By Mary Morgan, Membership Assistant
My favorite characters were of the animal variety. Sea otters abound in this area, and display a great deal of curiosity towards those they encounter. This mom and pup were alert and wary, but not too concerned.
The most exciting encounter occurred during the middle of the night. As we were sleeping in our tent, a sound awoke us from the beach. Phil checked it out, no sign of problems. As we tried to go back to sleep, a wolf began howling, less than 100 yards from the tent. Properly alert, we remarked on how lucky we felt to at least hear a wolf! Again we attempted to go back to sleep. Just as I started to drift off, a low growl came from just outside the tent. After a brief scream on my part, Phil bolted awake, found his headlamp and checked outside the tent door. Less than twelve feet away, a wolf was strolling by, looking slightly disgusted at the attention. Needless to say, it took a long time to go to sleep!
We obviously love the outdoors – it has been an important part of our lives for the past 30 years.
Phil and I first came to the Methow in the early 80’s, drawn by the terrain. We were cross-country skiers, looking for beautiful places to ski. We loved to wander in untracked snow on the Methow hills. We spent our honeymoon at
in 1982, and saw a cougar in a parking lot at a trailhead that later became part of Sun Mountain . By 1994, we had bought “recreational property”. By 2001 we were building a cabin. And by 2007, we had moved here permanently. I tell people we came for the recreation, we bought property for the beauty, but we moved here for the community. Pine Forest
But as I was traveling through the waters off the coast of
Vancouver Island, I was reminded of what that love of place is all about. One of my favorite memories of our recent trip was the ride back in a boat provided by a member of the local native band. LeRoy is probably in his early 20’s, grew up in Kyuquot, a village on the west coast of Vancouver Island that is only accessible by floatplane or boat. His dad runs a water taxi service that takes kayakers out to the more remote Islands.
As we headed back to the dock where our car was located, LeRoy mentioned that there were a lot of humpback whales in the area. Phil said he would love to get some photos if we encountered more whales. LeRoy grinned and said, “I think we can do that!”
Soon he spotted spouts in the distance down a side channel. LeRoy pointed and said we could go around the
Island on our way back to the dock, if Phil wanted photos. We quickly agreed. As we approached the whales, LeRoy throttled back, and drifted closer. We watched this wonderful humpback whale surface, spout…. surface, spout…. surface, spout. And then he lifted his tail high, and plunged deeply into the water. LeRoy and I turned to each other with huge grins on our faces. I said “magical”! And he said “yes”!!! His connection to his place was so real I could feel it. I’m sure he’s seen humpback whales countless times in his life, but it is always magical for him, and he loved sharing it with me.
I love the Methow. It is the home of my heart. I wasn’t born here, but I chose this place because of the huge connection I feel to it. That is why I work at the Methow Conservancy. My work helps keep this place the magical home that I have found. What I do isn’t fancy – but it is a small part of what allows the Conservancy to keep the Valley the home I love.
I love going away, but I love coming home the most!
Mary Morgan wanders into the Methow Conservancy office on Mondays to process donations, send out acknowledgments to our many donors and help with the other tasks that keep an office running. The rest of the time she is playing with her husband Phil, dog Luke and backpacking with friends in the Pasayten.