Place Where You Live:

Hood Canal, Washington

Looking out on Hood Canal, a 50-mile long saltwater fjord west of Seattle, my eye is drawn first to prominent peaks of the Eastern Olympic Mountains: Constance, Warrior, Buckhorn, Townsend, Jupiter—to name a few. The most dramatic view occurs after a winter storm when the clouds part and the peaks show off their new mantels of ice and snow. On such occasions I am often curled up with a good book knowing that I will soon be out tramping the trails and ridges of these rugged Olympics.

My favorite image of Hood Canal is when banks of wispy clouds hang at different levels on the nearby mountains and foothills. A closer look sometimes reveals a high layer of clouds moving one direction and a low layer moving the opposite. Sometimes we are enveloped in there fog blanket when I have to rely on memory for my views. I would be remiss to not mention the occasional fiery sunset over the mountains, magnified by reflections off the water. Add a fish boat or two ghosting by heading towards the mile-long Hood Canal Floating Bridge completes the scene.

An early visit to the site of our future home overlooking Hood Canal was a shocker: a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine was traveling up the Canal from its home base at Bangor. Shivers literally ran up my back as I realized this dark, cigar-shaped object steaming by was carrying unimaginable destructive power within its launch tubes. Now the passage of subs is almost routine: sometimes two or three a week travels to and from Bangor. With intensified terrorist activities, fleets of military escort vessels now accompany the subs.

Besides subs, mountains and clouds, our view is graced with a variety of wildlife: salmon jumping in season, eagles and herons flying by on unknown missions, ospreys hovering and diving for a meal, porpoises effortlessly gliding along. Four-legged creatures fill out our private zoo: raccoons, squirrels, deer, coyotes, feral dogs, bear, fox and maybe still a cougar or two.

Living on the Canal—what a privilege!