I learned a new phrase this weekend: “park it out.” As the saying goes, the longest journey begins with the first foot steps. I am now the official steward of the land in Port Angeles. I get some sense of what it was like to be exploring this region since my land has been untouched for almost 100 years, with a few old growth cedars scattered here and there of untold age. A forest this old is fascinating! I have attached some pictures so you can get the flavor, but there are three characteristics that strike me: one, it is really, really green even in the winter; two, it is incredibly rugged; and three, the only noise is from the sounds of my two streams. I really get why Yoda chose the planet he did!
Fortunately, two out of three of these are really easy on the senses. The rugged part, while interesting in a pioneer sort of way, makes for clearing a home site (even for a tiny house) into a fair piece of work. Seems that taking a chainsaw to a couple dozen trees ought to be quick work. Hah! Even though cut at the bottom a full third of them are in some state of partial decline. Yes, the forest is that dense that the trees are being held up by other trees that I intend to keep.
I don’t like cutting any tree down. I have spent my adult life planting them wherever I go since generally there has been a lack of adequate trees. I have a far better appreciation though this weekend why clear cutting is preferred by loggers over selective cutting. Just try to get the tree out of the forest! Even yanking them with my tractor seems to only wedge them tighter.
I also note there is a safety consideration. Thankfully with minimal consequence, yes, that tree did land on my leg. Quickly getting away from a tree stump that you just cut while the rest of the tree decides to bounce through the canopy like a pin ball is simply not possible. You want to feel really lonely? Have your foot trapped under a tree in the forest.
Nonetheless, we persevere! These are the kinds of challenges you should expect if you are going to go carve out your little piece of forest. Who doesn’t want to live in green forest listening to the sounds of running water? You really just thought you could waive your magic wand and make it happen? Would you really want that type of experience even if you could? Ease of accomplishment is not part of the program.
I did meet some of my neighbors, after a fashion. They told me all about the neighborhood female cougar, the litter of bobcats, the bears, coyotes, etc…Then they asked me if I was going to “park out the land.” Turns out I must be the only person on the Olympic Peninsula who had no clue what that meant. Turns out this means convert the rugged natural forest into a somewhat controlled environment that looks more like a park.
You know what, not in this lifetime. I will not be “parking it out.” A few trails yes, but I think it is rather wonderful there are places still left that are relatively unspoiled. I will remove as few trees as possible to build the tiny house, and then we will just enjoy this incredibly green and tranquil place just the way it is