I have returned to civilization


And now I want to go back. It was a deeper journey into the wilderness than I expected — we left my brother’s house in Hoquiam and headed north, and after leaving wifi behind, we were a little surprised to learn we were also abandoning all of our cell phone carriers as well. We’ve been almost completely out of touch with the rest of the universe most of this week. We’d occasionally find a small trading post with slow, flakey wireless, and we’d fire off short Shackletonian missives to friends and family letting them know we still existed.

We also had slightly peculiar weather. It was lovely — fog and mist rolling in and softening the view everywhere.


It would periodically burn off, and the sun would shine in. And then it would mist up again.



There were tidepools. Of course there were tidepools.


We didn’t ignore the rainforest. We spent some time up the Hoh.


I spent a disgraceful amount of time just staring at waves. They’re amazing. They keep cycling in, over and over, but every wave is different. Wave-gazing. It’s a thing. I recommend it highly.


Also nice: after you stare at waves for a while, Raven will talk to you.


Unfortunately, all Raven does is laugh at you, so it’s mainly good for humility.


  1. says

    Oh, colour me jealous! Such beautiful sights. I hope you have a nice “oh gods, it’s really over” rest tonight.

  2. magistramarla says

    Jealous indeed!
    Watching the mist roll in over the Monterey Bay is one of the things I miss the most about living in California.
    I want to go back.

  3. inflection says

    An amusing and surprisingly religious turn of metaphor!

    You and I apparently have similar responses to a sudden large dose of nature: vaguely poetic relaxation and a sense of the brotherhood of living things.

  4. Tethys says

    I love Ravens, I’m sure there must have been a few “got any food, human?” between the laughs. It is necessary to unplug completely on occasion, and remember what it means to be a wild thing.

  5. CJO, egregious by any standard says

    I spent a few days camping in the Hoh, nine miles up the river. Absolutely fantastic place, if you don’t mind the damp.

  6. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    A relief that it is fog and mist, instead of the smoke plaguing this part of the state. The sun is red overhead from the haze and breathing is difficult. Still far more fortunate than those north of me in the Okanogan.

  7. Lady Mondegreen says

    Lovely photos.

    Glad you had such a wonderful time. Now hopefully you’ll have a few days at least of R&R at home before the school year starts up again!

  8. Nightjar says

    Oh, lovely! Looks like you and Mary had a wonderful time!

    So I magnified that tidepool photo and spent a ridiculous amount of time staring at it. They are my second most favorite thing about the shoreline right after, you guessed it, shorebirds! And I’m filled with envy because I haven’t been anywhere near the ocean in a long time, despite being no more than an hour’s drive away from it..

    *sigh* I want September so badly.

  9. strangelove123 says

    In 1999 I walked onto this beach and I knew it would be the place where I would ask my future wife to marry me. I didn’t know at the time that it would be another decade before I would meet her, but eventually I did, and on the 8th of August 2012 I returned, with a ring in my pocket.

    This is and will always be my favorite place on this planet.

  10. Trebuchet says

    I had some awesome ravens just yesterday, on the other side of the Olympic Peninsula. They were too busy talking to each other to notice me, however. One was flying by emitting soft, relatively high-pitched croaks, the other about 100 feet behind responding with harsher croaks. Some sort of breeding behavior, I suppose.

  11. Morgan!? ♥ ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ says

    According to that eminent scientist Bill O’Reilly: “Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that”. Must be teh gawds.

    Welcome home, and thanks for the pics. Reminds me of a driving vacation Hubby and I took many years ago along the west coast from Los Angeles to Seattle. Truly magnificent.

  12. opposablethumbs says

    It sounds and looks wonderful, beautiful and peaceful. I hope you feel rested and refreshed.
    And it’s good to see you back, too!

  13. Bruce Keeler says

    Aaah, Hoquiam. I remember as a novice pilot I routed my first solo cross country via Hoquiam. I checked the weather before I set off and it was totally clear. 40 minutes later I arrived to find it socked in and had to quickly find an alternate. Certainly good practice of course.

  14. says

    Al Dente, of course not. PZ is much more likely to be abducted by cephalopods, possibly from another dimension. Although now that I think about it, it’s probably too late to worry about that anyway.

  15. leerudolph says

    Nightjar@9: “So I magnified that tidepool photo and spent a ridiculous amount of time staring at it. They are my second most favorite thing about the shoreline […] *sigh* I want September so badly.”

    Me too.

    I have a tidepool poem, set a couple of months later in the year. (And, no, I am not a theist in any way, shape, or form. I beg readers to credit me with some subtlety, and read me with some charity.)



    Though banks of dark clouds hid the sun,
    it was being pointed at, not subtly,
    by the whole sky, which might as well have been
    a medieval panel with a gold leaf glory
    pointing at the blank wood in its center
    where some saint’s face has flaked away.

    No matter that there is no face: if we are clever
    we can tell which saint it is—the robes, the flower
    at the feet, the instrument of torture
    and martyrdom, the mascot (dog, lion, bird)…
    any one of these is better than a signature,
    if we have learned to read; although the painter
    has and had no signature, no name.

    God has hidden his face,
    to which the whole creation points,

    somebody said. I follow my own footprints
    back up the beach, to look a second time
    at the sea-snails’ elegant, idiot scrawl
    on the sandy bottom of the tidal pool.


  16. Karen Locke says

    I, too, am a wave gazer. I don’t get to an ocean all that often now, because although the Pacific is within driving distance, it isn’t an easy drive. Years ago I was working weekends to tidy up engineering loose ends on a piece of training equipment at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida. At 4 pm on Sunday, I turned the equipment back over to the Navy users, and took myself off to Pensacola Beach. I would just stroll along this huge, almost-empty beach, and gaze at the waves, until the sun was below the horizon and I found myself wondering where I’d left my rental car. It was a wonderful way to end a stressful weekend, and prepare for a difficult travel day the next day.

  17. brucej says

    I am deeply envious. one of my favorite places in the world is Ruby Beach, up that way
    For a desert rat like me, a rain forest is an alien revelatory place. “Why water is abundant here…..”