Category Archives: Snapshots from a Happy Life

I think I can’t, but then I do

The Golden Gate Trail is the skinny zigzag up the side of the hill.

One of the more breathtaking (and, for me, breathless) loop trails that I hike at Mount Rainier is to go up Golden Gate trail to the skyline trail to Panorama Point.

Skyline Trail is well named.

The lower skyline trail is permanently closed, except for those adept with ice axes. So up one goes even farther.

There is a spot on the Upper Skyline Trail that has much better views than Panorama Point does:

But Panorama Point has a potty (as well as crowds of the many folk who hike directly to and from it starting at the visitor center.

I never go into this hike thinking I will make it, I give myself permission before I start to just go as far as I can and enjoy the beauty that I see, but I always do.

If you ever get a chance to go to Paradise, this is a great loop since many do not go beyond the there and back to Panorama Point, so you have less crowded trails. By hiking up Golden Gate in the morning you get shade for the steepest uphill. When you get above the tree line there is usually a nice breeze for the (not entirely insignificant) remainder of the uphill. There is some scree scramble but not too bad. If it helps you to gauge: I hike in hiking shoes (not boots), carry a mono-pod/hiking stick and don’t have exceptionally good balance. I am a bit nervous, but have never had a problem.

For Son of a Beach’s Which Way Challenge

The same, but different

It is good to take a few days away, where you can’t be reached with casual day-to-day communications. A few days when your job is to breathe in the mountain air and smell of wildflowers, and see the beauty in distant mountains and up close in the intricate pattern of dew drops on wildflowers.

The Tatoosh Range peeking up over a wildflower meadow.
Close-up of dew drops on Queen Anne’s Lace

We just returned from Paradise.

Paradise Inn on Mount Rainier with the Tatoosh Range behind it.

Every year we go to Paradise on Mount Rainier for several days. Every year it is the same, but every year it feels different as well.

Some of that is the way the season plays out, was there a large snow pack? was spring early or late? Is the weather hot or cool, clear or cloudy? Is there smoke from wildfires?

But some of it is what we bring to the mountain inside us.

This past year has seen several changes in our lives, including the death of two people dear to us and a great deal of upheaval from other sources. I am not gifted at dissimulation, and when asked how I was, I said “okay”. It was an honest answer, but it seemed to surprise the asker. I realized that the expected answer was probably “great!” After all I was in a magical place with good friends.

As I walked things out I realized that if I was truly”great!” after the events of the past year I might be considered a bit of a sociopath. In days of yore we had rituals for the loss of loved ones, including periods of time set aside for grieving, you wore black to let folks know that you were in mourning, so they realized that you weren’t “great!”

The meadows worked their magic on me. I can’t say that I went up “okay” and came back “great!”, but I did come back okay with being “okay” for now.

“The mountain”

Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side
Rainbows are visions
They’re only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
So we’ve been told and some chose to
Believe it
But I know they’re wrong wait and see
Someday we’ll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

Kermit the Frog
Narada Falls, with its ever present rainbow.

Playing go

When we spoke to our son last night he had been sent home from work because they were expecting a typhoon to make landfall and up to 10 inches of rain overnight. It reminded me of this sculpture.

I really liked this sculpture of a grandfather playing go with his grandchildren.

Bronze sculpture of a girl playing go with her grandfather as her little brother watches. By the Mihe River in Shouguang, China,
Notice how the little girl has her hand in the same position as the grandfather.
I love the expression on his face.

This is a sculpture that was along the Mihe River Park in Shouguang, China. There was massive flooding due to a typhoon in the late summer of 2018 and they were reworking the entire river bank on our last visit. I sure hope someone saved this sculpture.

Photo of a construction area along the Mihe River, taken in the spring of 2019.

Hopefully all of the reworking of levees and weirs done over the last year will hold and prevent the floods from being devastating.

For Mind Over Memory’s Sculpture Saturday