When not cleverly disguised as an undercover Marine Exhibit Educator, terrestrial botanist Rebecca Mostow can typically be found traversing the exotic landscape of yesterday's glaciers (if yesterday were 800,000 years ago, that is). Fun fact: the working motto of our friendship is "never a dull moment, only dull knives" — a nod to all the salt-encrusted knives we use to prepare snacks for the critters in the Marine Exhibit galley. What follows is the story of a standard 24-hour embodiment of this motto (*free of the excitement of overflowing tanks, power outages, pump failures, etc. etc.)
Once upon a time in early July, in a kingdom far far away behind the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Rebecca and her not-so-trusty sidekick Kitz schemed a magical adventure in the Olympic National Forest.
Captured kitten moments: Kitz (L) in a rare state of calm, and
Sampson (R, Zofia's cat) aggressively cuddling as per usual.
Specifically, a backpacking trip traversing the fairy playground of Marmot Pass via Upper Dungeness River Trail. While seemingly straightforward, I threw in the PLOT TWIST of only having one day off and a reservation on the Marine Science Center's first Puffin Cruise of the summer. Womp womp. However, Rebecca and I have been practicing flexing and stretching our 'mussels' for 9 months together at this point. All things considered, this plot twist was merely an inconvenience. We decided that we would spend the first night camping not too far up the trail, and the next day I would pack in as far as I could with Rebecca before needing to turn around and head back to Port Townsend. Rebecca would continue on to Tubal Cain and Buckhorn Lake and spend another night in the forest.
Here's where it got interesting: we decided to camp only a mile from the trailhead because we found a campsite on the Dungeness River that was too beautiful to pass up. Also, we wanted snacks, i.e. the Thai takeout we brought (brilliant idea, thanks Rebecca). This meant, however, that we were 7 miles from Marmot Pass — not a problem, provided we got up early. I was not about to compromise my one day of 'sleeping in', so we had a leisurely slow roll to a state of caffeination and hit the trail at about 9 am. The scenery along the trail got freaky beautiful fast — the higher we climbed, the better it got. We were also tromping along at a good pace. Needless to say, I was hooked. Even though reaching Marmot Pass was a pie-in-the-sky notion, we pressed on.
Not a bad view to wake up to.
One of the many wildflowers we saw, Lilium lancifolium.
The first viewpoint we reached. It only got better.
Eventually, we made it to the summit!
And we still made it back in time to catch the evening puffin cruise.
ZOFIA KNOREK is the Citizen Science Educator and an AmeriCorps Member at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center