The latest film from Robert and Kathy Chrestensen uses a naturalist/poet, a native storyteller/basket-maker, a long-distance hiker and a glacial researcher to profess the wonders of the Olympic Peninsula wilderness.
“Out of the Mist – Olympic Wilderness Stories,” the third feature-length film from the Chrestensens, will be shown in Tacoma on Friday, in Seattle on Jan. 25 and in Olympia on Feb. 6.
The couple’s previous films were a look at the lower elevations of Mount Rainier and the conservation ethic of Harvey Manning.
Their latest effort is meant “to promote wilderness preservation through motion pictures that foster respect and appreciation for the natural world,” Robert Chrestensen said in a prepared statement.
“What better way than through the words and actions of four unique individuals who know Washington’s Olympics intimately and share a deep kinship with them? Their stories are inspiring. The scenery is breathtaking.”
In “Out of the Mist,” Dave Skinner, Harvest Moon, Dane Burke and Tim McNulty share their passion and memories of their time spent traveling through the Olympic wilderness.
Skinner has lived, hiked and climbed in the Olympics most of his life. He is known for his work on the Skyline Trail and other less-traveled paths in the Olympic National Park. He has spent more than 30 summers perched high on Mount Olympus doing glacier research for the University of Washington.
After getting out of the military, hiking the Olympics became a form of therapy, Skinner said in the film. His passion for hiking became so great, that is how he would spend his summers. He joked that he worked for the same Port Angeles pulp mill 14 times because he would keep quitting to go hiking.
Whether working on the Skyline Trail, climbing Mount Olympus or watching sunsets from Panic Peak, Skinner said the Olympics always hold a new surprise.
“All you have to do is look around and you’ll see something you’ve never seen before,” he said in the film.
Moon, a member of the Quinault Indian Nation, discovered her ancestry late in her teens after being raised by a white family. She reaffirmed her native roots by going on a three-year vision quest in the Olympics. She is a Coast Salish storyteller and basket weaver.
Much of Moon’s story relates to water – the varied moods of Lake Quinault in the morning, to the sounds of the rain, to the bounty the peninsula offers because of that rain. She talked of hiking up the Enchanted Valley with her husband, climbing so high she could step across the small stream that would become the Quinault River.
Burke is discovering the Olympics on his own, via extended backpacking trips. He started with a 17-day trek in 2008, then followed that with a 50-day solo adventure from the south to the north.
“That experience was absolutely life changing,” he said of his nearly two-month adventure. “It was a real special experience.
“Some of the happiest moments of my life have been in the Olympics,” he told the filmmakers.
McNulty has lived, hiked and backpacked on the Peninsula for more than 40 years. In that time, he has become the definitive authority on its natural history.
“It was the Olympic Peninsula that reached out and grabbed me,” he said in the film. “It was all I could ever live for.”
He talked of the different feel the peninsula has during each of the seasons. For McNulty, those feelings run deep and are very personal.
“It’s the beginning of the world. That’s one of the feelings I get in the Olympics,” he said.
It is McNulty who sums up the feelings of all four at the film’s end.
“We were able to save this place before it got trashed. That’s been an important part of life, professionally and spiritually,” he said. “The Olympics are a gift.”
Friday: The Tacoma Mountaineers are sponsoring the film at its newly refurbished Program Center, 2302 N. 30th St., Tacoma. The public is welcome. Doors open around 6:30 p.m. Harvest Moon is scheduled to attend the showing. DVDs of the film will be available for purchase.
Jan. 25: The National Parks Conservation Association, Olympic Park Associates, American Whitewater, Olympic Forest Coalition and Seattle Mountaineers Public Lands Program are hosting the screening as a benefit of the Wild Olympics Campaign. It will be at the Seattle Mountaineers Program Center, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the film at 7:45 p.m. DVDs will be available for purchase.
Feb. 6: The Olympia Mountaineers are sponsoring a show at their Priest Point Meeting House, 3201 Boston Harbor Road, Olympia. Harvest Moon is scheduled to attend the event. This is the group’s monthly potluck where the public is welcome. Dinner starts at 6 p.m. The film will begin shortly after 7 p.m. DVDs will be available for purchase.