Retracing our Steps

Camping takes teamwork. One person has to back up the camper, the other has to direct them and place the blocks to get the camper level from side to side. One person meticulously plans the trip, the other pulls on the rubber gloves and takes care of the black water. One cooks, the other cleans up, working together everything runs very smoothly.

For 35 years that has been our life together; working as a team to raise our growing family, navigate careers, grad school, a startup company, a move to Decorah and jobs at Luther College. Cheering for cross country/track meets, basketball games, soccer matches, choir and orchestra concerts, musicals, you name it. We’ve designed designed and built our dream house and cabin. We have travelled around the world, just the two of us, with friends, and leading students. Now in that sorta retired phase of our lives we are fortunate to be able to travel the USA in our camper and avoid Minnesota winters. We could never have done these things separately, but together we are really blessed and grateful.

So here we are on the Olympic Peninsula, where 35 years ago we started this journey together on our Honeymoon. If you had asked us to predict how our lives would unfold back then I doubt we would have predicted very much correctly. Nor would we have ever guessed how much the world would change in those 35 years. I don’t think pandemic was even in my vocabulary back then. But for the next couple days we are going to revisit the places we saw back then.

We had a few pictures from our photo album, taken sparingly with a film camera that we thought it would be fun to recreate while we were back! So, our second stop of the day was at Ruby Beach. The picture below has hung in our bedroom or in a frame on a shelf since 1986. It currently sits on a bookshelf in Indio California in my office.

Ruby Beach - 1986
Ruby Beach - 1986

Here it is today taken from the same spot. Along with a selfie of the two of us. Taking selfies was a lot harder back in the day! Set up the camera on a rock or something, start the timer, run into place and hope for the best.

Ruby Beach 2021
Ruby Beach 2021
Ruby Beach Selfie
Ruby Beach Selfie

Here is another shot, at the Hoh Rainforest hiking either the nature trail or the Hall of Mosses. I wish we had the GPS coordinates for the photo below so we could find the exact spot. We both commented as we were walking, just think about how many of these huge trees were here 35 years ago and how much they have grown in the meantime!

Hoh Rainforest
Hoh Rainforest

Here is our best effort at recreating this today.

Hoh Rainforest Selfie
Hoh Rainforest Selfie

With today’s technology we set up the phone on a credit card size carbon fiber tripod, and then used my watch to frame up the shot and hit the “shutter button” on a 3 second delay!

Our destination for the next two nights is the Salt Creek Recreation Area near Port Angeles. I’m pretty sure that 35 years ago we stayed overnight at the Super 8 in Port Angeles. We have an awesome campsite for the night right on the Strait of Juan De Fuca!

As an even bigger bonus, Jane was looking out at the water and saw whales! A pod of Orca to be exact! What an amazing bonus. This is why, after 35 years, I’ve learned to let her pick the hotel rooms, and the campsites, and whatever!

Orcas!
Orcas!

Tomorrow we will explore a few more locations that we visited on our original trip.

It is still a month before our official anniversary date, but before we left Ruby beach we made our own little cairn to commemorate the occasion.

We’ll be in our early 90’s in another 35 years, and I doubt our little pile of stones will still be there. But I hope by then we can return, and I hope it will be the two of us, still together. Happy anniversary to my dear wife, my partner, my love. Let’s keep on exploring together.