Saturday, April 26, 2008

More on Da Big 51

Olympic National Park has three lodges, each situated on a beautiful lake, so here's a series of lake shots – Lake Quinault, Lake Kalaloch, and Lake Crescent. We've done the tour, going to all three, with lunch Monday at Quinault, dinner Monday at Kalaloch, and a closed, locked door at Crescent on Wednesday – they close for the winter (?) until mid-May.

This fourth picture is somewhat quirky, taken off the balcony of our room, and just because I liked the looks of it. To me it shows what happens to you when you're subjected to the vicissitudes of life, especially if you happen to be a tree.

The weather was problematic, and somewhat curiously interesting, during our trip, with rain one minute, sunshine a few minutes later, and then snow – all within an hour! This fifth picture shows frozen snow on the treetops at Lake Quinault.

What makes this area a rain-forest is the blocking effect of the Olympic Mountains on the wind currents coming in off the ocean, causing them to drop all of their moisture here. A ranger told us that they measure their rainfall in feet, not inches, and that last year's was twelve feet! You can sorta see mountains along the side of Lake Crescent and in the clouds behind Lake Quinault, back in those lake pictures.

Finishing up with the theme of "what we drank" rather than "what we ate," here's our anniversary evening dessert – Washington state Port together with dark chocolate covered toffeed pistachios – a great end to a great day!

P.S. Clara wanted to share with you this picture of a Pacific Coast Trilium seen along the trail up to the big cedar on Monday, prized as a harbinger of spring here in the Northwest.

P.P.S. For the sharp-eyed or observant, "Lake Kalaloch" is also known as "Pacific Ocean."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Da Big 51

Greetings from Kalaloch Lodge on the Pacific Ocean and somehow a part of Olympic National Park even though many miles from the main body of the Park and the Mountains.

When we arrived Sunday afternoon and went to our room, we found a card wishing us "Happy Anniversary" together with a bottle of champagne and two glasses! So we sat out on our balcony, gazed at the ocean and sipped our champagne – what a nice way to start an anniversary retreat!

Monday morning we drove over to (relatively) nearby Lake Quinault to look at this and that – a somewhat strenuous hike up to "The Largest Cedar Tree" – and further around to where some Roosevelt Elk were quietly grazing.

After a pleasant lunch at the Lake Quinault Lodge, with an unexpected but pleasant guest, followed by a brief visit to "The Largest Fir Tree" and a quick trip to an Internet Café in nearby Amanda Park, we headed "home" for a short nap before our anniversary dinner at Kalaloch Lodge.

Note that, due to the many protests over our emphasis on what we have eaten while traveling, we have changed the emphasis in this communication to what we are drinking! Our loving daughter had gifted us with a special bottle from the environs of our recent Columbia River trip and glasses to go with it, and the Lodge graciously allowed us to bring in our own. Dinner was excellent – Clara having a wild mushroom strudel with goat cheese fondue and I the crab cakes and strawberry spinach salad.

Tomorrow we'll explore to the north of Kalaloch, hoping (without much optimism) for a little less of the rain and clouds which normally grace the Olympic Rain Forest.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Martin Remembered

Yesterday Clara and I went to a concert where our own (Coffee 'n' Politics friend) Steve Ernst was a participant in the Seattle Peace Chorus' presentation of "Martin Remembered" in two ways -- he sings in the chorus and he was one of the group who recited a particularly moving poem.

This first picture shows (barely) Steve with the chorus in the first part of the program which was a compilation of musical pieces based on King's statements. The work "Martin Remembered" was commissioned by the Seattle Peace Chorus, and it was the principal accompanist to the group who selected the statements and transformed them into choral pieces.

Here the piece is "All It Takes Is One Candle," and Steve is hiding behind one of his fellow singers.

"All it takes is one candle, a single solitary candle
To light up the sky, just lift it high. Let it be yours."

The second and third pictures show Steve as part of the group reciting "Let America Be America Again," by Langston Hughes, a poem from the early part of last century extolling America's founding values and their virtues, while making the statement that (for Hughes, a black man) "It never was America to me!" The recitation was followed by a musical rendition of the text.

If you wish to read the full text of "Let America Be America Again," you might recall that, by lucky happenstance, I had previously printed that in this blog under that very title back in September '07. Just go back and look for that title in the index.