excerpts from

Three Years
on the
Nowhere Road

To a new camp, further downriver

At the end of November, as promised to the rangers, we dismantled and cleaned up the camp. Everyone scattered, most of them leaving the Peninsula for the winter in search of drier climes. Mitch and John had the idea that I was such a greenhorn I couldn’t safely look after myself, and so decided we would all find a new location and build a shelter together. In fact, they were both making plans to get out of the woods as soon as possible, and figured I would come to my senses and leave the woods as well, once the cold rains began in earnest.

They found a new location further downriver, just out of the national park, which meant it was probably on land owned by one of the big logging companies like Weyerhauser or Rayonier. It took us about a day to put up the new shelter, using visqueen and poles from the old shelter. It was right on the river, at the base of a steep slope, and well out of sight of the road. There was a partially hidden place just off the road where Mitch could park his truck. It wasn’t ideal, everything considered, and it would just be a matter of time before we were discovered and booted off, but Mitch figured none of us would be there that long anyway.

Our immediate problem was finding a stove. The cast iron one used in the first camp had finally met its Waterloo, and the county dump had nothing else on offer just then. New stoves weren’t available in Forks. You had to drive to Port Angeles for the nearest dealer, but none of us wanted to lay out the cash for a new one anyway.

Mitch had the solution. He motioned me toward his pickup. “Come on,” he said. “Time for you to meet Robert Lee!”

More excerpts from
Three Years on the Nowhere Road
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Off to the wilderness

A bus from the Twilight Zone

I am picked up, then dumped

On a dark, deserted highway,
the kindness of a stranger

My first ride in a logging truck

Forks, logging capitol of the world

To a camp on the Calawah

Job Interview

Up before dawn, a logger’s breakfast

My first day at the mill

A dip in the river

Working deck

I nearly lose a hand

To a new camp, further downriver

Robert Lee:
the old logger who lived in a box

The Dickey River People

When a barrel stove becomes a cannon

Alone at last

At the outfitters

On Christmas Day, I am flooded out

At the mill, I am promoted to splitter

A scene out of Dr. Zhivago

Settling in for a solitary winter

Encounter with a sasquatch?

Hanshan, the mad hermit poet

Hiking the coastline with a tomcat

A night on a seastack

I join an encampment of friends
on a tributary of the Hoh

Calling on the country estate
of Robert Lee, Esq.

Visiting around the Peninsula
in Robert Lee's 2-gear sedan

A visit to a Makah family on Neah Bay