Chris used a few of his vacation days for our very first Airstream mini-caravan. We met our friends and fellow Airstreamers, Bonnie and Steve, along with their friends, Alan and Tracy at Lake Quinault up in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula for a few days of hiking and kayaking. We were completely out of any cell phone or internet coverage areas and it was nice not opening a computer for a few days. (Although, I confess, I experienced some iPhone withdrawal symptoms during this time. I’m working on my addiction…I swear.)
On our first full day there, we went on a hike through the Quinault rain forest with our friends who also happen to be extremely knowledgeable about all things nature. When it comes to nature, I am excellent at pointing out certain things. For example, “Look, there’s a tree.” Or, “Check out that worm. Ew.” That’s the extent of my nature knowledge…er…observations. That said, it was nice hiking with people knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. As we hiked along, they pointed out the different plants, the beaver dams, the frogs and slugs that I somehow overlooked (how am I so unobservant?), and they even recognized the edible berries. Along our hike we snacked on freshly picked huckleberries and currants . This is a very different experience from my typical hike during which Chris usually says, “Here Lani, try this berry. Let’s see if it is edible.”
While the hike was more about the journey and less on the destination, the trail we were on took us to Lake Irely. I suspect the lake is absolutely beautiful…when it’s there. Unfortunately, the lake was dry and we were presented with a field in the middle of the forest…still quite a sight. A hiker we passed blamed the lack of a lake on the beavers’ dam but my friends/experts state the dry season as the cause and not the innocent little beaver just doing his dam thing. I’ll go with the latter explanation.
Another hiking trail took us to the world’s largest western red cedar tree. You could stand in this tree, the inside being the size of my current kitchen, dining room, and maybe even part of the bedroom. It was big and pretty impressive. Little did I know that our Airstream adventure would lead us to see some of the world’s largest trees. Just in the Quinault rain forest alone there are six, SIX!, of the world’s largest trees. We saw two of them. Combine that with our drive-thru tree experience in California, and I feel pretty satisfied about my large tree viewing experiences in life.
Our day of hiking was very enjoyable. We all returned to our campsites and then gathered together for dinner later that evening and a gloriously peaceful time on the beach watching the sunset over Lake Quinault. This being my first caravan combined with being in the middle of nowhere, I was very ill-prepared food wise…unless folks wanted to munch on my emergency stash of ramen noodles. The best I could offer was chocolate chip cookies. The others, of course, were more than prepared and offered us grilled halibut, grilled tuna, razor clams, salad, baked beans, homemade guacamole, fruit, and the list goes on. We ate well thanks to our friends. For future caravans, (if they allow us to ever join them again), I know to be better prepared.