Book: GO WEST OLD MAN by Max Barnet and Hugh Aaron (Editor)categories: Book, Father, Son, The United States, Crossing the Continent, Values, Travel
Hugh Aaronabout this book: Day Ten - Olympic Peninsula, Washington: The long road to the Hoh rain forest passes through more scenes of forest destruction. The Hoh itself is a marvel of 250 foot spruces, hemlocks, Douglas firs, cedars, and maples (in sunny places) acquire a magnitude attained nowhere else. Under the dense canopy the forest light is suffused, the air naturally cooled (nature's air-conditioning) and sweetly pine scented. A mass of ferns blankets the forest floor. The extended limbs of maples, stretching like gnarled beggars' arms, are shrouded in green moss. In the Hoh it rains 140 inches a year, creating an unimaginable place.
While taking the half-hour hike (longer ones are possible) through the primeval reservation, I tell Danny of my long persistent wish to visit this peninsula. On this path I have found what I came for. Feeling lightheaded and without substance as within a dream, I am bowled over by the fantasy forest.
"So what do you think of the place, now that you're here?" Danny asks on the way out.
"It all depends. Wherever man is, I see devastation. But where he isn't, where he' s kept away, it's as impressive and beautiful as I expected. The clear cutting saddens me."
"Still we need the resources," Danny argues. "Where else can we find this kind of lumber, especially for making shingles?"
"Don' t get me wrong. I agree that people are important and we must use what the land provides in order to survive, but only temporarily. Future generations will also need the earth' s yield, so let's replant and restore, yes, even improve. And let each generation during its tenure bear the cost of restoration by including it in the price of things." Danny listens and nods.
South of the Hoh on 101 along the western side of the peninsula, the road tunnels through a towering corridor of thick hemlocks. It's a road through an eternal ancient forest, a road through forever. We stop for lunch at a highway restaurant that overlooks the Pacific, and eat fried oysters, tender and fresh. Unhappily forsaking the bewitching peninsula, we move on, and soon enter a flat, dull countryside that evolves into the blighted outlying streets of a commercial, industrial metropolitan area.
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