Saturday, June 7, 2014

Hurricane Ridge

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program as we attempt to find somewhere beyond cell phone range.

Our efforts today took us to a scenic Olympic mountain range are known as Hurricane Ridge.  So named due to the hurricane force winds which blast over it during winter storms. 

Hard to believe that today. 

Idyllic.  A recorder plays softly in the background while bluebirds sing.
But I get ahead of myself.

Hurricane Ridge is on the Northern edge of the Olympic mountain range.  You can see Canada from here.  Well, let me show you.

See, it says you are here right on it!
OK, so that doesn't really make it any easier to tell where this is.  Look up Port Angeles and then head South just a few miles.  That ought to do it.

Getting there is simply a drive around the peninsula and then a twisty upward mountain road until you reach the visitor's center.  Not much effort really.  The views are fantastic.

Don't worry, these are only the views of the views. 

The actual views are much nicer
Ahhh, that's better.  The view.

I could have stitched them together, but I am lazy that way.
 That was just the visitor's center.  We had to leave the visitor's center if for no other reason than to play in the...

Snow...Can't keep a good kid down.

Michael acted more casual about the whole thing.

Until he built a trail mix snow man

And then they were able to play giants of the snow forest.

The snow was cool, but spring was definitely here.  There was a great mix of spring and winter with wildflowers peeking out all over the place.

Pretty flowers!

Ten cool points to anyone who can identify these.

We managed to figure them out using our handy dandy field guide

Oh yeah, did I mention the deer?  They were everywhere and didn't mind people much at all.

The deer would let us get so close

They didn't seem bothered at all

I mean they would let us get really close.
Uhhh...too close.
I think I have done enough damage here.  I'll just let these last few pictures finish for me.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


I think I can help you. I really do.

I know...weird, right? Heck, I don't even know you; much less what, if anything, is wrong with you. Chalk it up to the nurse part of me. I think I can help you with a problem you may not know you have or with something contributing to the problems you already know about.

And no...send no money now. We don't accept cash, checks, money orders or any credit/debit cards at this time. The reason I am trying to help you is because I think this idea can make the whole world a better place. Nothing quite as cool as an idea that can change the whole world for the better.

Are you ready? Here you go.

Go outside.

Sounds easy, right? It is, but let me clarify.

If you live in a city and walk out of your door only to end up on a sidewalk surrounded by cars, billboards and more people than you can count, that isn't outside. If you live in a suburb and step out of your door to see well manicured lawns and orderly rows of houses and buildings, that isn't outside either. Even if you live in some far flung rural community where, outside your door, you see tractors and fields or livestock, you aren't there yet. You are closer, though.

You see, when I say outside I don't always mean just outdoors. Though, from my experience, outdoors is best. What I mean by outside is outside the bubble. Let me try to explain how I see it.

We have created these great societies that sit astride, rather than in, our world. It is almost like we are some alien species so afraid of this world we go to great lengths to separate ourselves from it. In many places, the only interaction we have with nature and the world around us is as an inconvenience. Think about that for a moment. The most that many people think about the natural world around them is when rain lengthens their commute, heat increases their electric bill or a deer runs out and ruins their car.

This alien landscape, unfortunately, extends into our minds. And the battle for our minds is fierce as well as unfair. On one side is an army of people educated and trained in the art and science of manipulation. They put in long hours, even all-nighters and weekends sometimes. They are devoted to making you think what they are told to make you think. The want you to eat more than you want, work more than you want, so you can afford to buy more Brand X stuff that you don't need and didn't know you wanted until they told you. And it's everywhere. You are constantly surrounded and immersed in the half truths and outright lies of our information age.

They want to convince you, but, barring that, they will settle for confusing you. They feed or create insecurities so they can use them to manipulate you. And they are everywhere. They are commercials, product placements in movies, targeted advertisements on the internet, politicians, political parties and the packaged pop music or talk radio you are stuck with while you are sitting in traffic because no one can drive in the rain. You have to get away. You have to get Outside this bubble!

And that includes the little bubble extension you carry with you. Don't worry about missing something. You would be amazed at how little things change while you are gone.

An awesome thing happens when you finally get Outside. You realize the mountain doesn't care if your hair has gray in it or not enough volume. That canyon took millions of years to carve and it doesn't care which brand of shaving cream you use. It has no opinion on whether it is more manly to have a beard or be clean shaven. The sea cares not about your wrinkles. Your political affiliation is immaterial.

This doesn't all happen immediately. Repeated exposure may be necessary. We have lived so long in this stinking miasma of manipulations that some things have stained us and those stains will not move easily, if at all.

But, if you give it time, some day you may find out there's a much needed clarity. The implanted ideas and inferiorities can fall away and allow you to see yourself as you really are. Perhaps your true place in the world is more humble or grand than you thought. At least you will have a better sense of what it really is.

When you first get truly outside, it can seem very quiet compared to the cacophony of the bubble. Spend some time there thought, and the subtle noises grow louder. I think it is in those noises where you will find some of the answers to those problems you may have never noticed you had.