For my last weekend here in the Pacific Northwest, my mentor took me surfing on the outer coast, near the city of La Push.
It was my first time surfing and it was intense! I will make a post just about surfing once I get the photos.
Coincidentally,while we were in La Push, the Quileute Nation was celebrating their annual Quileute Days. Quileute Days are a celebration of the native culture and includes events such as canoe races, a parade, and a salmon bake, We were there just in time for the salmon bake and got to try salmon cooked in a traditional way. Salmon was cooked on wooden planks around a fire pit. The salmon was all caught locally by tribal fishermen.
This is my second to last weekend here in Washington. Today, we traveled over to Deer Park and Blue Mountain in the Olympic National Park. It’s crazy how time has flown!
We headed up the mountain to an elevation of about 5,000 feet and were rewarded with so many wildflowers! Most of them are tiny and fragile, but of all different shapes and colors! It was beautiful weather here; about 63 degrees and sunny.
To cap off my Fourth of July mini-vacation, I went hiking near Crescent Lake today. It was a gorgeous day for a hike; 70 degrees and sunny, with just a light breeze.
We took the Storm King Mountain trail, a relatively short trail (about 2 miles each way), but one with a lot of elevation change (2,000 feet!!). It was definitely difficult going up, but the views of the lake and surroundings were worth it.
Now that I’ve kind of gotten into a rhythm, one of my weekly routines is to go to the Saturday morning Port Angeles Farmer’s Market, which is just a quick stroll down the street from me. It’s a really active market, with all sorts of locally-made goodies. I usually get fresh bread from a bakery based in Sequim, and berries from local farms.
Vendors from around the area also sell home-made cheeses, smoked salmon, and all sorts of vegetables. And it’s not just food; there’s always some musician playing (normally bluegrass) that you can listen to as you eat “fast” food such as steamed lotus leaves or grilled pizza.
Two summer camps down, two to go! This week was my first ROV Explorers camp. Over the course of four days, the students (ages 12-14) work in teams to build ROVs (remotely operated vehicles).
The contrast between working with 12 year olds and the 5-8 year olds of last week’s camp was really incredible. As cute as the 5-8 year oids are, it is incredible hard to hold their attention. You could tell that these 12 year olds really wanted to be at camp, and enjoyed the challenge of robotics.
Just some pictures from this beautiful Sunday here in Port Angeles!
Today has been the warmest day since I’ve been in Port Angeles, at almost 80 degrees! We even have a “Special Weather Alert” warning about the high heat. It’s amazing to me, going from the Galapagos (and even Miami) where 90+ degrees and high humidity is the norm. But it’s different out here; people aren’t really used to it and most places don’t have air-conditioning.
Victoria, British Columbia, is only a 1.5 hour ferry ride away from Port Angeles. Throughout the summer months, Port Angeles is a major hub for tourists going to the capital of the Canadian province.
It’s a charming city, with horse-drawn carriages and pretty architecture. We spent only a couple days here, but it was great to get a chance to see this place. I would love to go back!
…my first week of leading summer camp is done! It’s been full of ups and downs, and I am now physically and mentally exhausted. I have really learned so much this week.
This past week’s camp was for 5-8 year olds. I learned that attention spans are very short at this age, I learned that there are always some kids who will need a bit more attention than others. I learned about communicating with both parents and volunteers alike.
I also had a lot of special moments throughout the week. After our albatross game (where the kids learned that a hungry albatross can’t tell the difference between food and trash floating on the surface of the water), one little girl told me she wanted to grow up and take care of all the albatross that ate trash. She said she’d take the trash out of their bellies so they could be healthy again.
We also brainstormed ideas about how to help the ocean, and the kids all had really good ideas, from picking up trash, to recycling, to telling their friends and family about the ocean.
Now that the adrenaline of the week is beginning to wear off, I’m definitely going to need to reflect on everything that went wrong/right so I can improve my next camp.
The Hoh rainforest (located about 45 minutes east of Forks) seems like a scene out of Jurassic Park. This place, where yearly rainfall totals are measured in feet rather than inches, seems prehistoric. Huge trees have stood for hundreds of years, while mosses crawl over everything.