Used to be. It all used to be in Hoquiam. Now its a shell held together by the hard working people who still call it home. Home in a town that is a shadow of what it once was.
The ships that used to come to take the timber away. The sawmills that ran nonstop. The airport where busy executives flew into town to tend thriving industries.
The railroad that carried the logs to the river where they were pushed downstream to the mill.
The old pilings survive the seasons. As much a part of this river as the tides that come and go each day.
This place where the loggers used to work pulled me in. Again and again I came here.
An older gentleman told me not to bother fishing here. No fish in The Little Hoquiam, at least on the stretch we were staying on. He said studies were done to try and figure out why. Its probably the creosote from the old pilings leaching into the water he said. His words were true. In a month of watching this river every day I never saw an insect light on the water, a fish jump, a frog sliding into the water.
We wanted to take this gentleman with us when we left. He sat outside with us in the evening when we had a fire. A beautiful, intelligent man living in his trailer with his three cats. His daughter lives in town. She and the kids came by each day to see him. Still he always talked about leaving this place. When we were getting the trailer ready to leave he came outside and told us he was going to miss us. We were the best neighbors he had ever had he said. Bruce told me later that when he shook his hand it seemed he didn’t want to let it go.
One morning this lone egret rested here for a little while.
Another morning a group of otters cruised through.
I managed to get a video of them.
There’s a bird sanctuary by the airport.
We came here one night at about sundown to look for the birds. What we saw was a once in a lifetime event. A man who was probably in his 70’s was out at the harbor too. He told us he comes out almost every night and has lived there all of his life. He said he has never seen anything like what we saw that night.
The sunsets come every night in Hoquiam. Its a town where everything used to be and a town where some things always remain.