25 July 2009

Four Winds

At camp, soon to be heading down to dinner. Life at camp in a nutshell: busy, frustrating, magical, beautiful, exciting, rewarding, and topsy-turvy. Life outside of camp is partially scary and partially going so well that it is almost scary in its own way. There is much of the wondering of futures, and much of the planning of adventures, and much of the wishing that things were clearer and simpler, though I don't think I would have as many moments of complete contenment and joy in that version of my life. Lifeguarding and sunshine today. Tomorrow is packing and preparing.


I am sitting on a huge worn log, what remains of a retaining wall here at an old logging camp, looking out at a near relation of Hood Canal, a northwest fjord of depth and beauty. I think that my lips are sunburned for the weather is continuing to follow a fair and sunny pattern, though the wind against us today brought up old bad memories of why I dislike kayaking. However, we soldiered through it and traveled eight miles south to a camp where we could practice wet exits in a calm and protected environment. The wind is dying now as the land begins to cool for the evening and the calm seems to have fallen over land and sea kayakers alike. A fire has been lit behind me and birds call to each other across the still air, the sunlight sending last rays of hazy sweetness streaming through the marches of steep hills across from me. Ghee rice and lentils tonight. I have promised to try to teach my cook group more and to do less for them, a legit complaint. Wildlife today: an otter who found us as curious as we found it, and a doe and fawn on the water's edge attending to some secert task that only they know. To see the sea-edge grass set against these rotting pilings, softly nodding tufted heads is a type of music made solid. Salal grows here, and blackberry and salmonberry, but it is the wrong season for them all. I try not to share too much and to relax into being a member of the group and in most times, I succeed. I do not know how sore I will be tomorrow, yet. I had forgotten that exquisite moment of panic that arrives when yu realize that you are stuck upside down in the water and the agonizing second before remembering the way out of this mess. I hope for a solid night's sleep tonight and a french braid in the morning.

11 July 2009


I don't feel as though I have been inspired to any great poetical heights of journal writing yet, but I will defend myself by saying the physical exertion and true wilderness section of this trip will not start until tomorrow, when you will see a boost in journal entry interest. However, today was out at 7am and in at 6pm by car and ferry, highway and logging road to a truly remote and beautiful town with snow capped peaks abounding and salt water at our feet. Originally a mill town, but now they just truck the logs out while. There is a campfire going and two social girls keeping the conversation flowing. I feel as though a more through packing list should be written for this course, for there are a number of things that I had to rent. Also silly things like mint extract and shower stuff, most unnecessary but happiness-promoting. Our two instructors, Ken and Gene are excellent and inoffensive, but I wish there was a female leader for me to study and question and bond with, also to help bond the group more. It will happen informally with time, but I know there are other soft-skill strategies. Dinner did not turn out as well as hoped, for too many cooks made me doubt my methods and I added milk which made the cheese stringy and the noodles soupy. Thank goodness I am not yet banned from the kitchen. I am tired though it is early yet and the alpenglow still bounces a warm pink glow into this tent and the evening birds still sing. I am worried that all my things will get wet. I am worried that I will be too weak to keep up. I talk too much and say stupid things. Let it go. Live in the moment.

10 July 2009


Day One at NOLS Sea Kayaking and Sailing. At the HQ in Conway, WA for all of today, talking and prepping, meeting and getting a group feel, waiting through review and picking up a few ideas and tidbits of new information. Like to blow out the last flame of a whisperlite. And other things that seem to be blurring together for me at the moment. I am sitting in the library where I will not be distracted or cold and drooling at the collection of books and videos and papers behind me, wishing I had such easy access all the time so I could absorb some of the knowledge contained here. I suppose that I will have to learn by doing instead. Today started at4:45am and tomorrow will be a ten hour travel day--north and north and north and then finally west across Vancouver island. It's a more exotic location than I expected and I hope it is worth the effort to get there. So far the staff are enthusiastic, the food is good, the gear is quality, and the trip more cushy than I expected. The paddling will still be difficult, surely, but it is a thing I will face when it arrives. Hope for fair weather! Pleasant seas and skies and wind that blows in two weeks. There are several rooms here that are alluring. The library, of course, and the rations room with clean counters, an abundance of small plastic bags, and big bins of food. Also the gear room, which I tried not to spend much time in because I was afraid I would want it all. There is a group of backpackers prepping to go out too, and getting to overhear their process and travel plans has been interesting as well.

First Pictures from Sailing

First Pictures from Sea Kayaking


5:15 pm, Friday July 10th. I am sitting in the computer room, surrounded by mail, wearing new shoes, contemplating a new fancywork project for later this evening. Computer is loading pictures, Mariner's game is on in the background, and I am actually, despite all common sense, supremely happy right now. Twelve hours ago I woke up in Conway, WA, wet with dew and knowing it was useless trying to go back to sleep. Tea in the library, walking and talking, wrapping up and bidding farewell to my coursemates. Finally getting my Hug of War hug, with minimal awkwardness, driving home with my parents and Sam. Gifts and good food and a bath sometime soon. Most important of all, the possibility of adventures hovering in the near future keeps me looking forward. Pictures to come soon.