Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Stairway to Heaven

It wasn't easy, but it was certainly breezy (at the top).

Best defined as "pitchy."

The views were worth the toil. Below you see Mt. Olympus peeking out from behind the surrounding peaks. You might have to click on the photo to enlarge it, since my camera has a rather wide angle lens.

To get there? I chose to mountain bike 5.5 miles up a forest road that is closed to vehicles. Other people choose to backpack. Then hike 6.7 miles, at least one mile of which has a grade of about 1,500 ft altitude gain in 1 mile. That was the point during which I questioned my sanity. But once I stumbled out of the clutches of the forest and saw the hills towering above me, it didn't seem quite so formidable. Once up top, with only the pleasantly warm sunshine, light breeze, shy marmots, and silent stone cairns I began to rejoice in the solitude. That is, until I saw the guy who had just climbed up from the opposite side of the hill. Funny thing about hiking. You may be the only person on the trail that day, but it is rare to hit a summit mid-day without encountering at least one other group. Fortunately, the people you meet in such places tend to be good company. It is from this man that I have gained an appreciation for the succinct assonance of the word "pitchy."

In other matters, it was apparent how our record drought this summer has affected the watershed:

Do you believe that there were a multitude of tadpoles in this small body of water? Along the muddy edge, evidence of not just a bear, but at least one cub.

To me this is not just a good dose of exercise, but food for the soul. I don't eat much out there. I really don't feel the need. I have everything I need by just being out there. I did sit in a lush meadow on my way out, next to a brook, and enjoyed some bow-tie pasta I had brought. It seemed frivilous enough to make me laugh (out loud). For the last long hike that I did I brought granola and blackberries. Bow tie shaped pasta seemed an artifice.


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