AS GOODWILL AMBASSADORS of the tourist industry, it is our civic duty to share our precious local knowledge of the Olympic Peninsula with our foreign visitors in a manner that celebrates the diversity of our rich heritage and the promise of our vibrant future.
That is until the tourist asks a question such as “Why do loggers wear suspenders?”
No kidding, this is an actual tourist question asked just last week — triggering a regrettable response revealing a relapse in my anger management program.
Other tourists ask, “Where is the rainforest?” when they are standing in the middle of it.
Others come looking for treasure.
I blame the media.
With the get rich quick gold mining shows on TV, tourists want to know if they can find gold in the Olympics.
This country was gone through like a fine-toothed comb in the 1800s by the same breed of prospectors that started gold rushes all over North America.
If there were gold here, they’d have found it by now.
Other tourists want to know where they can go off into the woods and build a log cabin.
They are more than 100 years too late.
The Homestead Act of 1862 made it legal to settle this land just as soon as it could be stolen from the Indians who were, by the way, unable to homestead their own land because they were not U.S. citizens at the time.
Many European homesteaders found it more profitable to sell their homestead to a timber company or abandon the land entirely rather than try to eke out a living on a stump ranch.
When homesteading was abolished, the state took over the unclaimed land that was left uninhabited.
Washington is a very liberal state.
Here, you can smoke marijuana and marry your gay buddy, but you cannot get out of your car on public land without a $35 permit, the hated Discover Pass.
You want to build a log cabin in the woods?
Forget it, they don’t sell a permit for that.
By far the most popular tourist question has to be, “How do I find Bigfoot?”
This is a silly question because people are just not smart enough to find Bigfoot.
We live in a culture where people are so stupid they have to put warning labels on practically everything telling us not to put fishhooks in our mouth, our head in a bucket and gasoline is flammable.
Humans out in the woods are even dumber than that.
The Olympic National Park website, www.myolympicpark.com, warns tourists of the dangers of taking pictures in stupid places such as on top of cliffs and on beach logs at high tide when the surf is up.
One of the greatest stupid human tricks that did not result in a fatality happened in May 2016, when a 30-year-old man walked into the middle of the Sol Duc River to climb on a boulder just above the iconic Sol Duc Falls.
He slipped and fell 70 feet down two sets of waterfalls and miraculously survived.
An onlooker captured the entire scene on video. No doubt it was an effort to document just how stupid humans are.
So, forget about trying to find Bigfoot.
Humans are simply not equipped with the appropriate vibrational frequency.
Bigfoot has to find you. How you do this is a matter of some debate.
It’s when you actually see a Sasquatch that the trouble starts.
Tune in next week for The Seven Stages of a Sasquatch Sighting.
Oh, and by the way, why do loggers wear suspenders?
To keep their pants up, of course.
Pat Neal is a Hoh River fishing guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Wednesday.
He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via patneal [email protected]