A long trek left us worn yet exhilarated, still ready to learn and experience the wonders of land. Over 60,000 unique plants and a hive of bustling bees helped our hearty crew to understand the mutual, everlasting, and complex relationships shared between us all.
Our day started early. We fortified ourselves with hearty bowls of oatmeal and granola in preparation for the longest hiking day of the pilgrimage: seven miles on the Larry Scott Memorial Trail, from Port Townsend to Adelma Beach. Katharine blessed each pilgrim at the trailhead and urged us to notice the land and the beauty around us.
And we certainly did. Blackberries and crabapples lined the trail. Birds twittered overhead. Our path wound through fog, woods, and flowering fields—and also passed driveways, a few gravel parking lots, and a paper mill. About halfway through our hike, we noticed two signs in quick succession: one encouraged travelers to show respectful trail etiquette, the other memorialized “a good neighbor.” On the Larry Scott Trail, which itself was once a railroad, nature and human development coexist.
Seven miles later, the amazing cooks of St. Andrew’s House provided lunch. We ate and recovered beside Discovery Bay (with the Olympic Mountains as a perfect backdrop) before journeying onward to St. Luke’s, Sequim—our third waystation. The church welcomed us with open arms. They provided a pasta dinner, dessert, and plenty of hope and encouragement.
The second half of the day introduced us to three experts:
1) Botanist Dave Allen showed us his work at the Olympic National Park’s Matt Albright Native Plant Center. Dave and his team grow thousands and thousands of native plants to help restore damaged parts of the Park to their natural state. One of their best-known projects is the Elwha River restoration. The park recently removed two dams in order to restore habitats for salmon and other wildlife, and the Native Plant Center has helped make a quick, authentic recovery possible.
2) Beekeeper Mark Urnes of the North Olympic Peninsula Beekeeping Association explained the history and importance of local honeybees. He showed us a hive contained in plexiglass—complete with a queen—and passed around a large chunk of honeycomb. The samples of fresh honey we tasted gave me a new culinary standard. Grocery store honey can’t even compete.
3) Brian Sellers-Petersen, the diocese’s Missioner for Agrarian Ministry, gave a short presentation on community gardens. Churches, local communities, back yards—all can have their own garden. Brian told us about several church gardens throughout the diocese. Some sell their produce to support outreach ministries, others give their produce to food banks, and others use the garden to a way to nourish their parish community. If your church has a community garden, please leave a comment below; we’d love to refine our ideas for bringing these lessons back home with us. Ideas like this one:
After seeing not only the community garden, but also the native plant sanctuary, I feel inspired to foster such an environment at my own home. Seeing proof of how interconnected everything on our planet is will hopefully serve as a good motivator for me and my family to start doing our part in creating a better future for our planet. I hope that I can manage to create a sanctuary that has even a fraction of the beauty and regenerative qualities of that the places I’ve been blessed to visit.
To wrap up the day, we showered. Merciful showers. After three days of kayaking and hiking, our noses were ready for it. The YMCA across the street from St. Luke’s gifted all our pilgrims with free showers—the only ones we’ll get all trip. We’re ready for the second half, though; Brian Sellers-Petersen stocked each van with a bushel of fresh lavender.