Sunday, June 17, 2007

When the Going Gets Tough ...

... the Tough go Clamming.

Yep, clamming. I've spent the past two days out on the Hood Canal (which is not a canal, but rather a fjord, but never mind), engaged in clamming.

It was a rest well-needed. We've been a little spotty on the postings of late, mainly because the workload has been a bit intense recently. Both the day-job and the freelance job are at critical junctures which need a lot of immediate attention to make sure everything works. As a result, there has been precious little time for anything else in my life.

But not for the past couple days. I took Friday off in my first vacation that did not involve bringing along a computer in over a year, and the Lovely Bride and I bundled into the hybrid, crossed to Bainbridge on the ferry (part-way escorted by Coast Guard craft with machine guns on the bows), crossed Bremerton Peninsula, across the Hood Canal Bride and down the other side to the beaches at Quilcene and Dosewallips.

Friday Quilcene was mostly empty, and it is a rich beach for manila steamers. Pick a spot, dig down an couple inches, and you come up with a handful. Saturday, when the low tide hit around noon, it was a zoo - everyone was clamming, including a lot of first-timers (you can tell they're first-timers - I'm giving clamming advice).

Doswallips was where the geoduck hunters hung out. We went there for horse clams, but were not successful (of course, our strategy was 'dig in a random location and hope for the best'). The geoduck hunters here are akin the deer hunters back in Wisconsin - good old boys that are heavily kitted out, packing post-hole-diggers as opposed to rifles, and clamming buckets with padded lids that can double as camp seats.

Civilization, such at it is on the canal, is clutched tight to the seashore, along a thing band between the high tide line and the National Forest. We ended up walking a lot in the national forest, down Falls Creek Canyon and into the murky wilds around Murhut Falls. They were strange hikes - beautiful, but oddly silent. I don't know if it because of the habitat, the season, or the recently-reported plummeting of bird populations, but the woods were strangely silent with only the occasional call.

But the clamming worked out (at least as far as the manilas). We're allowed to pull off 40 clams per person per day, so that means I have had around 80 clams over the weekend. The first batch we steamed over a primitive propane stove. The second batch made it home and were thrown into the pasta.

But I'm all clammed up for the moment, and ready to go back into the fray.

More later,