Olympic Trip: The Mouth

Mouth of the river: le bouche becomes La Push

When I was satisfied that the eagle was real, and that I had taken enough images of the bird so that maybe one would be a keeper, I was curious about the view on the other side of the seawall, so that nothing would remain between me and the sea stacks that we saw from our motel room a half mile south.

My first inclination was to climb directly to the top of the twenty foot wall for a view, but the wet rocks provided a precarious foothold——especially in light of the fact that, should I lose my footing, I would probably choose to fall on my face than to catch myself with my left hand, so recently repaired.

So I followed the wall inland several hundred yards until I found a passage through the driftwood, and was met, after some compositional repositioning, with the scene that you see here. It was one of those exhilirating, OMG moments, knowing this was likely to be the most post-cardy image I would take the entire trip.

Be sure and click on small image, since any landscape is diminished in impact by such small image size, but especially a panorama of three or four shots like this one must be seen at a larger size.

It was only after thinking about this view a few days later that I realized that I had been at the mouth of the Quileute River, the feature for which the place was named first by the French: le Bouche (or mouth), and later adulterated as LaPush.

It was in this view, by the way, that another dozen eagles could be seen, waiting for breakfast.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Fred, your pictures are fantastic! The bald eagle, so majestic, reminds me of shots I missed (darn it!) when on the Olympic Peninsula. What a glorious place. Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. Aren’t the trees awesome! Back in ’80, I made three pix (Kodak Instamatic) of an evergreen…with Susan (ever so tiny) at the base, another in the mid of the tree, then a last one of the canopy. Each beginning where the last left off. After developing them, we took the three and spliced them together. Sadly, today I don’t recall where I could locate that framed piece, but it really helped put the trees into perspective. I wish I had had then, the equipment you have today. Your images are truly awesome…congratulations.