“Oh! There’s Mount Baker!”

Dad is lying in bed when I get there. He sees me come in and his face lights up with a smile.
Dad: Sweetheart!
Karen: Hi, Daddy!
Dad: (Reaching out to give me a hug.) I love you!
Karen: I love you, too! Did Mark Schoening come to see you yesterday?
Dad: Yes! That was a nice surprise!
Karen: Do you know Ed Webster?
Dad: (Nodding.) Yes. He’s a climber.
Karen: Yes! He called last night. He wanted me to tell you hello from him.
Dad: Oh!
Karen: Do you want to go for a drive?
Dad: Yes, I would.
Karen: Okay, Gwen will get you ready and then we’ll go.
Dad: (Nodding.) Okay.

Pretty soon Dad comes out of his room with Gwen beside him. He’s wearing a button up shirt, his khaki pants, a sweater, shoes, and his alpine hat. He’s ready to go…
Dad: (In the passenger seat, looking back at the house.) Who are those people?
Karen: Gwen is the one who takes care of you. The man sitting at the table is Joe. He’s an artist, too.
Dad: Oh.

We drive through town and Dad wants to know if we’re in Fairhaven. I tell him no, but… (I point to the street sign) the name of this street is Fairhaven. Dad Looks at the sign and says, “Yeah. Fairhaven.”
Dad: We haven’t been here on a drive, yet, have we?
Karen: Yes…
Dad: Parts of it.
Karen: (Nodding and thinking. Almost all our drives start out on this street, but…) Yes.

We’re on the other side of I-5 now, in the country.
Dad: It’s a beautiful day!
Karen: Yes, it is!
Dad: What day is this?
Karen: Sunday.
Dad: Oh. (He’s quiet for a few minutes, then…) Are you going to church?
Karen: (Laughing.) No, not today.
Dad: (Relieved.) Oh. I thought you might be taking me to church. I don’t want to go to church.

(We pull up to the Sisters Espresso – I’m going to get Dad a breakfast sandwich and his root beer float.)
Dad: (Smiling.) I recognize this place. We’ve been here before – many times.
Karen: (Smiling.) Yes, we have.
(Brooke, one of the Sisters Espresso sisters, tells me that there are “hundreds of eagles” today – and points me the right direction to find them.  I head down Allen West Road, my eyes open for white tails and white heads .)
Dad: What did you learn in school today?
Karen: (I am flummoxed.) Umm…
(When I turn on Farm to Market Road and head north I can see Dad cranking his head to the right – I know what he’s looking for…)
Dad: Oh! There’s Mount Baker! ( He keeps his eyes focused on Baker as I turn the car down a road that has the mountain right in front of us. I pull over to the side of the road and stop to take a photo of the mountain.)
Dad: I’d like a print of that photo – that would make a great watercolor.
Karen: (Smiling.) Okay.
Dad: (Thinking.) Can you see Mount Rainier from here?
Karen: Sometimes. When it’s very clear. But it’s usually too hazy.

I drive to my home. My plan is to make a quick print of the photo for Dad to take with him. Maybe he’ll make a watercolor from it. I park in the driveway.
Dad: This is the home you and Scott built yourself.
Karen: Yes!
Dad: I remember when Scotty stood right there and said, “I’m going to build a home in that meadow.”
Karen: (Smiling.) Do you want to come inside?
Dad: (Shaking his head.) No.
Karen: You stay here. I’ll go get Scott and bring him out here…

I go inside and let Scott know that Dad’s in the car. He goes out to sit with him while I print off the picture of Mount Baker. When I come back out to the car Scott and I exchange places and I hand Dad the print of Mount Baker. As we’re driving back to his home…
Dad: Who took this picture? This is a good one!
Karen: I did. Just a little bit ago.
Dad: You did? It’s good!
Karen: Thank you.

As we get close to his home Dad starts recognizing the area…
Dad: Sometimes you drop me off on one of these side streets.
Karen: Yes.
Dad: Are you going to dump me off on this street?
Karen: I’m going to take you home.

We pull into his driveway and I help him get out of the car.  Gwen comes out to help Dad into the living room and into his recliner.  Dad settles in – his root beer float at his elbow on a side table, his print of Mount Baker in his lap, and a football game on the television.
Karen: I love you, Daddy.
Dad: And I love you!

Mount Baker from Bow (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

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“I Really Enjoy These Little Drives with You!”

I stopped in to see Dad to see if he wanted to go for a drive. He was sitting at the table, finishing breakfast, when I got there.
Dad: Karen. This is my daughter! This is Karen!
Karen: Hi, Daddy. Do you want to go for a drive?
Dad: Yes, I do!
(I go and get his shoes and hat. As I’m crouched over, tucking his feet into his shoes, he reaches down and starts patting the top of my head. I exchange looks with Gwen – we’re both grinning.)

We load Dad up in the car and take off on our adventure…
Dad: It’s a beautiful day!
Karen: Yes, it is!
Dad: I always love to see you come into… (trying to find the words) my place of business.
Karen: I love to see you, too!
Dad: Is there a small airport near here?
Karen: (Filing this away – maybe Dad wants to visit the airport?) Yes, just up there on the hill.
Dad: Were you at school today?
Karen: No, today is Saturday.
Dad: Oh. There’s no school on Fridays?
Karen: (Pause.) No.

(I can see Dad turning his head – I know he’s looking for Mount Baker – but Baker is behind the hills. I pull into Sisters Espresso.)
Karen: Root beer float?
Dad: (Nodding.) Yes.
(I get Dad his float. As I’m coming back to the car with it, he opens the door and reaches out for it – he knows the drill.  I hand him his float…)
Dad: Thank you!

I turn left, heading towards the airport – but we’re not going the right direction for Dad to see Mount Baker, so I turn down a road where Dad can see Baker if he looks out his window. And there it is!
Karen: (Pointing.) See Baker?
Dad: (Nodding and fastening his eyes on the volcano.) Yes. Have you ever climbed that one?
Karen: Yes. With you and Scotty.
Dad: (Nodding.) That’s right.
(I stop a few times to snap some photos. Dad takes this all in stride.)
Karen: Do you know what the name of that ridge is – there on Baker?
Dad: No. I know all the features of Rainier, but not the other mountains…

We make a quick stop at the post office, and then I head through Edison and onto Samish Island Road. As I’m driving over the slough I glance over at a tree that I know has an eagle’s nest in it – and it’s loaded with eagles! I pull over and get out of the car to take some photos. I ask Dad if he sees the eagles – he says no – he’s looking in the wrong place. I back the car up a little and roll down the window and point…
Dad: Oh! Yeah! They’re on that branch there!
Karen: (So excited that he’s seen the eagles!) Yup!
Dad: (Slurps his float.) This is beautiful country. (Slurps some more.)
Karen: Yes, it is!

We head up towards Bayview Park. Dad always thinks of his old friends, the Annens (who lived on Warren Beach), when we go this way.
Dad: The Annens used to live up here. Did you ever visit the Annens with me?
Karen: No, I don’t think so.

I turn down the road that takes us to the airport and drive by so Dad can look at the planes, and then come back out onto the main road.
Dad: I really enjoy these little drives with you.
Karen: (I pat his knee.) I do, too, Daddy.

I bring Dad back to his home and help him settle back in the kitchen chair he’d been sitting in when I arrived.
Karen: I’m going to be back in a couple hours. Jim Wickwire is coming to visit you then, too!
Dad: Jim Wickwire will be here?
Karen: Yes!
Dad: How do you know?
Karen: He told me. I’ll see you again soon, Daddy. I love you!
Dad: I love you!

It Was a Good Choice

We’d been waiting for a sunny weekend to go for our Table Mountain hike – and it just didn’t happen – so we finally gave up the whole idea of sunny skies and just went up to Mount Baker, anyway. It was a good choice. 🙂

 

 

Annual Skyline Divide Hike

I was really surprised by how many people were up on the Skyline Divide today. And (although it kind of made it difficult to take photos) it gave me hope to see all these people – willing to push their bodies up to alpine meadows to enjoy what the mountains could give them.

As I was looking at Mount Baker today from the Skyline Divide – and realizing how HUGE it is – I thought to myself: “What in the heck were you thinking?! Whatever made you think you could climb that mountain?!” And then I reminded myself that I did, indeed, climb that mountain. And then it dawned on me that if I hadn’t been born with the parents I was born with – and I’m not just talking about Dad here – Moz was a pretty formidable adventurer in her day, too – I probably WOULDN’T have climbed Baker (or Rainier, Adams, or Hood). How lucky am I that I had a father who took me up all these peaks? I’m so very grateful for the opportunities my parents gave me in my life. They gave me the mountains. 

 

 

 

 

That One’s Mine

I stopped by Fred Meyer’s to pick up a copy of Mother Earth News for Dad – I wanted to show him my photo in there. I went back to the magazine racks and a woman was stocking them. I asked her if Fred Meyer carries Mother Earth News and she said yes – they sold those right at the check-stands. I told her – because I’m so incredibly humble and self-effacing and stuff – that my photo was in there. And she grinned, all excited, and told me she’d take me right to the magazine. So she walked with me to the front of the store and showed me where Mother Earth News was and I showed her my photo (in the very back). She recognized the area where I took the picture and we talked about Bow and Skagit County, trumpeter swans and snow geese, and just had a lovely chat. I love meeting my neighbors. 

And if you find an April/May 2017 issue of Mother Earth News you will see a picture of a red barn and Mount Baker and trumpeter swans on, like, the last page – and yup, that one’s mine. 🙂

 

Sweet Solitude!

sweet solitude

Photo taken on top of Table Mountain in the North Cascades, by Karen Molenaar Terrell

I took myself on a hike today – just me and… well… myself. I was so excited to go on a date with me. We-me hadn’t gone on a hike alone for a really long time. I was even looking forward to the one and a half hour drive up to the trailhead – excited about being able to put in a CD of my choice, without having to worry if my choice of music was going to annoy any poor hapless individual stuck in the car with me; excited about being able to roll the windows all the way down if I wanted without having to worry about somebody else’s hair getting mussed, or face getting lashed and buffeted by the wind; excited about being able to stop and take pictures if I wanted, get some tea maybe, take my time – without having to worry about anyone else’s needs or schedule; and really, really excited about stretching my legs in the mountains again. I’ve been having a “mountain jones” the last week.

And I have to tell you – it was MARVELOUS! I had a great date with myself. I put in a Jason Mraz CD and sang along with it all the way to the Heather Meadows parking lot. And once I hit the trail I started singing the theme song from “The Sound of Music” – because when I’m on a date with myself there can never be enough schmaltz. We (me and myself) felt really good up there today – strong and able. When we got to the top of Table Mountain we built a little cairn out of rocks and then sat down for a lunch of crackers and cheese. Then, because we were feeling strong and able, we decided to venture another half a mile or so along the ridge to a nice overlook of the valley below. We didn’t hurry. We took our time, snapped photos when we wanted, stopped and just took in the views when it pleased us.

We saw a marmot scrambling around in the rocks up there, and met some cheerful friendly fellow hikers. On the way down we stopped and moved to the side as a young woman made her way up the trail. The trail is steep, and in places there’s a sheer drop on the other side of it, and the woman looked to be clinging to the rocks when she could.- I got the impression she was a little nervous about the whole adventure. I told her she was almost to the top and it was GORGEOUS up there, and her friend, who was standing next to me, waiting for her, said, “Yes! That’s right! You’re almost there!” and looked at me with gratitude in his eyes. “Thank you,” he said to me, . “Have a wonderful afternoon!”

And I did. 🙂

“…he departed again into a mountain himself alone.” – John 6:14