29 June 2005

The Mud Shoe Diaries: Deer Park

Olympic National Park: Man, what a shithole. Posted by Hello


Do not be mistaken. The picture above is not the road to the Deer Park campground in Olympic National Park. This is the Hurricane Ridge road, which is totally for pussies, Fat Grammas, weiner dogs, Christian Harley Riders and other assorted Honkies. As in it's paved. And it has two lanes. And you can drive it without making a streak in your Underoos - none of which describe the road to Deer Park.

The Deer Park road is about nine miles outside of Sequim, and is easy to spot because there's a movie megaplex and a Toyota dealership flanking it. That is the last that you will see of civilization, so take a good look. Then you wind through a rather bucolic national forest/countryside populated by poverty-level cooters and a handful of Jodphur-clad Horsefuckers who ostensibly own the aforementioned serfs. After about eight miles of this, you take a sharp right, and the fun begins.

The pavement ends, the road goes to one lane, and the trees get a lot thicker. Calling it a dirt road would be generous. It's clay hardpan with rocks the size of baby's heads which either cover the road or shower down from the hillside as you pass by. I was lucky that I rented a four-by because I would not have been able to make it up there otherwise, I imagine.

So you wind all to shit through the trees and when you finally come out of them you see that you're hanging out on a hairpin curve around a rocky overhang where even sherpas fear to tread. Do not - I repeat - do not look down. Look only at the road. You will begin to believe that this road is not the road to Deer Park at all, and is indeed the road to Castle Dracula. That's okay. Let your cold reptilian fear and the inescapable bloodlust spell of Nosferatu drive you onward.

And all of a sudden you're there. Just like that. And you're way the hell up in the sky, right at the crown base of Blue Mountain. Everything is in bloom, so the air is rich with incense of the alpine meadows. The snowshoe hare bark and play, the willow ptarmigan pads quickly through the undergrowth, the red hawk drifts silently down from the belly of a cloud, and the white-tailed deer comes up and tries to steal your fuckin' lunch. Aah, wilderness!

There's a short half-mile trail that circles the top of Blue Mountain. At about 6AM last Saturday, I walked up to the peak and took in a 360-degree view of the Olympics. The sun caught clouds as they boiled up from the canyons, trying to make their way over the peaks. I looked down through an iris of three different layers of cloud cover to see Port Angeles floating at the edge of the Puget Sound almost twenty miles away. I coulda crapped, I tell ya! It was beautiful! I didn't want to leave. Ever. Somebody at work asked me if I got any pictures, which I didn't, but the thing of it is that photographs never do justice to the mountains anyway. They can't recreate the specific luminescent blue of glaciers and they sure as shit can't frame the vastness of whole mountain ranges. And they can't recreate that exhilarating vertigo.

If it wasn't that Teresa was making something that smells really good right now, I'd go on and on about Deer Park. But hey - the stomach commands and I must obey. I'll tell more later.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.

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