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 remember one time, as I was coming down
from a hike, when I got near the trailhead
I saw a couple hikers just starting out who
looked like they had a sense of humor.
“You’re almost there!” I told them. I had
judged correctly: They laughed.
Today as I was coming down from a hike –
just two quick switchbacks from the top –
a sweaty hiker asked if she was close
and I could tell her, “Yes! You’re almost
there! You’re going to make it!” It was
awesome to see the smile come to her face.
Today the hike back down was no bed
of roses, either. It seemed to go on forever.
The further I got down the trail the more
I felt my gait turning into the gait of an old
mariner – lurching from left hip to right hip
as with the rolling waves on the ocean.
I wanted to ask the people coming up if I
was “almost there, yet” – was I almost back
down? But I didn’t.
I found another way. The tired, sweaty
folks panting for breath showed me I still
had a ways to go. As I got nearer
the trailhead the faces weren’t as red,
the breathing not as labored. And when
I saw happy, smiling hikers still fine-
tuning adjustments on their packs I knew
I was almost back to the beginning.
The hike isn’t just the getting there –
it’s the getting back.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
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.
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