In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau
Welcome to the Jungle
We wake up at 6.30am to pastel-colored skies in dove grey, milk coffee and ivory white. The morning light turns the wet part of the beach into a shiny mirror, in which the colors flow into each other like distorted schemes. A while goes by until we have breakfast, pick up the last things from the sand and the driftwood pieces, and have packed everything properly again, and then we are back on track.
The fine white sand morphs into a soft earthen path, the vastness of the beach condenses into old coastal rainforest, trees covered with thick stair moss, Skunk Cabbage. Ferns lead through the forest like a green Milky Way.
We stop at a bridge and split up. Part of the group stays behind to guard the backpacks. The others leave the path towards a piece of land that we will measure.
At first glance, some parts of the forest seem impenetrable, but with a practiced eye and sometimes some use of force, it’s usually possible to get through somewhere.
It’s worth it to take a closer look, not only to find a way through but also to see all of the things that have made it their mission to prevent us from progressing further.
You can see mosses reminiscent of feathers, thin fir branches, miniature palms and again and again centimeter-thick purple-green upholstery that – even through thick soles – feels like a soft sofa after a hard day’s work. In between, lichens that look as if they have been made from tiny ice crystals with great effort.
Further up we are greeted by Devils Cups with thorny branches and salal bushes with fragile white flower grapes. Surprises await us here and there: a suddenly emerging waterhole, an old thick moss-covered trunk that crumbles when we step on it or hidden roots that make us stumble.
After we have finally made our way, the real work begins. The corners of the forest area must be marked and the diameters of the trees within it must be measured. Soon it sounds as if we are only communicating via code: “Red Cedar, twenty-two point five” or “Dave! Hemlock fifty-five point seven”.
After we successfully complete our mission, strengthened by Cliffbars, we make our way back through the thicket.