Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Olympus Island- WTF!! The Olympic Peninsula is an Island??

Signs Don't Lie: Olympus Island is real!!

After a long, hilly bike ride the other day, I decided to stop at Black Lake, take in the sights, and above all, rest my burning quads. I am not really a biker and the heat of the day was getting to me, so I took a break. Obviously I was exhausted, as my eyes tried to convince me I had just read a sign that claimed the Olympic Peninsula was really actually an Island called Olympus Island. I scoffed to myself, grabbed one of the 3 cameras I always carry and snapped a picture. I hoped this picture would appear empty as I loaded the SD card into my computer, a dehydrated hallucination about the Olympic Peninsula. Those don’t happen often, but I figured that anything was possible. Once my Mac digested the information on the SD card, I was baffled that the mirage of a sign I saw was real. The sign, simple enough, reads as follows “You are Now Entering Olympus Island (6,667 Sq. Mi) West via- Black Lake to Black River to Chehalis River to the Ocean. North via Capitol Lake to Puget Sound to Strait of Juan De Fuca to the Ocean.”

This is what Olympus Island looks like!
                Not going to lie, but this sh*t blew my mind. Had I been on an island the whole time, just thinking it was a peninsula? Had all the books, maps, signs, people and history been incorrect? Above all other questions, I was stumped with wondering “is the Olympic Peninsula really an island?” Not believing signs, I decided to jump on Google Maps and look at this for myself. At first, I saw no way that this could be true. Land was connecting at all the places that it should. However, looking even closer, I realized that from Black Lake, there is an accessible waterway all the way to Grays Harbor. Sure, the first mile out of Black Lake looks like marshland and a bog, but technically, still water. (Right?) From there it connects down near Littlerock and Rochester. From here, a straight shot down river until you hit Grays Harbor and on to the Ocean. I suppose if one felt so inclined, they could travel this whole stretch by boat! Now, while going west seemed to help the idea of an Island is a reality, the way North becomes a bit more imaginary. North of Black Lake in Olympia, it is a bit harder to stretch an irrigation ditch as a passable waterway, but it appears as if this was a natural waterway before the area was built up. In fact, if you follow the trees and look next to the railroad tracks that lead to Capitol Lake, a small creek is visible in breaks of the trees. Without much research, I was shocked to realize that the Peninsula is actually an Island!

Sunny Day at Black Lake
Where Olympus Island hits the Puget Sound
                Interestingly, if you search online for this, there are no articles, no links, no Wikipedia page and no twitter account for Olympus Island in Washington. Olympus Island was never a popular idea, never had any press and aside from a small sign overgrown with trees next to a bridge, the world would never know that the Peninsula we love so much is actually an island! Now, just for fun, when people talk about the Olympic Peninsula, you can be a smarty pants and tell that that technically, it is an island, named after the tallest peak on the Island, Mt. Olympus. The idea Olympus Island is probably going to eventually fade away from all memory, like the paint on the sign.  Like the island itself, we can keep it living with stories and education.

                For more information on Olympus Island, please call Exotic Hikes today @(360)350-8938, or drop us an email at exotichikes@gmail.com. Also, you can hit us up on twitter @ExoticHikes. (please hit us up on twitter...we like it...a lot!)

Until next time, spread this message to friends, family members and random dudes on the bus.

See you on the trail,
Douglas Scott
Exotic Hikes