Traveling Hopefully

Towards a brief immersion in a different state of mind and being

I’ve been told it is a pessimistic way of looking at things. I prefer to think of it as realistic, predictive and placing the emphasis on journey and not destination:

“It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.” How many times, post-mortem, have I had the opportunity to intone this nugget of gracious disappointment after having enjoyed thinking about doing or getting or being, only to find it did not live up to the hype or that entropy or fate did a number on my imaginings and expectations.

So saying, I am setting out to travel hopefully: to Seattle.

This will be our destination. From there, my daughter and I will make a big loop around the rim of the Olympic Peninsula. I have a long list of parks, preserves, beaches, forests, wildlife areas, lodges and such to peruse, thanks to focus provided just yesterday by my Seattle-raised friend, Sean. (I’m open to other area must-see suggestions, so don’t be shy!)

All the details remain to be worked out. But meanwhile, I’m enjoying thinking about enjoying being there, with no small investment in the notion that being there will be the best part, after all.

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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. We did the Olympic Peninsula Sept. 20 – 30, ’06. We started at Port Townsend (very cool Victorian town), took the ferry to Victoria Island and saw Butchart Gardens (gorgeous), ate Sunday brunch at the Empress Hotel. Back on the mainland, we stayed 2 nights at Sol Duc campground in the Nat. Park, enjoying a walk to the falls, and soaks in hot springs pools. We liked Crescent Lake resort nearby, too. Next, the town of Forks on the west side of the peninsula, with a fun lumbering museum. Then to the Hoh rainforest: beautiful. A Roosevelt elk wandered right through our camp while we were eating dinner. Then on to a camp at Lake Quinalt. There is a lovely lodge to stay or eat at, called Kalaloch Lodge. The biggest Sitka spruce is nearby.
    Are you camping or staying in motels/lodges?

  2. Thanks for the tips, ladies, I’m really getting pumped up about this trip! And Kathy, I’m afraid this one will be pretty tame–car touring staying in lodges and cabins and such. Quinault and Forks both likely landing spots for night stays. We visited our son in Vancouver BC in 2003 and did not really have time to become immersed in the landscape. This trip, I intend to do just that!

  3. Wow!! What a wonderful place to visit. I hope you will treat us with lots of pictures. Isn’t the “one square inch of silence” somewhere close to Olympic National Park?