Six days in the wilderness. Finding joy—and story ideas—in a trek across Olympic National Park.

Just returned from a late summer hiking adventure with my son Eli, in my favorite place on the planet, Olympic National Park. It was on earlier hikes in Olympic NP that I got the ideas for two of my books, The Gaia Wars and Exodus 2022. Ideas seemed to spring out of the rocks on this hike, as well, and I made lots of notes along the way.

On this trip, we traveled from the North fork Skokomish (known as The Staircase) to Lake Valkyrie, crossing a few mountain passes along the way. At one point, as I was grumbling about the seemingly endless switchbacks up to a pass, Eli (who hikes and climbs like a mountain goat) said "I like switchbacks. Every turn gives you the chance to see something different." I thought that was a cool thing for an 18-year-old to say and, as I thought more about it, a great motto for life in general.


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