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. 🙂
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.
Yeah. This one is going to have God stuff in it. Sorry. I just gotta.
So yesterday I took myself on a most excellent little hike in the North Cascades (the Table Mountain trail). We (me and I) were feeling a little selfish because we brought no one else with us. But me and I were feeling the need for some alone time yesterday.
A couple miles from the Heather Meadows parking lot (where the trail begins) I saw a couple of hitch-hikers, and pulled over to see if I could be of help. Alice and Sally asked if they could snag a lift up to Heather Meadows with me – they planned to hike back down to their car from there. I said sure and they got into Rosalita Ipswich O’Molenovich (my Ford Fiesta) for the short ride up to the parking lot. We exchanged particulars – they were from Whidby Island and were planning to finish the Chain Lakes trail that day. I told them I don’t always feel comfortable about picking up hitch-hikers – but they looked pretty harmless. There was this little pause, and then I added, “Of course, it’s the harmless-looking ones they tell you to watch out for…” and Sally and Alice started laughing.
Once we got to the parking lot they let me take their picture before they headed out on their adventure:
And then I started on my own hike up Table Mountain…
The trail is pretty steep – but it’s a short hike, and I soon found myself on top.
And here’s where the God stuff comes in. As I was tromping around up there – butterflies landing on my shoe, my eyes full of blue skies and magnificent vistas – I became aware of a playful, loving presence with me – what I would call “God.” I realized I wasn’t really alone – that I’m never really alone – that this presence of Love has always been with me, and always would be. And then I thought of my old hiking partner – my cousin, Skip, who passed on 15 or 20 years ago – and, in that moment, I felt close to him – like he was with me, too. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “In Science, individual good derived from God, the infinite All-in-all, may flow from the departed to mortals…” – and that’s what it felt like – it felt like Skip’s joy was reaching out to me, up there on that trail. But it wasn’t just Skip I was feeling this connection with – it was bigger than that. It was cosmic, universal. A connection with all Life.
Anyway. So that’s the God stuff.
And here are some more pictures from my day…
Never separated from Life and joy -never isolated. Never unworthy of Good. Never outside Love. You are so loved.
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