Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pictures of the Hoh Rainforest and my "Magic Eight ball" day

It turns out that driving hours through winding mountain forest roads, then spending many hours on trails ending with a face plant which has left bruises on about 20% of my legs SO far: that kind of day turns my autonomic system into a magic eight ball. So I get up and say (no joke), “I think I may be stronger than last week.... maybe this exercise is a restart.” Followed almost immediately by my passing out.

I go downtown to Hello Kitty store. Followed by passing out. Let’s shake the eight ball and see what it says? It says you feel great! And I did for 25 minutes where I talked to an RN on vacation about the variations of the same disease in presentation before “shaking the magic eight ball” again and got: voice slurring.

I get home (read that as: forcibly abducted by Linda and Cheryl and taken to Cheryl’s house) for lunch and “shake the magic eight ball” and pass out again (I get that one a LOT). Was it worth it? Well not so much for the Hello Kitty store but YES. I tried all summer to go to the Hoh Rainforest, just the fact that I had a terrible week and kept trying makes it worth it. But several hours of views like this: Yeah, that makes it worth it.

Here is another of the green scenery in the “Hall of Mosses” (What is it with Americans and big names? Canadians just name the forest (or giant stretch of land – The Shield) and leave it at that – I am worried that all new forests in the USA will now be Forest Liberty and Freedom! Or The Operation Amaze and Astound National Park).

And to prove that I was at the Hoh, here I am in the requisite “going under the tree.” The parks service learned that hallowing out a giant redwood or other trees to drive through actually, wait for it, KILLS the tree! So now, as cool as it was in the 50’s to drive through the tree, they have had to top off the tree. So currently you are allowed in the Redwoods National Forest to drive through the giant redwood STUMP. So here, at World Heritage Site they pretty much just leave things where they lay. Which is cool as there was one tree that was 190 feet long, we could see the broken off stump where it fell over. Yup, 190 feet of trail is following this log at tall as we are high (with kids walking the top) and we find out, the top of the tree was taken away to clear the trail. So it was TALLER than 190 feet. Makes my 6 foot 3 inches seem pretty puny, eh?

To give you an idea of what Linda and I did A LOT of the time so I could enjoy this, was doing things like this, for collectively I guess over an hour. The slope I fell down was the one leading back DOWN from the plateau to the trail joining trails together and had about a 20-25 degree slope, so yeah, scary times. But also, it is always those last 300 yards that will get ya!

Anyway, back to today: during lunch the eight ball shakes up and up bubbles, “Blow off the back of the head” which is Brain-go-Boom slang for a type of seizure where it feels like someone is blasting out of the back of my head with a shotgun, which then goes into blinding pain, head and torso shaking and then more stuff which I pass out for, before I wake up blind. My body is so rigid it can’t be moved (like, try to move the arm…break the arm), and then after 45 seconds to 2 minutes it starts again, and again, and again. Oh the fun we have. I was put to bed and slept many hours. Don’t know if I ever got to finish lunch.

But I can’t predict what happens after, and yes, healing from a lot of traumatic injuries probably isn’t helping and all the bruising makes me worried for TIA’s and other minor strokes but was it worth it? Yeah. I saw the Hoh, I did, I went, I lived. It took Cheryl to drive and Linda to help me over the steps and roots and inclines but we did it and saw it together. That means something to me. So does this little guy.
If my health has recovered enough, I will be attempting to cross back on the Ferry tomorrow, where I can download our cameras and get you more pictures. These pictures are from Cheryl, and thanks for letting me use them. Just wanted to give you an idea what was worth trying again and again to see (an incentive to come visit me? See how wheelchair accessible it is!).


kathz said...

I know the cost to you physically must have been enormous but I look at those pictures and say "Wow!" I think I'd choose the beauty of the ranforest despite the risks and the pain. I hope you get back safely and find that the really good bits of the weekend help you get through the week with a sense of achievement and happiness.

It's a lovely squirrel too.

SharonMV said...

yes, I'll go to a forest - maybe soon, maybe this year. And someday a rainforest. If Beth can do it, so can I.


Kita said...

I wanna go!

good for you Beth - you live well.


Lene Andersen said...

Hoh is breathtaking. Absolutely breathtaking. And I agree, absolutely worth it. Living with a capital L.

Squirrel is adorable. Maybe it could hide in your pocket and "emigrate" to Canada?

Sorry you paid so hard. But wow... those photos.

Neil said...

Well, I'd say that forest is worth the trip. Thanks for the photos, Cheryl; I look forward to seeing Beth's photos of it too. And hopefully no photos from Linda of Beth needing the helmsman (I think? The ferry's EMT) on the way home.

Um, you didn't try to convince the young squirrels to try out the Hello Kitty Bondage Hotel, did you?

Love and hugs,

Anonymous said...

It's so green it almost looks like another world. Love the squirrel, too, as always! (Is it just me or does even the grass the squirrel is standing on look unbelievably green?)

I hope the ferry back is uneventful and the trip doesn't take too heavy a toll on your health.


FridaWrites said...

Pretty place. I'm surprised it's so accessible--that's great. Glad you didn't get hurt more than that.

rachelcreative said...

Been staying with my dad for a while as husband was out of the country and then a family thing this weekend so am just catching up on the last week.

So very pleased you got to the rainforest! I remember you talking about how much you wanted to go. Can't wait to see some of your photos.

Perpetual Beginner said...

Hey! The US doesn't have a monopoly on long (sometimes weird) names. Canada is, after all, home to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Drop Park.

The Hoh forest is gorgeous. I'm glad you got such stunning beauty in return for your effort and pain. The price may be high, but it would suck royally to pay it without getting to see Hoh.

Elizabeth McClung said...

I just finished the comments for yesterday so I am catching up!

Kathz: Yes, sometimes it is worth the cost, and having this just a boat ride away makes it worth trying a few times.

I too hope that the memories of the weekend remind me that not everything is about what the medico's want (that being said I have two appointments on Monday and three on Tuesday! Sigh).

SharonMV: I would like you to go to a forest, and soon, and this year (if not under snow) - and if you are going to do the "Anything Beth can do, so can I" - please try to avoid the giant crash - it does hurt, not that it takes away the beauty I saw, but it does hurt.

Kita: Please do so, Come! Well in general I don't live that well but I try to arrange it that when I have the energy, I DO THINGS, so I guess I do live well.

Lene: Thanks, see, even more reason to visit. Got a gift from you, thanks. Not sure about the significance, is it supposed to mean I am a kindly bird who will soon be blasted out of existance?

Squirrel is adorable, I should of thought of seeing if he would 'hop' into my wheelchair pack.

Neil: This is a fraction of the 400+ pictures we as camera whores took. That is why the trail took like 4 hours. Yes, no more blue lipped pictures of me on the way home is my hope.

Hope you had a good weekend too.

yakiikaonastick - First, sent a postcard to you so look in a week for it? Still working on collecting the totalness of your package. Thanks for commenting.

I think it looks very otherworldly too, that's what I like about it - and with the two weeks of no rain, there was no mud to deal with - it was all I could hope for, except for the going splat.

Frida: Well, if you are massively strong AND have usually two AB people to help move you, you can get to the places I did - I had one AB person but am well practiced from Japan and East Sooke to going places that are "not accessible" - this was accessible, but bring a nephew with some energy.

RachelCreative: I am glad you are getting out and about too - oh we both live such busy lives! Haha.

Thanks, I am very pleased I saw the rainforest but right now also a bit let down as I have no goals left, where else can I do, or do? Oh well, something will come up to plan for.

Jiin said...

Hi Elizabeth,

I've just come across your blog, and I must say that I'm very moved by what you've written here. I think you're a very brave person. Thank you for your honesty and openness in sharing your life with us.

Do take care.

Raccoon said...

the pictures remind me of Muir Woods. Lots of trees, some parts very accessible, most parts not... I try to visit there every two or three years. It's another place where they try not to clean up after the trees very much.

I'm so glad you were able to finally get there. Next time be careful when you're going down the path!

Lisa Harney said...

Very beautiful pictures. :)

I hope your recovery time isn't too harsh or too long. Like Kathz says about the cost, and all. :(

I gave you a certified honest blogger award, which, of course, if you don't have the time, inclination, or energy, you shouldn't feel obligated to pass along. However, I wanted to recognize you for your powerful writing.

Lisa Moon said...

I've been thinking a lot about how people can start to become disabled in a way that assumes not pursuing outdoor walks, etc. It's easy to sit in front of our computers, TVs, etc and miss out on the calming and healing effects of relaxing while breathing in that gorgeous air...

I recall walking on a boardwalk through Freeman/King Regional Park here in Greater Victoria; I do believe it's past time to utilize it once again, though I now will wait for my wheels to do this... or I wouldn't get far.

Thank you for doing this; it has given me the spark of looking forward to doing this myself.

yanub said...

Elizabeth, it was totally worth it! I now have that first picture of the Hoh forest on my desktop, it is so beautiful. It must be nearly overwhelming to actually be in the midst of such verdant nature.

While looking at the picture of Linda pushing you over the roots, Pandora started playing "Power of Love." Appropriate, don't you agree?

I hope you will be spending more time in Port Angeles. The weekend seems to have breathed new life into you.

Donimo said...

I can see clearly why it was worth it. Being a true West/Wet Coaster, I have been in some forests as moss-filled as that and I know how incredible it is. The smell, the temperature, the clean sweet and green air and the sounds. Living, indeed. Way to go for getting there.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Lisa, if you need wheels, I have wheels, take the wheels from me - one wheelchair I gave away but I still have one extra if you can control it - it is an electric, I don't have hand dexterity and can't use it - could you?