While some of our forest walks were on the sides of mountains, we drove up to the top of a mountain to walk only once.
Hurricane Ridge - 5,242'
Overall, we saw a lot of overcast, grey skies, light rain, and patchy fog on this trip, but our day on Hurricane Ridge was clear and dry. We brought lunch with us (leftovers from breakfast), and we sat in the visitor center to eat because it was a little too cold to sit out. But it was not to cold to walk.
Forests (& rivers, lakes, & waterfalls)
After three years of regular visits to a small corner of the Olympic Peninsula, I thought that my love of the place had to do with the beaches and the mountains. In planning this recent trip, I realized that we might have some pleasant experiences with forests too - I had no idea what we were in for.
ONP = Olympic National Park
I had dreamed of long peaceful walks on the beach, exploring tide pools, and admiring colorful beach stones.
The weather and the tides had other plans though.
Walking before dawn
I woke up early enough that I headed out for my walk a good half-hour before sunrise. I knew that the moon was full, so I turned west as soon as I could to see the setting of that round celestial body. But it wasn't round at all. I could see its fullness - the full circle of its edge - but only a tiny sliver glowed as a full moon should. Could I really have stumbled onto a lunar eclipse?
Surely not - surely I would have known if the moon was going to eclipse this morning. Surely someone I know would have posted about it on FaceBook, at least. I used to pay attention to these things. The phases of the moon and the turning of the seasons used to matter to me a great deal. How could I be surprised by a total lunar eclipse?
Why do I do it?
I am happy to report that I have resumed my practice of walking in the mornings.
I've been walking in the mornings for enough weeks now, that it has started to feel habitual again.
I get up and head out the door as quickly as I can; I don't eat or drink anything; I don't raise the shades; I don't let the cat out of his room. Often my eyes are still a little blurry and dry, and my legs and back are stiff and clumsy. But I walk. Often I fold my arms because letting them hang and swing feels like too much movement so soon after sleep.
What is it that I'm doing on these walks?
Clearly it isn't about exercise. I don't take big steps, or pump my arms, or try to raise my heart rate. I see a lot of other people out between the hours of six and seven a.m. and most of them appear to be exercising. The effort of their motion is evident, even if they are in a group chatting as they walk or jog. I feel accepted by them, and we always say "Good Morning" or nod, but I know they are doing something different from me - at least in part.