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  • Ocean Shores: Witness to a whale's last journey

    Mark Woytowich|May 5, 2022

    Last month was my first time driving on the beach. Formerly I was totally against the idea of cars rolling down the Washington coast, based on the principle that rubber tires don't belong on sand. Rubber-soled shoes, now that's another matter. OK, so I've also entertained the argument that salt and sand can't be very good for your car either. Squealing brake pads, clogged air filter, salted chassis, right? Well, never mind. This old dog learns a new trick. Thus I find myself with Linda on a...

  • Rising from the rubble: Impressions of Raymond

    Mark Woytowich|Apr 21, 2022

    Some of my best days are days when I travel. And the best of my traveling days always seem to be those times when I talk to locals and ask them something about the place where they live. I've noticed that if I do this one thing right - that is, engage with the locals - I am "off to the races," as the expression goes, and having the time of my life as I gather all sorts of first-person information about the places I visit. No tourist map or guidebook comes close to this. No guidebook is going to...

  • When trees fall in the forest, plenty land upon the roads

    Mark Woytowich|Apr 7, 2022

    Here comes the seasonal thaw: when winter unlocks and pours into spring. For some of us house dwellers, spring is reduced to words in poems you once read as a kid; "Flower, bloom, warmth, sun," all those English sonnets on heather and yore, sweet Canterbury flavored words. Sadly, these same house dwellers satisfy themselves when Channel 5 shows them two minutes of tulips. Rarely will they go outside to see what spring really is. Too bad for them. For spring will slap your face like a flying...

  • Two different versions of 'covering the spread'

    Mark Woytowich|Mar 24, 2022

    This week, no matter the weather, you need to visit Lake Cushman while the lake water is low. At the far end of the lake, just before the Staircase entrance gate to Olympic National Park, is a small day park that serves as a beach and kayak launch in summer. Bear Gulch is its official name. You'll know it by the restrooms and tumbling creek on the right side, just after you pass the Lake Cushman causeway bridge. This is a beautiful spot in summer, with shallow, sheltered water especially suited...

  • Looking for signs of spring - and a park's location

    Mark Woytowich|Feb 10, 2022

    If you've lived in Mason County most of your life, and most of your life constitutes 60 or 70 years, then get ready to hear the following statement and have it clash with what you know to be true. "Live music, dancing, outdoor dining with fresh local seafood buffet at the Shelton Waterfront Bistro next to Shelton's beautiful Waterfront Park." Really? Beautiful park ... waterfront ... outdoor music and dining ... Shelton? OK, it will be a while. But in less than 10 years, I predict the term...