Every now and then we run a web search of ‘Sahalee’ to see what pops up. Since starting our blog a couple of years ago and promoting it more over the past year or so, we’ve noticed a much higher frequency of the posh Sahalee Golf Club in Washington. (We’re still not sure if they were feeling squeezed since we came on the web, or coincidentally hired a better marketing firm. haha) While our high desert Sahalee is worlds away from the lush greens of the Evergreen State country club, we admit the inspiration came from their neighborhood.
It was January 2014. We hadn’t yet visited the 15 acres we bought sight-unseen the month before. We were in Seattle visiting family on a long-planned trip before their relocation to Durango. As part of our journey to the sodden Northwest, we found ourselves on a quest to visit North Head and Cape Disappointment Lighthouses to complement our stamp of Alki Point.
Somewhere near the 101, crossing one of the many waterways tracing to the Columbia River, we rounded a corner and rolled by a shambled wood sign at the end of a driveway that read, ‘Sahalee’ in humble print. The word was clear and sounded solid when spoken amid the mist-covered pines and nearby marshes. After a quick web search upon our return home, we learned that Sahalee meant ‘high heavenly ground‘ in the native language of the local Chinook people.
Our first visit to our New Mexico land wasn’t until March that year. We still did not know exactly what we had been deeded. For some, naming their homestead is quickly decided by the family’s namesake as a way to continue tradition. For us, naming our place was contingent upon what we saw and felt when we spent time there. We generated many contenders for the plaque – Dolphin Point, Tijeras Ridge, Dong-Mak (Korean for ‘No Water’) Ranch – but none seemed to capture the true peace of being here.
Sahalee found us. We believe that our high heavenly ground was simply meant to be and carries the name as such. Our Sahalee is off-grid and very far away from the fancy establishment that comes up first in Google search, and we are perfectly fine with that. Not to say that we won’t have a putting green or croquet field here in the future!