Looking across Lake Crescent from Fairholm beach. The docks won’t be put into the water until late spring. (Zorina Barker/for Peninsula Daily News)

Looking across Lake Crescent from Fairholm beach. The docks won’t be put into the water until late spring. (Zorina Barker/for Peninsula Daily News)

WEST END NEIGHBOR: Spring has sprung on the West End

THERE IS A Bigfoot crossing sign nailed to a deciduous tree on the shore of Lake Crescent. It’s best seen as one drives westbound on U.S. Highway 101.

Due to this year’s road rehabilitation work resuming on the highway last week, traffic might be slowed down enough for more people to notice it, though it’s been there for longer than a year.

For people of the West End who regularly travel to Port Angeles and east, the roadwork is a harbinger of spring.

A trip that used to take 45 minutes now routinely runs more than an hour. Most will be glad when the work is over because this is the last of three years’ worth of seasonal work.

The recent sunshine has brought people out into their gardens, some with trowels and some with backhoes. Thriftway has begun filling their outdoor store space with temptations for those with green thumbs.

Preparations have begun for Rainfest 2019, another annual spring event for the West End.

As it has in the past, this arts festival will span two weekends, April 19 and 20 and then April 26-28. The first weekend boasts a poetry slam Friday evening at Blakeslee’s Bar and Grill, 1222 S. Forks Ave.

There is also the Kids’ Umbrella decorating and parade April 20 as well as a coastal beach clean up.

The second weekend has quilt and art shows at the Forks High School gym and the Rainforest Arts Center, respectively.

The Forks branch of the North Olympic Library System is hosting a book sale for the people who like old-fashioned page turning. April 27 is the annual dance, also at the arts center.

Loose Gravel will be supplying the toe-tapping live music.

As for an event unique to 2019, the dedication ceremony for the new flag pole in Tillicum Park will be happening at 11 a.m. April 27.

Out in the forest, folks are cutting firewood from the winter storms.

All types of trucks drive down the highway heaped with fire wood, the orange bodies of chainsaws poking out of the wood.

For a lot of West End folks, firewood is the main heat source in the home and one can never start too early stockpiling the wood for next year.

Spring break is upon Quillayute Valley School District and the kids certainly aren’t complaining.

Dogs are shedding, lambs frolic in the sunshine and chicks are being raised under heat lamps.

Robins are bouncing around looking for worms and the vine maple is getting its long reddish runners of new growth.

It’s nice to see the spring return after the late-winter snows.

There is plenty to look forward to before next winter when U.S. Highway 101 roadwork is finally done for the time being.


Zorina Barker has lived on the West End for most of her life. She is married to a Forks native who works in the timber industry. Both of her kids have been home-schooled in the wilds of the Sol Duc Valley. She can be reached at 360-461-7928 or [email protected]

West End Neighbor appears in the PDN every other Tuesday.

Her next column will be April 16.

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