed on walking amidst giant trees covered entirely in absurd amounts of thick, dangling moss.
After that, we took a brief break to let her knee rest, then decided to do the second trail. This one took us along the Hoh River, whose water has a thick, surreal artic bluish green colour to it, from glacial flour. The Hoh River is also an angry, destructive, bastard of a river. Whole trees laying about in its constantly changing path. Finally, halfway through the trail, the rainforest started raining. We threw on our pathetic plastic bag ponchos and covered our cameras, enjoying actual weather as we hopped over puddles and slippery rocks.
I think it was as we got closer to our tent that we wondered exactly how our tent was handling the increase of water everywhere. Our tent wasn’t quite on the low ground, but it definitely wasn’t on the high ground. We didn’t have a foot under the tent, the rainfly only really covered the top, and it’s an old dusty tent that’s lived through the heat and fine dust of Blackrock City. All in all, probably not the most waterproof shelter in the world. More accurately, definitely not; water was seeping in from the bottom. I ran and grabbed a clean tarp from my car, and Jenny shuffled things around inside the tent and started laying it out over the floor while I grabbed the tarp from under the table and started tying it up over us. Once everything was finally covered over, we huddled up in the tent and made peanutbutter, honey, Goldfish & chee (or peahogoch) sammiches for lunch, followed by a nap listening to thunder and rain.
We premade some peahogoch sammiches and started off along the 17 mile trail along the river, figuring we’d walk for a bit, eat lunch, then head back from there. At some point we climbed out onto some big rocks by the water to eat and enjoy the scenery for a bit of a break and to snack on some Goldfish. Then, about the mile and a half point, we came to some crazy steep hill (for the cripple), and Jenny actually made it down and up the other side. We didn’t walk much further, figuring another 3 mile hike might be a bit much for her knee, and sat on some big fallen trees for lunch. When we got back, we got shit drunk off two bottles of wine by the fire and then went to the night’s program about the forest’s process of decay and rejuvination. Tonight’s ranger wasn’t as funny or cute as the other nights, but the program was still fun. Inebriation served only to enhance its enjoyability factor.
After several days up the northern coast and constantly on the look-out, I’d also come to terms with the fact that there are no longer elk. Either they’ve all migrated or died off. I prove this by submitting that the only elk seen during the entire trip were in an elk farm.
I was not looking forward to this drive. At all. First we were driving up to Forks, because as everyone should know, Jenny and I are diehard Twilight fans. We ate breakfast and went to some fancy store chock full of Twilight bullshit for losers, where Jenny actually paid for an item as a joke gift for Jessi. I fulfilled my civic duty and vandalized the guestbook, informing all future fans of their sexual orientation. From there we were driving back to Olympia, saying goodbye to Jenny’s family and dropping off the borrowed camping gear. We showered the funk off and I think ate lunch before we made our way to our last camping destination, Valley of the Rogue, which was near the California border.
As I drove along the highway at night with cruise control set to 80mph, I looked around at the mountains and the diarrheal blast of stars in the sky, I wondered why the hell anyone complains about Rt. 5. This was awesome, except for the bit where I had to pay some amount of attention to the road. We showed up at Valley of the Rogue at 10 or 11, I think. Much to our dismay, the loop our site was at was, with one exception, entirely composed of RVs. One of them even had a dude sitting in a chair, watching TV, with a living-room lamp outside.
By now it should go without saying that the stakes did not go into the ground without a fight. As we ignored the stakes and quietly set up our tent in a big open area next to RVs, Jenny pointed my face at the sky, where one could plainly see the edge of the Milky Way. That, fine sir and/or madam, is one hell of a sight.
I decided that since it was such a warm night, and we had such a beautiful view of the sky, we shouldn’t bother with the rain fly and just stare at the stars all night. It would have worked perfectly, if only all the goddamned RVs would shut off their lights. The mesh screen of the tent caught & magnified the nearby light, making the beautiful sky turn into a beautiful haze. If you squinted really hard, you could almost mistake one of the RV’s lights for a second Sun.
RV parks aren’t enough fun as is. What really makes them shine is the people, or the children of people, or the people that don’t control their children, or their dog. We’re talking like 8 children, “Mommy thinks her vagina is a clown car” people here.. The real sad thing is that they were the others in a tent, and their kids were screaming and shouting at 7 in the morning, and their dog running over and stepping on the edge of my tent.
Bitch, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times. It is never too late to abort, and so help me, I will give you 8 abortions right now.
We packed up our stuff, realizing that I hadn’t actually remembered to put the rain fly, its pole or my tent’s bag away the night before. Glad it wasn’t windy out. After breakfast we decided to give the place a chance, and walked down to the river in the direction of a geocache. I’d like to say something positive about the area, however the moment we found the cache we booked it back to the car to fucking leave. It was that great.
There was another cache at the exit of the park, so we stopped for that too. The exit, on closer inspection, was also a highway rest stop. Interesting location for that, or an interesting location for a state park, I must say. Then we set off for home.
In the distance we saw something huge. Like, seriously, fuckoff huge- with snow on it. Jenny figured it was Mt. Shasta, but fiddling around with my GPS led me to think otherwise. Eventually we got to California’s produce security checkpoint, where I asked what in the hell that big thing was. Jenny immediately pointed out how much better she is than me for being right. She walked home.
We kept getting closer and closer to it, staring in awe, already making plans to try and camp there sometime in the near future. Shortly past the entrance to Mt. Shasta State Park, we passed a bunch of cool, looking oddly coloured trucks. I took the next exit and headed back toward them, wanting a picture.
I’m going to take this opportunity to say, whoever owns those trucks, or the lot that they are all displayed fancy-like in, is an asshole. You can see the trucks great from the highway, but they’re in a huge barb wire fenced off area that you can’t get close enough to take pictures at. I ran up along the off-ramp, figuring maybe I’d have a better vantage point there, and I did. Barely. This time, there were TWO barbed fences up. One a few feet in front of the other, so I couldn’t even really put my camera up to the fence, let alone look through the viewfinder as I did it. Screw you, whoever you are. Setting up a bunch of awesome looking trucks and not letting anyone close enough to get a good photo is just mean.
Shortly after getting back on the highway, I finally found out why everyone hates Rt. 5. It very quickly becomes farm land, which is basically a bunch of flat, forever, in either green, brown or yellow colours.
Somewhere in this time we stopped to stretch our legs and get another cache, and my car hit the 10,000 mile mark. Shortly after that I started fearing my gas tank may run dry before I found a gas station. It even got to the point where I turned off the AC and started driving at speeds my car actually said were efficient.
Between then and now, we eventually managed to get home and I’ve somehow managed to type up a sloppy account of how our vacation went to accompany my photos.
Speaking of photos, if you haven’t already, LOOK AT THEM!
Also, here’s Jenny’s!