Ijust returned from 3 days on Vashon Island with my friend Cyndi. She's been trying to get me over for a visit ever since she and Max moved there last year. I caught a very early bus on Tuesday, and the ferry across to the island...I was on the north side of the boat admiring the beautiful Olympic Mountains, when the ferry turned slightly to enter the dock...and there was Mt Rainier off the other side! Cyndi met me at the ferry, and we explored a beach, a wooded trail, and the town of Vashon, where we had a lovely lunch at The Hardware Store...I love a good burger and fries, and recommend them here!
We watched deer in the yard, and then saw "Avatar" - I thought it was a beautiful movie, but we agreed it was somewhat lacking in plot and character development.
On Wednesday, we made goat-milk soap and I spent a lot of time running from window to window to watch the deer. The twin fawns were so cute! I got to visit a cool coffee roasterie, and bought some new herbs for tincturing at home. We went down to a different beach, and then back to watch "Coco Before Channel" , which is pretty good, but in French, so the subtitles were necessary for me to follow the story.
Many Thursdays Cyndi has to go to Duvall anyway, and so we planned our day around the ferry trip...beach first - the tide was out, and so I got to walk the mud flats and picked up a bunch of shells, and saw a huge crab, a many-legged starfish, and we caught a quick glimpse of an otter! Even though it was in the Sound, we think it was a River Otter, not a Sea Otter - but still a big thrill. Cyndi treated me to lunch at The Monkey Tree, a nice vegetarian place with great bread and the best chocolate chip cookies that are as big as a salad plate!
I'm truly blessed to have friends here in the Pacific Northwest! My first island stay was fun, and I'll be eager to go back for more island adventures!
I've been surprisingly emotional as this year comes to a close...I'ts been 3 years since I graduated from the Wilderness Awareness School Residential Program - now known as the Anake Program. Last Friday, we welcomed this group back from their 5 day survival trip, and as always, everyone did survive. Hearing stories about how they did so is inspirational! I know that they will go out into the world with not only the solid naturalist skills that we teach, but also with the uncommon knowledge that they have gone through a rite of passage that most people don't get to experience in our culture. I believe they will be better, and happier people for having done so...I know what an amazing experience I had, and the many ways that it affected me. I'm still learning how profound an experience it really is to go out into the wilderness with only the clothes on your back - and your classmates - your friends - your clan. We did well. So have each year's graduates. I'm so happy to be able to remain in this amazing place as a part of this amazing program.