Postcards From the Wilderness

View from near Appleton Pass in 2011

I got back yesterday from a short (annual) backpacking trip to the Olympic National Wilderness. I have tried each year to recreate a 1995 experience of visiting the Olympic Mountains, specifically the Boulder Creek watershed and Appleton Pass. This year, like the last two, the quickest way to the Pass was blocked by the ongoing Elwha Dam removal project, the biggest of its kind in North America. Maybe I was drawn there for the hot springs, or for the fact that it is an incredibly sacred place according to the native Elwha /Klallam people. (See this recent article.) I have had many remarkable experiences there, including an unexpected view from the air in September 2000.

Wednesday I got into the woods carrying 40 pounds, which proved to be too much for my old body. I’m going to try to cut that in half before my next backpacking adventure. But I found a nice spot by where Lena Creek empties into Lena Lake and made my camp. Here are some of the photos from the trip, the first three outside the park, a place that inspired a poem on a trip my oldest daughter Rebecca and I took in I think 1995.

Hamma Hamma River

Also outside the park, a nod to the 70s radical American Indian Movement

Lena Lake

A perfect huckleberry bush




And could I stop writing postcards even in the woods? No I could not stop writing postcards in the woods:

502. This Continuing Roar (For Michael McClure)

503. Below The Brothers (For Gary Snyder)

About Splabman

SPLAB and Cascadia Poetry Festival founder Paul E Nelson wrote American Sentences (Apprentice House, 2015), Organic Poetry (VDM Verlag, Germany, 2008), a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, Washington, A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, 2010) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (Lumme, Brazil, 2013). Founder of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, in 26 years of radio he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, Wanda Coleman, Brenda Hillman, George Bowering, Joanne Kyger, Jerome Rothenberg & others, including many Cascadia poets. He lives in Seattle and writes at least one American Sentence every day. Co-Editor of Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia, he is in year five of a twenty year Cascadia Bioregional Cultural Investigation. (Oct 12-15, 2017, Tacoma, WA)
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2 Responses to Postcards From the Wilderness

  1. kristin says:

    Looks like an amazing place to backpack.

  2. Splabman says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Olympic Mountains. Soon I will be reunited with the Olympic Hot Springs and will get a soak. Even if I must go in November. I have gotten a soak there in every season, with snow on the ground or in August heat. Wonderful. Thanks for reading.

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