Swamping

Posted by Ken Campbell June 7, 2010 0 Comment 656 views

It could be that I am spending too much time worrying. Then again, it may turn out that I have not been worrying enough.
It’s all about the navigational difficulties that are going to make up the initial phase of this summer’s trip. Route finding isn’t a big concern anywhere along the 425-mile course of the Olympic Grand Circle – keep the peninsula on the right, eh? – except there at the very beginning. Getting off of Black Lake at the right place, finding the one correct opening in the thick wall of brush, will not be easy. And that’s just the beginning. Following the byzantine and invisible watercourse through swamp and bottomland until the whole mess is gradually transformed into the Black River: that sounds like it will be difficult indeed.
I have the topos. I even have aerial shots that cover the entire Black Bayou segment (thanks to John in Olympia for the photos), but I don’t know if I’ll ever really have all the information until I actually get there. It’s not a place that sees many people, I think. I’ll bet there are good reasons for that.
I am not worried about getting lost, exactly. There’s no point along this part of the route where I’ll be more than a half-mile or so from the nearest house, often closer. What concerns me most is that I’ll pick the wrong path, and by the time I make it back to where I need to be, I’ll have spent too much time here. I don’t want to get bogged down, not here at the start. The first few days of any expedition are critical and it’s hard to get the momentum back once you fall behind.
I went down that way yesterday, got the chance to look at the Black River outside of Littlerock, as well as further up on 110th Ave. (I wanted to get a look at the swamp area further north, but found no easy access. Gates, locks, that sort of thing.) With all the rain, the water was moving quickly, deep and fast, at least where I got up close to it. I can’t speak for what it was doing in the bayou.

And then, amid all the navigational angst, I found myself wondering if maybe I’ve already devoted enough time to the issue. I’m reminded of other situations where I’ve entertained the most dire of outlooks, only to find, in the end, that all my worry was misplaced. On longer trips, the easy things are never as easy as they are expected to be, but the difficult things are rarely as tough either. Maybe the portion of this particular journey that is going to cause me the most grief is some other section entirely.
In the end, there’s only one way to find out.

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