You don’t know what you don’t know

The old saying goes, “You don’t know…what you don’t know.” While I am positive that is true in multiple walks of life (parenting, nuclear physics, any form of math beyond reconciling my bank statement, etc.) it is spot on when it comes to relocating to a new area.
My family and I moved to the Lewis Clark Valley last year from Missouri, where we had spent the entirety of our lives living in our hometown. Both my wife and I went to elementary school, high school and college in the same smallish city, but had camped and hiked and “gotten away” enough to be pretty fair tour guides for most areas within a couple hours’ drive (which included three other states!).
Somehow, the fact that all that information takes time and travel to accrue, escaped our minds as we made the transition to our new home in the Inland Northwest. We acclimated to the Lewiston and Clarkston area fairly quickly (and only had to use Google Maps for a few weeks before we felt comfortable driving from our home to Wal-Mart without crossing a river more than four times).
We were warmly welcomed by our church family, got plugged into youth sports and school activities and have been blessed to have great neighbors surrounding our home, and folks from all of those walks of life have done their level best to help us weather our big changes.
However, our greatest sense of “lostness” has revolved around exploring the area, trying to find local places to enjoy God’s beautiful creation through camping and hiking, because we truly don’t know where anything is!
I can’t count the number of times I have asked someone about a great place to take my family…only to have them respond with what sounds like a foreign language! “Well, you just want to head on over to Waha, or Wallowa – or you could run up through Kamiah, or even Kooskia, or maybe venture over to Klickitat, or even Kittitas.”
Excuse me? Inevitably, I just stare blankly at people and mumble, “I don’t really know which direction that is…or which state.”
And don’t even get me started on how far Elk River is from Elk City or why any place that you would want to visit would be named Dworshak. But here is the thing we’ve discovered…you don’t know what you don’t know!
Our family has been taking some adventures. We have been to Elk River and Dworshak, we have driven through the Lolo pass, we have run four wheelers and floated kayaks near Weippe, we have hiked waterfalls in Oregon and mountains in the Olympic National forest, and watched whales in the Puget Sound – and we definitely did not know what we did not know.
Our new geographic location is beautiful and relaxing and awe inspiring and…home. Thank you, new friends and neighbors; you have made the Valley feel familiar and comfortable, and thank you, God, for making the Valley (and the entire Northwest) breathtakingly gorgeous.
Here’s to learning enough about the area over the next 40 years of our lives that we can be able tour guides when the opportunity arises!

Leave a Reply