1.16.19

Gianna and I have lived in Port Angeles for 14 months now—just a short walk from downtown. I love it here. Most mornings I wake up, make some coffee, and step out for a walk. Immediately I’m greeted by cawing seagulls, and the smell of saltwater. I stroll to the stairs that lead downtown and take in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Each morning, its a little bit different, and a little bit of awe sparks inside me.

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Some mornings I bring my camera, like this morning here. I love the black and white, I feel it captures the darkness that this place holds. Figuratively, and literally.

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Port Angeles was carved out of the dense wooded wilderness that lined the shores. Then, sluiced with fill before the bluffs to create the downtown that now has art attributed to the old days, murals, and small businesses tucked around each nook and cranny. There’s a lot to entertain one with a camera and little curiosity.

I’m going to miss morning walks with my camera here, as Gianna and I have decided to head out of the Peninsula for the time being. Our last day in our house is January 31st. Then we’re heading into the great unknown. I try and listen to where I’m being pulled, or sent by the universe. I believe I was sent to Port Angeles for a while to work, save money, and create my first book, “Why Do You Exist?”

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In my book I declare that I exist to teach. I figure that if I’m going to teach anything I better go learn a thing or two about this big bad world we live in. So I’m listening to where I’m being pulled next and taking off on another adventure...yewwww! Gianna and I are on the edge of it now, and the stoke is high.

7.1.18

Crawled out of bed at 5 am, honored to be taken out on the Klatawa.

For our friend Dustin, its daily work. For Gianna and myself, we felt like fish out of water as the currents from the Strait of Juan De Fuca worked us around.

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3.10.18

If you come to visit in Port Angeles, I’ll usually start by trying to convince you it’s a good idea to swim in the Strait of Juan De Fuca. Luckily, it was pretty easy to convince Augie Schield and Nik Lampard to jump into the 48 degree water.

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We spent four years together skiing the Montucky cold smoke before I went on my solo surfing hiatus. Port Angeles is very different from Bozeman, around a third of the population with no large college near by. A small maritime town that had its boom, and bust from the hay days of logging and fishing. While the young outdoor enthusiast exists here, its not nearly as common as in Bozeman. Without all the young males full of piss and vineager like myself, it felt amazing to have Augie, and Nik around!

After the cold water dip we suited up and headed from sea level, to ski level in 17 miles.

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We put the ole’ boots on as fast as we could to lay waste to the fresh snow of the Olympic Mountains. Hiking up my brain aflame with wonder at the mere existence of this place. Augie and Niks facial expressions were full of the same thoughts as my own. My wrist still wasn't fully healed, so I was taking it easy for the day. I was pointing my friends in the right direction, and snapping photos. Here's Nik and Augie hitting some drops on their first run.

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Once you hit the bottom, you pop your thumb up and hitch a ride back to the top to do it all over again.

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After a couple road laps you hike up to the top and descended into the back side. Here, you will find an old poma lift that actually pulls you right to the top.

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On the slide up to the top, Nik noticed a perfect spot to build a booter. The snow was light, and the air was crisp, now March, everything was filled in and it was on. Plenty of air time was found.

3.10.18, one of the better ski days of my life, and I didn’t even ski that much. I just watched my friends have the time of their life on a patch of snow tucked off in the middle of nowhere.

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3.6.18

My phone bursts with noise at 5:30 AM. Still dark, I stand cold in my kitchen making coffee. Then, I stare into my computer editing photos for four hours straight from my bike trip I did this summer. 10 o'clock rolls around and I smile at a text from a friend living outside Seattle. He tells me he's coming into the Peninsula with his friend Elly for the day and wants to meet up.

Matt Roebke; always stoked, kind, and handles life with a smile on his face.

Matt Roebke; always stoked, kind, and handles life with a smile on his face.

With a now legitimate excuse to stop working on my project for a while we head out exploring for the afternoon. I tell them to follow me as we drive towards Lake Crescent on Highway 101. I look out my window in wonder at the dense forest as the sun glitters through the trees.

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I smile at the fact that it's March 6th, 2018 and am free to show Matt and his friend Elly some spots in the Peninsula. I smile at how blessed I am to not be at work right now. I drift off to how my life has worked out over the past 5 months:

I moved to Port Angeles in November and started working at Mervin Manufacturing making snowboards 40 hours a week. With spring came seasonal work for those in the field of environmental science, such as myself. So, I applied all over the place to get out of a factory and back outside working with the environment. After tens of cover letters and resumes later, I was able to land a position with the North Olympic Salmon Coalition starting March 21st. I accepted the position and then broke my wrist only a couple hours later. Because my job at Mervin was based entirely off hand motions, I was unable to work. I was bummed. Yet, I was stoked to not have to work. So, the entire month of March was now free to do as I pleased.

I come back to place as I enter into the corridor of highway 101 and Lake Crescent. We pull over at the first turn out and take a moment to feel the sun on our faces, to just be present in the spring air.

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We hop back in our cars and drive to a trailhead that's only a short hike to Marrymere falls. We walk through old growth forest earning ourselves complete peace, tranquility, and serenity. Sounds are muffled by the vegetation gifting us these emotions. It's really like nothing else.

Photo by  Matt Roebke

Photo by Matt Roebke

We arrive at the waterfall stoked to play in the shimmering emerald water.

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Along the way I am shocked to discover that Elly is actually from Iowa. I was born in Iowa, and then moved to Minnesota. Its not often that you find a fellow Iowan out in Washington. We connected over the flat lands of the midwest, corn, and small towns. Elly was full of energy, enthusiasm, and very easy to talk to. This photo sums her up pretty well.

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We hiked out of the falls with Matt and Elly determined for some adrenaline and cold water. Myself still in a cast, behaved while they sent the plunge off some cliffs tucked away along the banks of Lake Crescent.

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I determined the day a success after that. I was eager to return to editing photos while I have all this time off work. I snapped this photo of them right before the final trek back to our cars.

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I said, "see ya later," because good byes are forever. I knew I'd see them again. I hopped in my car to drive a whopping twenty minutes back to my house. I think you have to be a "out of towner," to fully appreciate this place. I've met many locals who looked at me in disbelief for moving here to just essentially, "be here." They couldn't get why anyone would move to such a sheltered community with "nothing to do." I guess we each define "do," because to me, the things to do here seem limitless.

3.3.18

Gianna woke up and told me she had a dream that all the sea anemones were dead. We didn't want to believe it was real, so we drove to find some. We did. These little guys are still out kicking, but with the current status of our ocean, we both wondered how long they have.

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We also drove out to check out the surf. Gianna's been dying to try out her new surfboard that was custom shaped for her. So she was pretty bummed when we got there and saw that the waves were way to small.

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Currently, I can't surf because I broke my wrist surfing on February 26th.

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It was completely my fault. I was surfing a steep, super quick right, and I hit my drop perfectly, pumped once and set my line. I couldn't believe it was actually happening, I was in the right place, at the right time. As I was streaming down the face, I scooted forward on my surfboard to speed away from the crashing water at my back. I placed my hand into the beautiful turquoise wall and the world fell away. All I could think about was how beautiful the cycling water looked, how amazing it was to be gliding over sand and rocks that were only inches below me. I was completely consumed by the moment. I didn't realize how shallow I was getting, and the wave closed out on me. It slammed me into those rocks I was once just gliding over. I popped up from the water, eyes aflame from a look into eternity, from a look into the belly of a wave straight from the Salish Sea. Once my adrenaline wore out, I noticed an immense pain coming from my wrist. I figured I should stop for  the day. Once home, it swelled up, and started to hurt more. I got an X-Ray, and sure enough, I fractured my Pisiform.

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I've been hurt a lot. Two blown knees, ankles, feet, fingers, etc. And so this time I'm just stoked that I could still get out and walk. Gianna is too.

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We wandered the tide pools, jumped from rock to rock, embraced the simplicity of a morning walk on the coast. The whole time I was thinking how the Olympic Peninsula is so foreign to me, so diverse, unique, and interconnected. Exploring this area for the past couple months have brought me back to my childhood where I would aimlessly wander green spaces of the midwest. Walk over downed trees, flip over rocks for bugs, and be alone with my wonder at the natural world. Its so simple, its something that's overlooked by so many, but for me its tough to beat.

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8.19.17

Gardner, MT

Kory: "And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!"

Augie: "By it and with it and on it and in it," said the Rat. "It's brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It's my world, and I don't want any other. What it hasn't got is not worth having, and what it doesn't know is not worth knowing. Lord! the times we've had together! - The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

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6.19.16

55 degree water on a cold 40 degree night in Hyalite—I went up with my good friend Augie Schield to help him walk a 80-foot slack line across one of the bays. I watched him fall into the water—over and over—slowly shivering ever more frantically with each attempt. I admired his vision, motivation, and will power. He tried his best to calm his muscles but they were too cold to listen.

He reluctantly gave up and frowned when I said, “another night.” He had lost.

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As we started to leave, a gentlemen with a family of five shouted for us—he offered us a spot at their fire. We started talking, warming up and becoming familiar with one another. It didn’t take long for him to sense Augie’s distress and he said, “It doesn’t matter that you didn’t make it across, what does matter is that my kids saw you do it, and that your sense of adventure inspired them. They won’t ever forget you.”

I could feel Augie's energy shift with the new perspective on his failure. He glanced up, smiled at the gentlemen and continued to warm his hands.