Sunday, July 21, 2013

# 48: Pacific Northwest Part Two

In this posting we will complete the description of our tour of Washington State; I need to complete this now because next week I fly to Kansas City for the Urantia Association Conference.  This portion of the tour began with a visit to the Nisqually National Wildlife Reserve after which the tour went to the Hoh Rain Forest.  The next day we had an all day Cruise amongst the San Juan Islands watching for whales and other marine life.  Also included in our itinerary was a ride up to Hurricane Ridge for a splendid view of the Olympic Mountains.  Finally we went to Seattle where we visited the market and took a boat ride to Tillicum Village on Blake Island where we had lunch and watched a dramatic Native American program.

The theme for the quotes used in this blog is adventure!  These excursions for the South Carolina ETV Endowment are truly a meaningful adventure for everyone involved.

“You humans have begun an endless unfolding of an almost infinite panorama, a limitless expanding of never-ending, ever-widening spheres of opportunity for exhilarating service, matchless adventure, sublime uncertainty, and boundless attainment.” The Urantia Book (1194.1) (108:6.8)

Our first stop after Mount Rainier was at the Nisqually NWR, which is located on a protected estuary on the Nisqually River Delta.  While walking around the pond we spotted a female Wood Duck with young swimming on the pond.  She was completely at ease in her safe environment but she was a good ways away and I could not get a clear photograph of the floating family.  Further on there was a bright flash of yellow that flew past my face; I could not get a good look but it flew too fast to be a Goldfinch.  We were told there were warblers in the area; perhaps it was a yellow warbler (Common Yellowthroat).  At any rate it was pleasant to walk through the reserve and listen to the many birds singing merrily in the woods.  We also watched a swallow flying into her nest on the wall of the porch of the Visitors Center feeding her young.  Over the front entryway to the Visitors Center there was a nest that appeared to be a basketball sized wasp nest but upon closer examination it was populated by yellow jackets.
Hoh Rain Forest

The only rain we encountered during the entire tour was either at night or while we were touring the Hoh rain forest.  This rain forest is on the Pacific coast of the Olympic Peninsula and home to trees covered with green moss and ferns covering the ground.  The coastline was dramatic with a green windswept hillside rising beside the surf and the trees nearest shore were swept back by the constant breeze.  Outside of a couple of cute little banana slugs we saw no wildlife here, but the atmosphere was humid and expectant with rain as we walked amongst the otherworldly treescape.

Our next stop was a stroll along the beach where long stalks of kelp had washed ashore.  They had bulbs that acted as floatation devices and long flat leaves.  There were also interesting stones and shells; one small stone I picked up was a composite having one end white and the other grey that was shaped like a tooth.  According to our naturalist the stones had probably washed down from the nearby Olympic Mountains.
Orca near San Juan Islands

Our next stay was at Port Angeles where we had a motel on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  From there we drove to Port Townsend where we took a daylong tour on the boat Glacier Spirit.  On the tour we saw a Bald Eagle, two young eagles, sea lions and other sea life in addition to the whales.  There were also magnificent views of the San Juan Islands, a beautiful excursion.  The Orca in this photograph is a male, they have higher fins; later we saw a female (smaller fin) with a calf.  The spotter on the boat was able to identify the individual whales.  There was constant chatter between the various independent tour boats in the area, both from the US and from Canada.  That way the entire fleet was aware of where the various whales were that day, the cooperation making it easier to satisfy their passengers.  At one point we were in Canadian waters, someone on the tour neglected to turn his phone off and received a call from South Carolina but it was billed as an international call because of the location of the boat.  Again the weather was ideal, somebody asked the boat Captain how often they had weather that good on the tours and the reply was about once a week, frequently there is wind and rain.
Starfish under Pier in Port Angeles

Back at Port Angeles the next day we went exploring the pier near our motel before we left for the day.  From the end of the pier we watched a tour boat coming in and docking.  There was an open area in the pier where starfish and Sea Anemones were attached to the pilings.  In this photograph four star fish, each a different color, and large Sea Anemones are living on the piers.  They all seemed to be healthy; in fact the White Sea Anemones were larger than usual.  A nearby piling was covered by Anemones that were even larger than these.  The diversity of the life created by our Mother Spirit is stunning.

View from Picnic Table – Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge

Our final stop before Seattle was at Hurricane Ridge, which is in the midst of the Olympic Mountains on Olympic Peninsula.  The ridge got its name because hurricane force winds have been clocked up here.  Even in mid June some of the trails were covered by snow and a couple of deer were unconcernedly walking around feeding.  For the above photo I was actually sitting at the picnic table, which can be seen in the foreground, and getting ready to eat my box lunch when I took the photo.  That was what I was watching while eating, looking at God’s magnificent creation.  People who arrived at the table later joked, asking why everyone was sitting on one side of the table because the other side looked at the Visitors Center, interesting but not a view like this.
Fish Market in Seattle’s Pikes Place Market

The last day of the tour we had free time to explore Pikes Place Market in Seattle; fortunately I had breakfast before going there as I expected there would be crowds of people and I was right.  I had about an hour and a half to see the sights in this market before the next event but as soon as I got off the bus I called a local Urantia Book student and we talked for nearly forty minutes about the revelation and how I might be of service.  There was not enough time for us to meet but we did have a good conversation and I still had time to explore the market.  At this colorful fish market the various employees are shouting back and forth; when somebody buys a fish it is tossed to someone behind the counter for weighing and wrapping, quite a show!  There were many kinds of goodies; one lady accosted me with chocolate covered cherries, which I could not resist.  There were stalls of flowers, one had colorful little bunches of sweet pea blossoms for $5 each and larger bunches of colorful flowers for only $15 each.  One lady on the tour said she could decorate her entire apartment in South Carolina at these prices for the cost on one bunch in South Carolina.

Tillicum Village – Dancer with Mask

After the market we boarded a boat to take us to Blake Island.  Just as we were coming in to shore there were two Raccoons rummaging along the shore oblivious to our comings and goings.  Our last stop was at Tillicum Village on the island where Native Americans greeted us in traditional dress offering cups of steamed clams in welcome.  After this we went into a long house where over one hundred people were served a dinner of Salmon and traditional dishes.  After dinner there was a dramatic show consisting of Native Americans in various costumes including elaborate colorful wooden masks.  These masks had moveable beaks that could be slapped shut by the dancer adding sound and drama to the dance.  One of the dancers later told us that the masks were used in a secret ritual by one of their clans and that they had permission to use the masks but not the secret dances.  The dances they performed for us were based on other rituals.

There is no adventure in the course of mortal existence more enthralling than to enjoy the exhilaration of becoming the material life partner with spiritual energy and divine truth….” The Urantia Book (1430.2) (130:2.4)

All photographs used in blog postings were taken by the Wandering Urantian, Doug Cable.

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