Heading south from the licorice fern and club moss of the Hoh Rainforest, the whitecaps ferociously roll something wicked off the Washington coast. The rain heckles and leaves Ruby Beach in peace for the moment – only another car or two turn in before quickly pulling back onto Highway 101. A sign ahead with a painted arrow reads ‘Big Cedar,’ so when the curious and the obvious get the best of me, I cut the wheel left. True to its word, it’s the tallest, thickest, most gnarled tree I’ve ever encountered. A wonderful feeling of novelty over something so delightfully simple.
The coffee at the Kalaloch Lodge & Restaurant is everything I could possibly want: hot, black, and flowing in a steady stream to my face. I perch up in the front of the rounded dining room, crafted of chestnut paneled wood and boasting a 180-degree view of the beach. The horizon line plays a soft blue and melts into a flaccid grey. Mother Nature has leeched almost all the saturation out of Thursday, it seems. For sure the youngest person in here by two generations. Will I have run out of words by then?
I learn from eavesdropping that the Hall of Moses trail back in the rainforest is actually called the Hall of Mosses, warping my mental image from a tablet of the Ten Commandments to the Ten Commandments covered in furry greenery. So it goes. You hear a lot of different strange wonderful bizarre cordial things, being solo on the road – and it causes one to be strangely social. Especially with no cell service. What’s that you say, washer and drier AND soap here in your establishment? Let me count the ways in which I will show you my gratitude and talk to you about this serendipitous circumstance.
Dinner is chosen with the sole intention of eating french fries and for the fact there is a mustachioed man playing the according out front. I meet the rest of the band at the lunch counter, sending them home with the rest of said fries before rolling through the dark onward to Mt. Rainier. Thick, and inky black it is. No lights, none, save for the moon flickering from above the pines. Out of my passenger side window I catch eye of the mountains, silhouetted and velvety black, and my stomach flips. Ah, good to see you.
[September 26, 2015]