Exploring Local Water

The Wandering Gants’ journal for the week of July 12, 2020 coming to you from the Hood Canal area, Washington State.

Thank You, Water

I start this journal entry with gratitude to the Waters of the world, especially North Creek where I was raised and Hood Canal where I currently live. Thank you. I appreciate you. I’m grateful for the life you give us.

The Waters of the Salish Sea

I was thrilled, this week, to be able to explore so many different places with access to water. We’re currently parked on Hood Canal, which is a long, narrow fjord in Puget Sound – the lower part of the Salish Sea.

For those who aren’t aware, the Pacific Ocean flows partially into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates Canada from Washington. The sea continues on, splitting north to the Straight of Georgia in Canada and south to Puget Sound in Washington with many additional waterways branching off from those. The Salish Sea includes all of these larger and smaller waterways.

Hood Canal and Puget Sound

Point Whitney

Point Whitney (this entries featured image above) is a couple of miles from us and includes a Washington State Shellfish Laboratory. The Lab’s focus seems to be on seeding local shellfish as well as monitoring things like water temperatures, invasive species, etc. The beach is very popular for harvesting oysters and clams – so popular that a large portion of the beach is covered in oyster shells.

It’s a decent walking beach as long as you’re careful around the oyster shells. Wear shoes you can get wet because you’ll be walking through or jumping across small streams that connect the lagoon with the sea. The view out to the water and beyond is gorgeous as usual in the area. Behind you, though, are the buildings for the lab. It looks like they’ve made a proposal for improvements, so things could change in the next few years. Just keep your eyes on the water for now. It’s not hard. 😉

Mt Walker and Its Amazing Water Views

Another day, we drove up to Mt Walker, which is only about 2800 feet above sea level; but offers gorgeous views of the Puget Sound and Mt Rainier. This day was a bit hazy as you can see, but just imagine it on a clear day.

View of Mt Rainier from Mt Walker with Hood Canal, Puget Sound, and tree-covered land intermixed.
View of Mt Rainier from Mt Walker

The drive up to the view point at Mt Walker was about four miles of bumpy gravel. My neck was not happy with me the next few days, but I survived and the view was worth it. The south side view point (above) has a short ADA trail from the parking area through trees and salal to a small spot on a bluff. There you can sit on the single bench and hang out for a bit. The north side view point has a short, non-ADA but still easy, trail to its bluff overlooking Seattle and the surrounding areas up to Mt Baker (which looked more like a cloud through all the haze.) We were very glad that we’d sprayed ourselves with bug spray before the first view point. While there weren’t any noticeable insects on the south side, the north view had lots of mosquitoes and biting flies. We didn’t stay long even with the bug spray on.

Walking to Water

We also discovered a beach Right Smart Cove, which is a short walk from our RV Park. It’s tiny and has those rocks that are a perfect size to turn your ankle if you’re not careful, but it gets me to water. There are several driftwood logs above the high tide line that offer a good place to sit for a bit and just watch the water and wildlife. The first time we visited, we saw three blue herons and a bald eagle. And, no. I did not have my good camera.

The beach at Right Smart Cove,
Right Smart Cove

The Elk

The walk to and from Right Smart Cove takes us by this lovely farmhouse with a wide field between it and the road. The local elk herd was hunkered down one evening, so we spent a few minutes snapping some shots. The sun as already behind the mountains and the elk were quite a ways off, making my poor little camera struggle; but I did get a few decent photos.

An elk with a large rack of antlers peeking out from tall grass.
Elk settling in for the night

A New Way of Cooking

While we were out and about running weekend errands, Brian picked up a new 17-inch Blackstone grill (griddle?) He’s always had issues with the small grills we’ve purchased because they’re cheaply made. It seems like if you buy a portable grill, you’re supposed to only use it for weekend now and then. At any rate, we’d heard really good things about Blackstone; so he picked one up, seasoned it, and cooked some beautiful bourbon-marinated trip-tip steaks for the first effort. He enjoyed grilling (griddling?) and the steaks were perfect.

Brian cooking steak on our new Blackstone grill.
Brian cooking on the new Blackstone

Plant Medicine

In my ongoing work with plant medicine, I made the lotion bars I talked about in the 4th of July entry. They turned out great! Smooth and creamy, not sticky, and with a beautiful yellow color. I used only the infused oil, beeswax, shea butter and cocoa butter – no essential oils or other scents. I have a few extra to give away if and when we see any friends who want them.

Round, creamy yellow, bars of handmade lotion.
Moisturizing Lotion Bars

Health

Brian and I have both been on a downward trend since December with a lot of holiday eating, then in January with a large RV rally, and being extremely sick in late January/early February with what we think may have been COVID-19. Through it all, and since, we’ve struggled getting back to our keto ways. We might be good for a week, but then order take-out or dine-in at a restaurant now that we’re in a phase 2 area. That, unfortunately, blows any keto progress we’ve made the previous several days. It means I’ve gained back nearly all of the initial 40 pounds I’d lost and Brian has gained at least half his lost weight back. It also means we’re tired and cranky – not just from weight gain, but from lack of movement and going through keto flu regularly.

But, we’ve been doing our best to get out and walk at least 3 or 4 times a week since we arrived here. That’s helping quite a bit. Now we need to focus on either having easy, healthy meals to make when we’re too tired to cook or going out and still making good choices. The more we hike and walk, the better we’ll feel.

Post Highlights

These are my favorite posts from my social media this week.

Thank for following along as we live our journey…

~Julie

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