DIRT ISSUE 148 – JUNE 2014

Words by Steve Jones. Photos by Steve Jones

There’s not much in it where the bottom left of Canada bumps into top left of the USA, the dividing line is as straight as a die for thousands of miles. This Pacific coastline, bashed around by a strong sea, is one of broken land infiltrated by water, and is very, very wet in so many ways. “We measure our rainfall in feet not inches” says Les Miller, a logger out of Washington state who I met working on his truck in his garage on the side of the 101 north of Aberdeen.

For such a geographically relevant place it’s also a strange one, the vastness of Olympic National Park acting like a mass damper on sound. It’s where Kurt Cobain grew up, where Nirvana was formed. A sign was put up in the town after his death “Welcome to Aberdeen – Come as you are”… we didn’t hang around.

The road north is where we met Les and his mate Ed Brown. We talked trees, timber, lorries and the problems facing loggers in this area, the pressures being placed by ‘environmentalists’ wanting to ban felling. He showed us around the old mobile library his dad ran for several years selling car parts.

We drove a little further north before hanging a big left to hit the Pacific proper. It’s a place I’ve always been in awe of. Why I don’t know. Maybe it’s the aura that emanates when the swirl of conifer meets the airborne effervescence of the ocean, there’s constant feeling of dialogue between land and sea. Today the Pacific waters tumble in relieved, now resting from their own battle way out west, the larch stand on tip toe taking in some rare sunlight. To and fro.

The road takes us down to the sea proper at La Push, an Indian reservation with a big population, but we see hardly anyone and the beach is deserted. Further north at the topmost point of this big country the deep water swirls around Cape Flattery, it’s mesmerizing and scary. Best known recently as the location for the Twilight series of films the place clearly has an attraction for tourists, but it is ‘king size weird’ in nearly every respect, almost uncomfortable in its notoriety. It was good to get out of Dodge and head back west for some sense and no sense in the town of Bellingham.

It’s a cool town, the kind of town any mountainbiker would be happy to live in. It has all the key elements – great trails, great bars, good food and quick access to bigger terrain over the border in British Columbia, but Bellingham comes without being swamped by tourists every day of the year. It also has two major bike companies based there in Kona and Transition.>>



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