Isla de Dolores

Posted by Ken Campbell December 20, 2011 3 Comments 799 views

My thoughts these days are still running towards all things islands; I can’t explain why that is, exactly. There is something fascinating about an island, any island, and there are some that capture the imagination on every level. They are apart, remote, isolated and somehow dangerous. Islands keep to themselves.
Destruction Island, off the Olympic coast, is among the most iconic of this breed of island. A rocky and improbable chunk of land, placed hard against a vast and violent sea, it is something of a miracle that it exists at all. Its remaining buildings, including the lighthouse tower, stand like ruins of some ancient civilization, faded and gone, unknowable now. Site of shipwrecks and heartbreak, it is a lonely post in a wilderness of water. And, for some reason, it is like a magnet to me.

I have been to the island several times, but it’s been a few years. I am certain to return – hopefully sometime in 2012 – but even though I haven’t set foot there lately, it has been in my thoughts. I can see, in my mind’s eye, the storm-driven waves crashing against its walls of stone, the flat top, overgrown with head-high brush and salal, almost impenetrable. I can picture the rocky beaches, what few there are, and the intricate passages between the outcroppings that only a kayak can get through, and I can see the curious faces of the otter that frequent the kelp forests just off shore.

To attempt a trip out there at this time of year would be difficult. Summer, when the swells are smaller and the weather is friendlier, is a time far more amenable to the crossing; the paddle out there now would likely be difficult, at best. Still, with a name like Destruction, it hardly seems right to go on a sunny, summer day… perhaps a winter trip might be more fitting.
Something to think about.

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