So I’m deep in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington right now which is about as far away from my home as you can get and still be in the continental U.S. For all you fanboys out there, this is Twilight country. Teenage vampires and lots of rain. The forest looks a lot like the Southern Appalachians, only bigger. The ferns are the size of cars, the trees are as big around as a house. Even the four leaf clovers are massive. But in a lot of ways it feels like home. Mostly because I’ve spent my days riding bikes, paddling and drinking beer, just like back home.
I had the chance to paddle a chunk of Lake Crescent in a paper boat. Ok, it’s not made of paper. It’s called Oru Kayaks, and it’s actually made of foldable plastic, so you can fold it down into a box about the size of a crash pad, slide it into a backpack and hike it wherever you want, then unfold it and crease it into a kayak (like origami). Even if you don’t want to hike with the thing, it folds down so small that storage and transporting it to the lake or beach is a cinch. Imagine the ease of an inflatable and the performance of a hard boat. That’s what you get with an Oru. It’s badass.
It’s important that the boat be badass because I’m not a badass paddler. An hour into the paddle, my shoulders are sore and I’m worn out. There’s something comforting about sucking at something on both sides of the country. It’s familiar, like finding a McDonalds in Asia. Sucky, but familiar.
As for the lake, Crescent sits just inside Olympic National Park, a massive clear lake, surrounded by steep, lush green peaks. It’s an odd shade of blue, like the color of Gatorade Fierce.
I paddled to rock beaches, swung on rope swings and peeped tall waterfalls way up on the slopes above. I might not have been paddling fast, or efficiently, but that didn’t make it any less fun.
The adventure is great, the beer is great. Just like back home.