Back in the saddle, or something

Posted by Ken Campbell September 1, 2010 1 Comment 584 views

What a difference a month makes!

Nobody’s the same as they were 3o days ago; we all have grown and learned because of the experiences that we’ve had. Hopefully, anyway. Learning and changing, growing and moving… from what I’ve heard, these are the essential processes of life, regardless of who or what you are. I know I’ve changed a bit (more on that later.)

There have been some changes here at The Last Wilderness as well, some larger than others. After giving the idea due thought, I’ve decided to widen the scope of the story. (The more observant reader has probably already noticed the change in wording at the top of the page: instead of dealing solely with the goings-on on the Olympic Peninsula, I’ve chosen to throw the net over a larger area, the “Pacific Northwest.” It’s just a few words of variance, but the results are far-reaching – pardon the obvious pun.)

This change in scope doesn’t mean that I’m through with the Olympics. Far from it. There are still too many adventures to be had among those giant trees and along that wild and pristine coast for me to consider my experiences there to be in any way complete. It is still my favorite place in the world; I’m not changing my mind about that.

It seems healthy, however, to raise one’s eyes from time to time, up from the details that can sometimes appear so important, and entertain the wider view – the “big picture,” they used to call it back at the squadron – the forest, rather than the trees.

Mary, Micah and I went on a short family vacation to eastern Washington in mid-August, paddleboarding a section of the Columbia River below the Wanapum Dam and soaking up dat ol’ hot desert sun. I wasn’t over there very long before I realized that there were still things I wanted to see on that side of the mountains, ideas that I’d dreamed of before – a winery-to-winery paddle trip, for example – and the thought first occurred to me that I might want to refocus, and redefine, my area of interest.

So there it is. If you still want news of the peninsula and the wild, wet life of the land that slept late, it will still be here. I am still planning on paddling the Olympic Grand Circle, for example, now set to begin one year from the date it was originally scheduled. I’m still fascinated with the story of the Elwha and the ongoing saga that is dam removal in the 21st century. And I still have significant miles to do if I’m going to get the Summit to the Sea river journeys completed during this one too-finite lifetime.

But I want to go to the Potholes too. And into the mountains behind Leavenworth. The Ptarmigan Traverse, the Tieton River, Stehekin and the amazingly primal and remote canyon of the Owyhee. Vancouver Island, the San Juans, Willapa Bay and the Willis Wall. For starters.

There’s a lot to get done. Better get started.

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