Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hidden Treasures

This has been a lazy, stay at home kind of day.  Gene and I both got a couple of household chores done as well as spending a little time on the computer and with our books.

We did, however, go for one outing.  I needed a couple things from the grocery, so we went into the tiny community of Packwood (about 8 miles east of our campground).  We have driven through Packwood several times since it is in the direction most convenient for us to enter the National Park.  It is obvious that the economy of Packwood is suffering.  It seems to have had only two major industries--logging and tourism.  The lumber mill has shut down.  Packwood may have at one time considered itself the gateway to Mt. Rainier.  It is a convenient location to enter the park at Ohanapecosh or at Stevens Canyon.  It’s not the most convenient location for Sunrise or White River.  Most people visiting the park want to go to Paradise anyway, and Packwood is no where near that entrance.  Given the fact that the road to Sunrise was closed last year and Stevens Canyon Road (which does after an hour get to Paradise) only just opened this week, Packwood is definitely not the gateway to the Park any longer, if it ever was.  There are still a couple hotel which seem to be holding their own, but most are dead or dying.  Many, many businesses are closed or have “for sale” signs out front.  It is sad.

However, we managed to find a gem today.  White Pass Sporting Hut is located a couple doors down from the grocery.  We’ve seen it often and every time say, “we need to go in there”.  Today we did.  What a treasure!  It’s a small store, a hut really, and didn’t have a whole lot of anything.  There were a few items for bicyclists, a few for hikers, a little athletic clothing.  More than anything they had skiing and mountaineering equipment, both for sale and for rent.  That makes sense since this is a big skiing and mountaineering area.  We didn’t find anything we wanted to buy; not even the store--it was for sale, too.  However, a collector’s museum seemed to be hanging from the walls.  Dave, the owner, had a tremendous collection of Beatle photographs and other Beatle memorabilia.  On another wall I found about 12 Wheaties boxes.  But by far my favorite were the old newspapers.  Laminated for their protection were perhaps 30 pages from area newspapers with headlines ranging from the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens, the inauguration of Gerald Ford, Nixon’s resignation, LBJ’s death and other breaking news events spanning the past 50 years.  I liked it because I remembered most of it--all except the Eisenhower stuff.  We spent more time looking at the collections than at the merchandise.  What fun and who would have known.

Thinking we might find another hidden treasure, we stopped in at the Presbyterian Thrift Store.  This shop didn’t turn out to be very special.  Mostly, it was dusky and smelled of mold.  It was for sale, too, by the way, but we came away with only a couple books for the great price of thirty cents each.  A real bargain, but I wouldn’t call it a treasure.

Our last stop was at a roadside vegetable stand where we got fresh corn and peaches.  Yum, Yum.

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