With a whimper

Posted by Ken Campbell July 9, 2011 1 Comment 1043 views

The Olympic Grand Circle, an idea that’s been percolating in my head for years, is going to remain there, still just an idea. I stopped the trip last week for a variety of reasons, and came back home. There was a combination of factors that contributed to my decision, but the main objective problem was the wind, and the increasing realization that I would not be able to complete the expedition in the time I had allotted.
For a while, I contemplated changing from a SUP to a sea kayak earlier than planned, but even with the additional range that would give me, conditions were still an overwhelming obstacle. On the southern Olympic coast (Ocean Shores, Ocean City, etc.), calm periods lasted until about 8:00am, after which the north wind began to blow, quickly rising to 25 knots every morning, with gusts of 30 knots and higher for the rest of each day. In order for me to be able to finish in time, my projected daily average began climbing to a point that I knew wasn’t going to be possible for me to maintain.
I stopped the trip at Copalis Beach, where I got pummeled in the early morning surf and blown back onto the shore and up the river. I haven’t done a real accurate mileage tally yet, but I expect my total was somewhere around 150. I stayed with Steve and Mona (parents of a friend who have a cabin there), and Mary and Micah came and brought me home.
It’s a disappointment, in so many ways. I wanted this to work and pulling the plug does not sit well with me. Being a quitter stinks like failure and I feel a little like Sarah Palin, except smarter and not as good-looking. I wanted the stories a trip around the peninsula would give me, and now I’ll never really know what those stories would have been. Yes, it bothers me.
But the sun will rise tomorrow. I don’t know that I’ll ever try a trip of this magnitude again, and almost certainly not solo. I learned a few new things over the past couple of weeks, most of them unexpected and still not fully understood, not what I went out there to learn. I’m tired right now, and I don’t feel like learning anything else for a couple days.

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