Yelm is a strange place.
I grew up with the idea that it was small, tucked away, hidden, and relatively unknown.
Anytime I’d mention my hometown to someone I’d meet, the typical response is “Where’s Yelm?”… and anytime someone seemed unphased by a place called “Yelm” was quickly interviewed in return “Where are YOU from??” because it had to be nearby.
This weekend, however, made Yelm seem BIG. Between the UFO Fest, Tenino Parade (and some music festival I just heard of, called 4 square mile music fest featuring christian rock music, I think?), general HOT WEATHER ADVISORIES, the pockets of insanely cool geology and hiking spots around Thurston County, and the quiet but omnipotent presence of some yet-to-be-explored (by me) occult history…. YELM WAS LIT! (as in, light, lightened, buzzing, popping, happening, etc. for those of you out of touch with this trash millennial linguistic game).
I got to spend some time with a man I’ve recently started seeing who lives in Seattle but came down for the weekend to experience Yelm life. We went to Mr. Doug’s for breakfast Saturday (the Yelm go-to diner in city proper… TRY THE HOBOS ASAP), picked up some stuff at Sunbird’s (it’s a garden/farm/hunting supply store… very fun, too easy to spend money, and they had a sidewalk sale this weekend, which is A BIG HECKIN DEAL AROUND THESE PARTS!), checked out ‘King Cronic’, Yelm’s recreational marijuana shop…. I think they’re too high to spell Chronic, but they make up for spelling errors with their fun and friendly customer service and fairly well priced pre-rolls, which set us up just right for our next stop: 2nd Annual UFO FEST in Yelm, WA! What a trip!
The event itself was somewhat underwhelming, the majority of the ‘space themed’ or ‘alien themed’ decor was kid-specific (bouncy houses, cool blow up slides and obstacle courses, etc.) but the turnout WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD, at least as far as my expectations went.. Yelm has a few events, Prairie Days, Jazz in the Park, and even farmer’s markets, now (which I have yet to explore) but I’ve never seen this many people in Yelm before! I haven’t lived in Yelm since 2010, and I’m realizing quickly that the entire time I’ve been away, it’s been growing! Yelm has become an economic and cultural center for Southeast Thurston county… what a wild vision happening before my eyes!
Eric and I also checked out Johnson Creek and Skookumchuck Reservoir, which seems to have some magical elements to it and majorly cool geology (agates, geodes, and quartz, oh my!!). We explored and floated in some insane hydrologic features deep in Bald Hills (Deschutes Falls is crowded but worth checking out). We even stopped by the Tenino Parade for the Washington Agate and Mineral Society Rock and Gem Show! Free entrance, I left without technically spending money but Eric bought me a $3 petrified wood slab that I couldn’t put down so I left happy! (and hot, again, because it’s still been hanging in the 90’s here! DID I MOVE TO ARIZONA?! ARE CLIMATE CHANGE DENY-ERS STILL UNCONVINCED?!?)
Needless to say, the weekend was full of fun, lots of sun, and a much needed break from the physical and emotional toils that last week and big changes bring alongside. I am headed to Florida to visit my very dear friend, Colin, later this week. Lot’s of work to do before I leave town, including roofing the tiny home, I hope!!
More news soon…