Friday, October 22, 2021

Larch March 2021

 
 
I was thrilled to be granted a weekday off work (and my second job, and school...) just in time to view the larches at peak in the North Cascades. We spent about a week scavenging on WTA and Gaia for a lesser known trail as larch marchin' has become an absolute fucking escapade around here. We settled on what looked like an intriguing pass and potential peak just beyond the crowds at Heather-Maple Pass, Cutthroat, and Blue Lake. Alarm set for 6, let's get it!

Things went downhill from there. Despite a clear but cold forecast, skies were gray and rain clouds hung menacingly. Passing through Darrington and the nearly half way mark, my tire pressure light came on. We stopped at a gas station and their gauge wasn't working. We drove on to another. We filled the tires, and the spare to be safe, then watched helplessly as the light continued to illuminate despite the miles passing. We stopped again.

We had to make a choice-or as my Project Management professor would say, complete a risk analysis. The North Cascades are fairly remote, and despite the throngs of people flocking to specific larch-laden trails there's no cell service or guarantee of quick assistance. Weather was chilly, snow on the forecast, and the idea of waiting hours for a tow was not appealing. Alex and I got into a tiff which didn't help the sour mood of a day planned perfectly only to be threatened by car problems.

When the day doesn't go as planned, the question to ask is What can be salvaged? We decided the best middle-ground option was to drive on to one of the closest trails, where there would be more people/help if needed, and less chance of the tires deflating while we were hiking a further out and less popular trail. Blue Lake it was! 


Surprisingly, the parking lot was less than full and the crowds weren't bad at all. Ignoring the odd rubber smell emanating from my rear tire well, off we went. 

This was my first time back in the North Cascades since 2017. I used to love camping at Newhalem and visting Diablo Lake when I was still living up north. The North Cascades will always hold a special place for me as they evoke feelings of independence and strength. I took quite a few solo trips here from 2015-2017 and gained an immense amount of confidence on these trails. Also ate a plethora of fresh ice cream from the Cascadian Organic farmhouse on HWY 20...


Things worked out great in the end- not perfect, and not to plan, but great nonetheless. We had a long but overall lovely day, and we weren't fighting our way through crowds as many were doing at Heather Pass and Lake Ingalls. Eventually, some 200 miles later, my air pressure light did finally go off. 

We probably all have work to do when it comes to setting the tone in whatever upsetting or unfortunate circumstance we find ourselves in. Controlling our mind before it spirals into the abyss of worst case scenarios. Asking instead what can be salvaged, and scrapping together our best option or attitude even when things aren't going our way. We don't have to match the energies we encounter- we can rise above them like oil in water.

"So what if it doesn't look the way you planned? All of those days still belong to you, and even the greatest disappointments have their uses. Everything is a litany of things. A network of things, each with its own context and purpose. Be careful, when reviewing, not to strip the happenings from their larger meaning. Nothing happens on its own, and everything has potential for beauty. Is that not your life, huddled against your feet, lying in wait?"

-Yrsa Daley-Ward



*Thanks for the quote, Jasmin. Love you

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