We started out Monday morning, picking up Eric and Sushi on our way through Olympia, and headed up Hwy 101 towards La Push. There was heavy rain and wind, and it took several hours to get to Forks. It was well after dark as we took the turn-off to La Push. A few miles down the road, we saw flashing lights ahead in the darkness. As Preston drove slowly forward, we saw the looming figure of a WSDOT vehicle with a big plow on top of it. The signs flashed Road Closed warnings. At a low spot in the road, just four or five miles from La Push, the confluence of three rivers (the Bogachiel, Quilluette, and Sol Duc) had missed a turn in the river bed and was flowing across the road. From where we stood in the dark, it didn’t look that bad, just a few inches of water for 100 yards or so. There was one car ahead of us in line, and they lived just down the road. They could actually see the start of their driveway from the edge of the water. They were on their way home from a fishing trip, so the guy pulled on his waders and headed out to walk the path to his driveway and see if he thought he’d be able to drive home. You can see the height of the water line on his waders in the picture below.
They decided that their little Honda car probably wouldn’t make it through the window-high flood. We chatted with the DOT guy for a little while. Preston, joking around with the guy, said, “We’d make it; we have an SUV.” The DOT guy, a classic country boy, said slowly and with no hint of either sarcasm or any intention of letting us past the barricades, “Mmm-hmm. I’ve seen those advertised.” I almost fell over it made me laugh so hard. I love me some of that dry dry stone-face humor.
Preston was all for just turning around and driving back home. I really wanted to stay in Forks and see if the road was open in the morning. Sushi and Eric both wanted to stay, but also voted that since this was Preston’s birthday trip he should get to have final say. I suggested we stop and have dinner and talk about it after we had eaten. After much negotiation and some chinese food, Preston was still pretty adamant about wanting to head home. We all still wanted to stay, but we agreed to go along. As we drove past the hotel, Preston turned in to the driveway at the last second, asking if it was too late to change his mind. We had just gone through so much negotiation that the rest of us were taken off guard. Sushi said, “I would love to stay, but if this is the sort of thing where tomorrow you’re going to change your mind and be resentful that we stayed, or be tempted to say ‘I told you so’…that would be hard to deal with.” I voiced my agreement with Sushi, that this needed to be a genuine decision for Preston, not something that he was going to hold against us. And then Eric piped up with his (IMO) brilliant stance. “If you decide tomorrow that you are mad about staying tonight. Well, to be honest, I don’t really care. I have to deal with my own emotions and you have to deal with yours. If you want to stay tonight we should, and if you feel differently tomorrow, that doesn’t really have anything to do with me.” It’s nice to be around people who, by their actions, help me to remember that other people’s emotions are not my responsibility. So we stayed, and it was really nice. What else do you need to know about a motel except that they have cable, wireless internet, a bathtub, and enough beds for everyone?
At around 2am Eric and I were the only ones up still, and we were both feeling a little restless. He had checked out a camera from the college media loan program, so we decided to go on a nighttime tour of Forks.
Around the hotel, there were a few woodcarvings, and one of them was a carving of a big logger. At the base of the statue was a collection of white stones, left as if at an altar, and a dark mark, as if someone had been burning a candle on the cement base.
The next day dawned clear and sunny, and when we talked to the people at the La Push resort, they said the road was open, although the seas were still pretty wild with all the run-off and no one was surfing. We decided to drive down and have a look, and were blown away by what we saw. Of course, I knew theoretically that the ocean gets that high, since I’ve seen all those huge trees piled at the top of the beach, but I didn’t have a good visceral understanding of what it would look like. It was wild, in the wilderness sense of the word. It only took a few moments for Preston to decide that it would be worth staying, even if we had to leave the surfboards on top of the truck the whole time, and we settled down to re-acquainting ourselves with the place.
And how can you not just love these guys?
As the waves receded far down the beach, they discovered that if they timed it just right they could get out onto this huge stump that had been augured into the sand. Getting back down required some pretty fancy timing, and Eric got himself pretty well soaked when a bigger wave splashed up over the whole stump. Here’s Preston doing, I don’t know, some sort of Jesus impression, I think.
And have I mentioned that I have a total crush on Eric?
We stayed out most of the day, checking out the amazing driftwood sculptures, like this image that Preston took, of a mermaid with amazingly perky breasts watching the sunset with her demon lover.
Sushi also spent a lot of time writing in her journal and just generally soaking up the amazing magical nature of La Push.
We stayed to watch the last of the sunset, and headed in for dinner.