Magic Mike

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Sometimes my "great-escape" from motherly duties comes in the form of a good book. I love good literary, artistic, memoirs and off-the-national-bestseller list finds, but there is also something about a good pop-fiction novel series that is similar to an addicting reality tv show, except better, so much better. Currently I am reading the Outlander series and neglecting all household duties,  laundry or steamy Scottish romance? Georgi pronounces obsessed as "incest" and says "mom you are incest with that book" ... Yes Georgi I am incest. 

So it is not surprising that I read all the Twilight series in a week, and when we drove into Forks, Washington I had to suppress a teenage girl squeal. Forks is a small, rural town best known for two things; lumbering and twilight. It would have been fitting to have had a lumberjack vampire as one of the characters... Plaid, axes, and blood sucking. We stopped in Forks to grab some camping necessities before delving into the majestic Hoh Rainforest.

As we rolled up to the campsite we found that it is just that... Majestic. The campground is on the top of my list of favorite camping spots. It is set up adjacent to the Hoh River, lined with smooth river stones and the lullaby of rushing water perfect for helping babies drift into a sweet slumber. The opposite side offers several trailheads that lead you into the depths of the mossy rainforest. 

We had our hearts set on the Hall of Mosses Trail after seeing a captivating photo on one of those " Ten Places to Visit Before you Die" type articles. The trail did not disappoint, it was a leisurely mile long loop with giant trees clothed in moss and lichen. I can understand why someone would right a fantasy book based in this place, the surroundings set the imagination free to wander into envisioning magical creatures. The vibrant green undergrowth filled with curling ferns and umbrella mushrooms seemed to be pulsating with life. If I stood still enough and looked hard enough I am certain I would have seen fairy wings, but standing still is not an option with the little nomads so we made fairy houses for the lovey, winged creatures instead and Georgi checked in periodically to see if there were any new tenants. 

Georgi met a little campground friend, Spencer, and they were inseparable. No tree could be passed unclimbed.

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No fairies, but we did see a river otter chasing some minnows in the clear, silky water and a giant elk grazing in the greenery of the ranger construction zone. These animals are equally as magical and enchanting as fairies, gnomes, vampires, and werewolves and it offered us a chance to talk to Georgi about conserving their homes, especially in the wake of the lumbering scene around us. Although the Olympic National Forest is protecting much of the wildlife they are currently trying to expand the borders of protection because the shrinking habitat is endangering many species. 

We have visited the Hoh Rainforest twice and it is one of the places I will miss the most when we leave the Washington area. The loop around the Olympic Penninsula brought us to Port Angeles, a city with breathtaking views of Victoria Island B.C. and Washington mountain ranges. Next stop was Hurricane Ridge, we spent the night firing up aluminum foil meals at Heart of the Hills campground. From this tree covered camping spot there is a 45 minute drive deeper into the Park that leads up a winding, narrow, steep drive that dead ends into a parking lot. We jumped ship, grabbed our picnic bag and bathing suits, and hit the 2.4 mile trail to discover the olympic natural hot springs. 

The hot springs were a truly unforgettable experience. Ten secluded springs nestled in the mountainside, identifiable only by a ring of stones encircling a shallow water pool and the strong scent of sulfur. Surprisingly, the water temperature was very hot, that mixed with the cool, fresh, mountain air was refreshing and exhilarating. The little nomads had special visitors when we ventured into the Olympic National Park the second time, Aunt Britt and Uncle Tony, it was so wonderful to share our experiences with them and the hot spring adventure was the cherry on top for all of us. 

I love to stick my nose in a book and read about far off adventures in far off places, and many times the drama of the characters are much more glamorous than vaccuming the floor and washing the dishes. This trip out west has taught me that my life can be an adventure, that scenic landscapes and magical moments are not exclusive to movies and books. I am so glad that we took this leap of raw faith, it has taught me that I am the author of not only my own story, but that of my children's childhood story, and I want it to be a great one, one worth reading. So even though I am incest with Outlander I am so grateful to be able to put the book down, turn the page to my life's blank chapter, grab my kids, get outside, and explore.