Thursday, September 12, 2013

Week 2, Part 1: Hood River, Oregon to Mats Mats Bay, Washington

We've just landed in Bozeman, Montana, after a week packed with wonderful travels and visits with friends and family. We'll be hunkering down here in an Airbnb room for three nights and look forward to enjoying picnicking in the backyard under a cherry tree and checking out downtown Bozeman as well as the smaller town of Livingston, just fifteen minutes away. Thundershowers are expected the next two days, a welcome reprieve from the unseasonable heat that has followed us on this journey. We experienced so much in the last week, that I'll have to write this week in three blog posts, the other two will come tomorrow. Here's Hood River and Mats Mats Bay:

Last notes on Hood River: 

Tomatoes from the Hood River Farmer's Market

Potato plants at the Klahre House garden

My sister, Maya Trook, at the Klahre House garden

On the last full day at my sister Maya's house in Mosier, Oregon, I had the chance to spend an hour with her at her job. She works as a teacher and runs garden classes for the Klahre House School in Oregon, a program for at-risk youth. Klahre House is an alternative school, where youth from all over the state can come as an alternative to a detention facility. They are placed with specially trained foster parents in the Hood River area and spend their days at Klahre House, in classes of about six students each, learning typical curriculum taught by progressive teachers and attending process groups. I was there for a garden class, which started with each of the students, the two teachers, as well as me, the visitor, doing a check in about how we were doing, feeling, and what our goals were for the day. Then we drove the van to the two garden plots to introduce these outdoor classrooms to the new students and to harvest some of the crops the students had planted the previous term. I heard new students saying, "I think I'm going to like this class." I saw the pride in the seasoned students showing off and harvesting their tomatoes, red bell peppers, and corn. I watched the wonder as my sister started stripping corn and and eating it raw in the garden. The students followed suit. I watched my sister be able to bring the group to silence when they were excitedly talking and joking with each other by simply asking for, "A moment of silence, please." I felt moved and inspired by the whole thing. 

I left Klahre House to drive up to Sakura Ridge, a bed and breakfast and pear and sheep farm:

I met John and Deanna Joyer, owners and managers of the operation. John took me on a tour of the lodge and showed me the grounds, introducing me to his sheep. A lovely couple and beautiful location, I plan to go back to Sakura Ridge at another time to film a webisode for Sweetie Pie on the Farm. 

On Saturday at noon, we drove away, full and rested, with every intention of returning to Hood River sometime over the next year. 

Mats Mats Bay

Our next stop was to Larry's cousin's house in Vancouver, Washington, where we took a driving break on our way to the Olympic Peninsula and sat and visited with his cousin Cory and her husband, Steve. Then we started up to Mats Mats Bay, which ended up taking us far longer then we expected. The green woods grew darker and we winded our way down a gravel road to a large metal barn, where a theater colleague from high school, Tami, and her husband  John live, right on the water, with their lively and lovely eight year old daughter and spunky Weimaraner dog. 

We've been sleeping a lot on this trip, as traveling is proving more exhausting than we anticipated, so we went to bed early that evening, after touring their house and being tucked into a sweet little studio apartment with a loft area built out in a corner of the barn. Larry said, of our quiet, private and unusual accommodations, "I've never seen anything like this," in a delighted tone of voice. And we continued our discussion of how this trip is helping us re-imagine ways to live. We slept long through the quiet, dark night. 

In the morning, Larry didn't even realize he was looking at the bay because the air was so still that the dense trees were reflected in the water, doubling the foliage. Before we knew it, we ran into John, and he suggested if we hurry we could beat the tide and take the kayak out. He quickly brought us lifejackets, baled out the kayak, and pointed us toward the channel, and our determination to hole up and nap all day was quickly and gladly deferred by our short kayak voyage. We saw loads of Great Blue Herons, a Kingfisher, and, when we got to the mouth of the Puget Sound, a seal and some porpoise--quite a good outing for an hour long trip. Later, we walked the dog around the neighborhood and drove into my favorite town in the country, Port Townsend, for a quick tour at dusk, before coming back to Mats Mats for another long rest before heading out in the morning. It was too short a stay, and we definitely felt, as John had warned, that the rest of our trip would be downhill from there. The quiet, the magic, the unusual but perfect quarters, and the wonderful hosts. We love the Olympic Peninsula! 

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