Botanical Wednesday: I need!

We’re leaving for the West coast on Friday, and of course my creaky old joints are lancing me with stabby excruciating pain. I have seen my doctor. I have pills. Because I must restore myself with red cedar, Sitka spruce, sea stacks, tide pools, banana slugs, great herds of sea urchins, and the ocean and the mountains, I will get there if Mary has to carry me on her back.

The Olympic National Forest is also where Mary and I had our honeymoon, 35 years ago. If ever I could just ditch all my responsibilities and retreat somewhere to avoid everything, this is where I’d go. But don’t bother looking for me. Just be satisfied with the news that, if I vanish, sightings of hairy ape-like creatures in the wilderness of Washington state will spike.


  1. says

    I don’t actually think Mary can carry me on her back. Might have to crawl instead.

    Or brachiate! Yeah, that’ll get around the whole stupid knee problem!

  2. felicis says

    Congratulations! My wife and I had our honeymoon there (just over 8 years ago) and reprised that vacation this summer – I hope you have a wonderful time!

  3. says

    That is achingly beautiful, so green and so much to look at! Pretty sure I’d disappear in there, I could barely make it out of the sunflower fields yesterday.

  4. carlie says

    From the way you’ve written it, looks like this is specially-timed trip, so happy anniversary. :)

  5. says

    moarscienceplz @ 5:

    That photo reminds me of A Sound of Thunder.

    Hee, I thought of that too – “whatever you do, don’t step off the path!” … “aaargh, world destruction, oh noes!”

  6. says

    My knees send a message of sympathy to yours.
    They’d like me to tell you that the surgeon who repaired my ACL remarked that knees were cleverly designed for lying down quietly in a darkened room…

  7. says


    The last time I walked that trail, those are red cedar planks — not only does it look beautiful, it smells glorious.

    Oooh, nice. I have a very old cedar chest, smells so good, you want to sleep in it. It’s almost big enough to do so, too.

  8. Larry says

    I visited ONP several years ago for the first time. The Hoh rain forest was amazing even if it was raining like the dickens at the time. I kept expecting to run across a herd of hadrosaurs at each bend. I camped for a couple nights at Kalaloch and was able to do some amazing photography. Its definitely on my need-to-revisit list.

  9. naturalcynic says

    Unfortunately, the temperate rain forest has dried out this year and there is a one month old fire way back in the wilderness area that is smoking up the skies. Pray Hope for rain. If you get any, maybe you can just get stuck and grow moss.

  10. magistramarla says

    I feel ya, PZ.
    I feel the same way about the Monterey Peninsula in California. I just want to walk those beaches and listen to the sea birds there for the rest of my life. Walking is very difficult with a bad back and bad knees, but if I could be there right now, I’d be walking on the beach in spite of the pain.
    I write this as we suffer through yet another 100+ degree day here in horrible old Texas.

  11. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    I live on a mountain in a tiny place that is not even a town called Cedarpines Park. When it rains, the aroma is hypnotic.

  12. hyphenman says


    When I was stationed in Bremerton during the second half of the ’70s, my best friend and I would take weekend trips to the ONF. I do miss that really amazing place.


  13. johnx says

    Welcome to the West coast PZ! Have a microbrew. Or two. And/Or something from our bountiful Emerald triangle? Oh, and sorry about the (rest of the) smoke, all our hills are on fire. And could you please pack your own water, and some for us too?

  14. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I don’t trust places that need planks on the ground to keep you from sinking in….

    I’m a desert ratt.

    (Actually, I loved living in the PNW almost as much as I love the Az desert. )

  15. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    You WANT to see banana slugs? I recoil in horror whenever I see one here on the allegedly safe side of the state.

  16. titolasvegas says

    When I was a kid, I walked on that trail (if it’s the one I’m thinking of near Lake Ozette), I fell flat on my back on those boards. It’s a rainforest, so it’s always damp, and it’s a popular trail, so they’re smooth.
    Walking, walking, walking, *bam* sore head and I’m looking at the sky.

  17. says

    spamamander @ 22:

    You WANT to see banana slugs? I recoil in horror whenever I see one

    Oh, no. They are beautiful! And they have such interesting faces, too.

  18. azwangster says

    Any plans for speaking while in the area? I’ve been out of town every time you’ve been here (usually to Minnesota!). It would be great to have you speak in the Kent area and share a beer (at Airways Brewing in Kent).