A Treatise on the Geography of "Twin Peaks"

I've long wanted to write a story documenting all the Inland Northwest connections of Twin Peaks. While the show is universally adored (well, almost), viewers in Montana and Eastern Washington get an extra kick hearing all the familiar place-names that get dropped. Here's a link to the full story, published in the Spokesman-Review

While I didn't go into it in the story, Tara and I had a truly Lynchian experience when we visited the part of the state that the fictional town of Twin Peaks is set. We backpacked through the Salmo Priest Wilderness, which for this telling will serve as the show's "dark woods." As we went to bed in our tent, I kept hearing what I thought was the sound of a radio playing music very faintly, one of those noises so low on the spectrum of perception that the moment you think you hear it it's gone. It was spooky, since we hadn't seen anyone all day in the vast expanse of woods, but I put the thought away and was able to fall asleep. The next morning, Tara says she heard the same thing. We hiked out, again completely alone. Then, in Metaline Falls, we stopped for our traditional post-backpack hamburger. When we got out of the car, we immediately saw a storefront that had nothing but owl figurines in the window (owls play a major role in the aesthetic of the show). We went to the only diner that was open, and found the dining room to be cast in half-light, as if some of the florescent lights had gone out. We sat there, again all alone, until a woman in a wheelchair and huge sunglasses came in. She didn't order anything, and started asking us what brought us to town. "Hiking," we said, "Hoping to see some woodland caribou, but no luck." "They're hard to see in those woods," she said in a slow, drawn out voice. "Things are hard to see back there."