October 08, 2010

A Hike To The End of the World

The signs posted on the wall of our cabin and throughout Camp Westwind made it clear that in the event of a tsunami warning, we were to follow the blue route, up the hill--past cabins, outhouses, and tent platforms--to the high meadow. Safe from the wall of water. Alternatively, if there were a fire, we were directed to follow the red route, down the hill to the beach. Someone asked the inevitable question: what do we do if there's both a fire and a tsunami? The response: the tsunami would put out the fire. The ying and yang of natural disasters, I guess.

The day after M+S’s wedding, LSB and I decided to take a hike, following the tsunami evacuation route to the high meadow. It was a beautiful day, and the path led us through a lush, Jurassic Park-like forest (LSB kept a sharp eye out for velociraptors) and past “Lost Lake,” an eerily silent and secluded pond surrounded by dark green, jungle-like brush. When things got too quiet we trudged a little louder and talked a bit more to avoid stumbling upon a startled Oregon critter.

The trail continued past a strange box, that apparently contained a camera used to monitor the movement of wildlife (and hikers, I guess), and then over/under a gate, before ending at a clearing at the top of the hill. The High Meadow, I presume.

We found a nice spot under a tree at the edge of the meadow, where we could sit and look at the coastline to the right and the left, or straight out at the Pacific, curving downward toward Asia. We sat under the late afternoon sun with a bottle of wine and our binoculars (a well-timed birthday gift from LSB), looking for seals and sea otters, and, unexpectedly, seeing a small pod of Gray whales.  They would periodically surface near a large rock, spout, then dive again. Leah spotted a head, and we think we saw a tail, but no dramatic breaches.

After watching the whales for a half hour or so, we decided to attempt the narrow path that led to a point jutting out from the high meadow and separating the two beaches. Perhaps it wasn’t wise to attempt to walk a treacherous path after a few glasses of wine, but the wine certainly helped suppress my fear of heights.  LSB reminded me of the time when I slipped and fell while hiking on our honeymoon in Kaua'i and "almost died." 

We stayed out on the edge of the world until the sun got low in the sky, then left the whales behind and headed back down the quickly darkening trail.