Rehabituation

The finished-for-now travel map at my folks’ house.

We landed in Sequim almost three weeks ago, and it was a bit of a hard landing. Until we’re able to move Essie to our property, we’re staying in town at a small, tightly packed park, right off Hwy 101, which is a much busier (read: noisier) highway than we expected. The day of our arrival, we plugged in, but the 50 amp wasn’t working. The water connection was leaky. The cable TV worked, but I couldn’t connect to the park’s WiFi no matter what I tried. Cell phone speed wasn’t the greatest. The advertised clubhouse wasn’t open, meaning I wouldn’t have the access to the oven I was hoping for. And there was another flat on Hond, same tire as a few weeks ago! We felt flatter than that tire.

Thankfully, most of those troubles were resolved quickly. The 50 amp problem was just a matter of some plug adjustment. The caretaker fixed the leaky water connection. The park’s WiFi started working for no discernable reason. And the flat, though it was the same tire as before was a completely different cause, got repaired.

We wasted no time in catching up on laundry (park facilities for the big stuff,) groceries (hello, WA bag fees and getting used to taking in reusable bags again,) dental visits (always a fun time,) and, of course, getting outside. We are minutes away from the Dungeness NRA/NWR both at the RV park and eventually even closer from our property, and we have been several times already.

The county park trails connect to the NWR/NRA trails, and there is a wonderful mix of scenery. We are slowly taking up running again on the soft, smooth surfaces, and I have flirted with the idea of getting into 5k shape whether or not I ever enter an actual race again.

The Dungeness (the whole peninsula shoreline, really) is popular for birding, though we haven’t been out on many dedicated birding walks yet, and our photos are blurry on-the-fly ones thus far. Those represented in the above feathery flotilla were all new-to-us sightings but very common here, and species we will no doubt get much better photos of in the future. We’ll come back to those Pigeon Guillemots in a few minutes.

There is no shortage of deer, and they like to dip their toes in the surf as much as anyone. They know they are protected here and will saunter off-trail at their leisure when we come through.

We did get out on one bigger hike in the Olympic National Forest, choosing a portion of the Gray Wolf Trail. It was a thousand shades of green, and what I think of when I think of hiking. Clearly, we have experienced extraordinary hiking all over the country, but since I cut my teeth on PNW hiking, it will always be what represents classical hiking to me.

Early in the trek, we came upon another pair of hikers with their camera set up and trained on the side of the trail. They alerted us to the blooming of the Calypso orchids aka Fairy Slippers. We also saw them in WI, where they are more rare and endangered, though wherever they’re found, they need particular growing conditions and have a very short season. My favorite thing about these petite flowers is that they pollinate by fooling bees, mostly of the Bumble variety, into thinking they supply nectar. They do not, but in their search for it, the bees get dusted with pollen and carry it to the next orchid.

It is also a relief not to have to worry about rattlesnacks, which is a doubly-good thing because one needs to be on the lookout for bears and pumas, the latter having been sighted very recently along this trail. It’s always something, eh?

While the trail continues well beyond where we made our turnaround, the stellar view of the Gray Wolf River made for a perfect destination. And our time was cougar-free.

We made one trip over to Port Angeles to take a look at a certain type of woodstove, and while we were there, we took a walk on the waterfront portion of the Olympic Discovery Trail. There were a good number of homeless people scattered along the mile or so we walked, and it was a relatively noisy section overall. This does not sour us on all of P.A. for future visits, but it made that particular day displeasing. Something we did like was playing tourist and popping into the Visitor Center to load up on brochures. One thing we know from all our travels is that often tourists find more places to go and see than the locals, and pouring over all the literature can even steer you away from some activities/areas.

On another day, we drove to a few shore access points to see what we could see and take advantage of some sun, though it’s remained cooler than normal this spring.

One of the first sights we saw was a gathering of large birds far out on the sand. Training my binos on them, I saw it was a convocation of Bald Eagles — I counted up to 20 of them! TBG was working with my point-and-shoot camera but got a couple decent shots of one coming in to perch.

So, remember those Pigeon Guillemots from a couple paragraphs ago? Cute, huh? Turns out I’ve signed up to be a Citizen Scientist volunteer to help monitor their nesting colonies in the area! There will be much more to share as the assignment unfolds, so I won’t detail it all here yet. Suffice it to say, I’m very excited to have such an opportunity so quickly, and you, Faithful Readers, will no doubt be inundated with my tales from the shore as well as what I anticipate will be some fabulous photographs to come.

Otherwise, we are just trying to settle in and get used to the idea that we’re here. I keep hearing the names of familiar places on the news, and I do a double-take before I remember where I am. I also need to remember to be more circumspect about engaging in detailed conversation with people we casually encounter, since all folks could potentially show up in our future now. Even though so much is familiar here, we have a long way to go before we feel at home.

On the House

Yes, of course we’ve put our boots on our property! There isn’t much to see yet, but what we did see is about a million little trees — cedar, Douglas fir — our builder calls it our own little tree farm. That will surely work to our future advantage in a few ways. The house itself looked closer to the main road than we expected, though it is exactly where we all agreed it would be, and we actually like that there is more room around the north and west sides. We talked to one of our neighbors who said living here is Heaven and gave us farm-fresh eggs and introduced us to his cool cat, both of which are definite indicators of paradise. The piles of excavated dirt appeared nearly rock-free unlike the earth at our Old-Home where you couldn’t stick a dinner fork in the ground without hitting a boulder. Our builder confirmed the dirt was primo, and I am positively sitting on my gardening hands. Oh, and we have a peekaboo view of the mountains from the house. It won’t last forever, but for now, it’ll do quite nicely.

It ain’t pretty yet, though!

Perfect? Hardly. We both find the whole process quite stressful, me decidedly more so, and the next person who tells me how much fun I’m supposed to be having will be banished from my life for a minimum of six months. The price to be released from banishment early will be the balance of the contract plus 50% of all the home furnishings. I’m not kidding.

Rough-skinned amphibian says, “Seriously. She’s newt kidding.”

12 thoughts on “Rehabituation

  1. Both your lives are pretty much laid up for the next 6 months or so. The upside, you have hundreds of trails to choose from to de-stress once in a while. And after that…a beautiful home you can call your labor of love with a garden to boot. Hang in there!
    We just had a California King snake passing thru my garden. We let it be since rattlesnakes are their snacks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Six months?! Hahahaha, I know, I know. Maybe even longer, but we just have to keep reminding ourselves it’s a gorgeous place to have such a “problem.”

      Those big snakes can give you quite a fright, but once you know it’s a good one, they’re pretty cool to watch. I hope it keeps the rattlesnacks away from your veggies!

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  2. The OP was one of our very favorite trips. We hit perfect weather to experience every aspect with a light mist the day we hiked to the Sol Duc Falls with Laurel and Eric (the only way to truly appreciate the rain forest beauty) to the perfect spring blooms for our Hurricane Ridge hike. We even had two days in the 80’s that made it warm enough to sit by the water with the breeze for our coffee. We had five fabulous weeks experiencing our way around OP. You just might see us sooner rather than later!! I need to do this again! It is so exciting to see your house is actually happening…wahoo!!! But fun…not so much. We had one house built. Soil without rocks?? There is really such a thing? In PA we had what we called the “Shrewsbury Shovel” ( the name of our town). It was a very long tire iron. It was the ONLY way to dig a hole and then not easy. I can imagine how anxious you are to get the gardening going:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the first places TBG took me when we started dating was out here to the Hoh and Hurricane Ridge. Having lived on the east side of the sound, we only had a few other trips out here in all those years, but you are right in that it has so much to offer in all seasons. We’d be happy to explore it again or anew with you!

      Oh, I hope our dirt is as good as the builder says. Those piles, before they were graded back in, sure looked nice. Like you, we know only too well how laborious rocky soil can be. Makes for some nice rock walls, though! πŸ˜€

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  3. Ditto Shannon! Hopefully, time will fly and all this will be behind you in the blink of an eye….blink blink.
    Some decisions seem easy but turn out to be hard, and I think this is one of them but it will all be worth it when the house is up and furnished and you can sit outside an enjoy your accomplishments.
    At least you have plenty of spots to get out in nature and out gas a bit. Nature helps.
    I just watched a PBS program about eggs….yes, eggs. They talked about the odd shape of those Guillemots eggs and the possible reasons. I look forward to future blog posts on that subject.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m loathe to wish time away, but some time is hard to like. Nature is our balm, of course, and when we see the progress on the house and envision living there, we know we can keep plugging along.

      Oddly, I haven’t read about the Guillemot eggs, but now I’m going to!

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  4. You know it’s KILLING me not to make some wisea$$ comment about how much fun you should be having, but I will refrain because I do not have the money necessary to get back into your life and good graces. So this is me shutting my face and not poking the bear.

    Speaking of bears, I still think I’d rather deal with bears than creepy desert spiders, but I’m not sure about the big angry cats. Those things are crazy. Is there “bear spray for cats”? Or can you just carry around an oversized laser pointer to try to distract them?

    I know… I’m not helpful. But it’s better than ticking you off.

    Just think: before you know it, you’ll have a whole garden going in that perfect dirt!! Chin up and eyes on the prize!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dang, I thought surely I could sucker someone into footing this bill! I’m with you and will take bears over bitey snakes. Now you’ve got me wondering why no one ever talks about pepper spray for pumas. But your laser pointer idea is both brilliant and hilarious!! That’s just frickin’ genius.

      Oh, I can’t wait for the gardening and birdscaping to commence. Big plans afoot, and those actually ARE fun!

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  5. Chiming in to say that pretty much everything about the house building process stinks. It’s stressful, it’s expensive, it’s frustrating. And the payoff doesn’t come until MUCH later…. as in, after you’ve been fully moved in for a year. By then you can sort of forget about the stress and finally enjoy having the house you designed!

    I’m so glad to hear that you are getting involved in a citizen science project. That has been our very best strategy for meeting people with similar interests and getting to know the area. I can’t wait to see the fabulous bird photos that are sure to come!

    Liked by 2 people

    • A year?! But, but, but that means it won’t be until late 2023! Help me, Rhonda. By then, I imagine, we’ll be figuring out which decisions weren’t our best, wishing an outlet was here or a window there πŸ˜€

      I’m excited about the Citizen Science project, too! Of course, I thought of you guys and the turtles, though my assignment won’t be every day, and not quite as early, though if I get a regular site, I can go out at daybreak and probably will. It’s nice when helping is also fun! Bring on the critters!

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  6. I love seeing the beautiful PNW again in your photos. I recognize that view of Dungeness Spit and can imagine myself standing there with you at the overlook! And you know I love your creative map that your folks createdβ€”it makes me especially happy to see that little turquoise pin at our place in Florida. πŸ™‚

    Building or remodeling a house is most definitely NOT fun. There are moments of excitement, yes (I’m not going to have to pay the balance of your contract for saying that, am I?). But…decision fatigue is a real thing and building/remodeling is a never-ending series of choices and decisions. I’m glad you two are getting out and spending plenty of time in nature to help clear your minds and soothe your souls.

    Ever onward, friends. One day, you will look back on all of this and say, “I am NEVER doing that again!” πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • I need you on the Dungeness overlook with me to help spot stuff! I like the pin in Apalach, too; so many good memories of that stay. I won’t penalize you this time for almost saying the home-building process is fun. Well, maybe a throw pillow ❀ It's mostly the decisions that get made then un-made a zillion times because one little thing changes. That sort of thing feels like a colossal waste of time. Like you, we already said once before we were NEVER doing this again, yet here we are. We're morons πŸ˜€ You're right, though, it's a beautiful place for such dilemmas, and we resolve every day to be thankful for that.

      Liked by 1 person

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