My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
1 John 3:18-20
When the only way to go is up, things do start getting better. No, our floor isn’t miraculously fixed, nor is the dishwasher back to normal. But after Christmas my parents, my sister and brother in law, and Ian and I — and Carmel, of course — piled into two cars and made our getaway. We took a ferry across to Kingston, drove a long loop around with a stop at Dungeness Spit, the longest natural spit in the world (I think). Some time I’d like to hike the whole thing — 5 miles each way — but that wasn’t the day for it. We just fooled around on the beach for a while, continued on, but only after reading about Brant’s Goose (“The Goose With Problems,” the sign’s subtitle said). This intersection we found particularly humorous. Anyway, we made it to Kalaloch Lodge with no problems and settled in OK. It had two bedrooms and one hide-a-bed in the living room; Ian and I drew the short straw and ended up in the living room. The bathroom was only accessible through one of the bedrooms (it had two doors, a source of endless potential embarrassment), an interesting and awkward feature. However, it also had a little kitchen and dining space for all of us, which was a nice redeeming feature. It also had a sign warning us about the KILLER LOGS on the beach, ample fodder for jokes the rest of the time.
On our only full day on the Peninsula, we went to Ruby Beach but didn’t find any rubies. We did find lots and lots of paving stones; lots of logs washed ashore; sea anemones colored purple, white, green, or mint green; a few snails; limpets; big barnacles and little barnacles; some kelp, whose species I should know but don’t; seagulls; and Least Sandpipers. Poking into tidepools never gets old, no matter how grown-up I am. Then we went to the Hoh Rainforest, where we split up. Colleen, Jordan, and Mom did a couple shorter hikes around the visitor’s center while Dad, Ian, and I did a 6-mile roundtrip hike. We saw a ruffed grouse on the trail and watched lots and lots of salmon in a creek, but no elk, despite numerous signs warning us of frequent elk sightings and to stay 100′ from any elk. The same sign said that “Dogs are the natural enemy of all woodland creatures,” so it was a good thing we left Carmel back at Kalaloch. Amazingly, the entire day remained dry: It started sunny and got a bit cloudier later on, but we never got rained on. That’s a small miracle on the rainy side of the Olympics in December.
On Wednesday morning we played a game of Gloom, a card game Caitlyn gave us for Christmas. The best part about it was the stories people told as they played these disastrous happenings on their characters. There wasn’t any “Overcome by Kitchen Floods” or “Rattled by Rats” in there, though.
We packed up and drove to Lake Quinault Lodge (their rain gauge for 2010: 13 feet, more than 2009 but nowhere near the record 17 feet), where we did a nice, pretty hike — lots more hanging moss, this time glowing in the sunlight — and then waited…and waited…and waited for lunch at the restaurant there. We entertained ourselves by watching the roofer right outside the window as he climbed up and down and engaged in all sorts of really risky-looking feats. When the food finally came, we scarfed it down, then made our getaway. Carmel had worked her way out of her box and into the back seat, where she startled Mom when Mom glanced into the back. We ate Pirouettes and drove on small roads through tiny towns. Wind cut our last stop, at Copalis Beach, short. It was amazingly windy, almost enough to lift me off my feet. We worried about Carmel getting sand in blown into her eyes, and so kept the visit brief. Also it’s a pretty boring beach, just tons of flat sand as far as you can see. Good for those beach buggies, though. And that was really the end of our little Olympic Peninsula. Ian and I still have a ruined kitchen floor and broken dishwasher, but at least we got to have a fun break with our family before worrying about it too much.