Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lady Rainier

Our Lady

I'm at a literary loss for words when I try to describe the experience of hiking to Tolmie Peak in Mt. Rainier National Park. Scenic, picturesque, breathtaking, dramatic, striking, spectacular...Applying these adjectives to portray it is the same as taking photos of nature when you're out in it; Good, maybe great, but never a true representation of the experience. Never wholly reflective of the light, the mood, the sensation.

The arresting views started early on in the 7ish mile hike and never ceased. Before hiking this trail on Sunday, I had never seen giant fields of avalanche lilies, let alone entire mountainsides covered in bear grass bloom. The ever present, archetypal mountain Rainier loomed not overhead, but almost parallel to us in our ascent up the trail. It is the closest I have ever felt to this beautiful Lady.

The amount of people on the trail I overheard stopping to exclaim "Oh my god" over and over again was pretty incomparable to anything else I've hiked. I did a beautiful hike in Rainier last summer called the Summerland Trail, but this trail topped it and everything else I've seen since then. Maybe since before then. I don't really play favorites per-se when it comes to this outdoor, back country life, but nonetheless this trail stole the show and is probably going to live in infamy in my recollection for a long time to come. 

So much beauty in this world, but nothing ever touches me the way reflections of mountains in alpine lakes do. Feels like coming home.

Looking down on Eunice Lake
You can see why this park is so damn crowded 24/7/365...

Approaching Eunice Lake
An edge of Eunice Lake
Lilies upon lilies
Jasmine on the ridge line

Views for days
Oh, Bear Grass
Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout
You can see the fire lookout that we hiked to at the tip top of this ridge

Friday, July 14, 2017

Bumping Lake

Bumping Lake is unabashedly serene; It's my favorite place to swim in Washington. The water is shockingly warm for how large the lake is and its close proximity to the Cascade Mountains, including Mt. Rainier.

I don't know why but I've always considered Rainier to possess a divine feminine energy, and I like to call her Lady Rainier. Sometimes I blow kisses her way when I'm driving south to work in the morning, since I get a lovely view of her from I-5 on clear days. Rainier can actually be seen from a crazy far distance, as far north as Vancouver BC and as far south as Corvallis, OR. I've learned a lot about her the last few years from reading hiker anthologies and visiting the National Park. She is a mystic, tranquil volcano set in the middle of a gorgeous mountain range that is so drastically different from the east to the west. The native tribes here called her "Tahoma" or "Tacoma", which means Mother of Waters. So I suppose her feminine wiles were picked up on by attuned inhabitants early on.

The view of Rainier from Tipsoo Lake, right off Highway 410

I love heading east of the mountains, even if it means hot ass weather. Luckily this past weekend was perfect and I can't complain a bit about the weather we had while camping at Bumping Lake. No traffic either way, no sun stroke, no drunk idiots at the campground, not crowded...sometimes it feels like the Universe truly has your back when you need it most. Thank you!

I headed over early Saturday morning with Josephine and her pup Luna. Could not have had more fun with this oddball of a dog. She was extremely easy going and did everything with us- a seasoned sidekick. From camping to hiking to playing cribbage to kayaking for her first time, swimming, and skateboarding (kinda...), she was very much in the mix. My lovely neighbors who I adore came out to meet up with us Saturday evening. They are just about the coolest, kindest couple and I really enjoy them both.

On Sunday I woke up in the back of Josephine's built out Honda Element needing to pee exactly as sunrise was cresting over the mountain range. Perfect timing, body! I walked down to the lake and had the entire thing to myself. I was surprised that no one was out fishing since its an extremely popular fishing spot. No boats, no kayaks, and ahhhh, no kids. I walked the shore to the boat launch and sat on the dock. I love watching sunrise so much. The golden bath of speckled light and the immense silence never fails to provide powerful and restorative soul-medicine. After the sun was situated high in the sky I walked back to camp and retreated to the car for a short nap before we all got up for some early morning kayaking.

Another highlight was the utterly random hike we did to Twin Sisters lakes. This required driving down a longgg pothole ridden dirt road within the William O. Douglas wilderness area (author of that book Of Men and Mountains I recently wrote about). The Deep Creek trail head was a sight for sore eyes & backs, and the path itself was impressively maintained for being in the middle of nowhere! It was a short and steep hike up in the heavy afternoon heat. The lake was gigantic, one of the biggest alpine lakes I've ever seen. Bear grass was everywhere, along with bluebells and other small wildflowers. The only bummer was that within two minutes of being at the lake, we were covered in SWARMS of mosquitoes unlike anything I have ever experienced. I cannot over exaggerate the size of this mosquito colony. All four of us got eaten alive and we quickly retreated back to the meadow surrounding the lake. Pretty unfortunate because it would have otherwise been a perfect place to spend the afternoon. A quick look on the topographical map later showed that these lakes border an area known as "Mosquito Valley" hah! Dozens of ponds, lakes, and waterways within this wilderness area apparently offer the perfect breeding conditions for bug life in early Summer. Duly noted for next time...

Evening at the lake front

Trevor Fishing

Kayaking in the early morning light

Luna's first kayaking experience!

Ah, peeing in glorious nature

Hanging with Trevor and Luna at the campsite

One of the coolest pups around

Approaching Twin Sister Lake

Bear grass abound at Twin Sisters

Gone Fishin'

My lovely neighbor Kalee

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Literary Vibes

Reading nook at Kex Hostel in Iceland

Books that helped and continue to help shape my spiritual self:

*The Motivation Manifesto -Brendon Burchard

*Autobiography of A Yogi -Paramahansa Yogananda

*The Spontaneous Fufillment of Desire -Deepak Chopra

*The 4 Agreements -Don Miguel Ruiz

*Creative Visualization -Shakti Gawain

*The Kyballion -The Three Initiates

*How to Practice: The Way To A Meaningful Life -Dailai Lama

*A New Earth -Eckhart Tolle

*The Tao of Wu -Rza

*Medical Medium -Anthony William

*Emotional Chaos to Clarity-Phillip Moffit

*Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing -Dr. V. Lad

*The Tao of Poo -Benjamin Hoff

*Codependent No More -Melody Beattie

*The Power of Intention -Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

& My absolute most favorite fiction:

*The Sirens of Titan -Kurt Vonnegut

*Everything Matters -Ron Currie Jr.