Smoke, Rocks, and Trees: Four Days on the Wonderland Trail

Record of an attempt to thruhike around a massive volcano as wildfires raged in the forests nearby. I went to grieve, to mend a broken heart, to walk my own talk with the Divine, and in doing so made new friends, one of them a dog, struggled with aging, and came face to face with…myself.

*This is a work in progress. Feel free to enjoy in the meantime. Thank you!*

Click on any image to enlarge the foto. Enjoy.

Wayne & I gaze up into the smoke-choked Tatoosh Range from where we stood along the banks of the Nisqually River, Mount Rainier National Park. Tuesday morning the 5th of September 2017. May the fires stay far away! May the long-promised rain finally fall!

Wildfires burned along the eastern edges of the national park, spilling out from the Norse Peak Wilderness from lightning strikes during a short but severe mini-drought. Even so, aye, even so, the Trail beckons and calls my soul forth to walk these paths thru mountain forests. This is a section of the Wonderland Trail near Longmire, Day 1 of 4.

The Sun burns thru smoky haze in the late afternoon at Klapatche Park on the Wonderland Trail, Day 2 of 4.

Tahoma Creek thunders below the infamous swinging bridge across the gorge. In the morning of Day 2. Felt like walking into the apocalypse, and all was beautiful anyway.

I went into the wilderness to grieve. My attempt to thruhike the Wonderland Trail, one of the most celebrated of the short long-distance trails, wasn’t to conquer nature or rack up another win on a list of long-distance hiking trails. The intention was to immerse myself in solitude so as to engage the Divine one-on-one. Especially while deep in the backcountry far away from crowds of people. Truth is I went into Nature to heal. 

This solo backpacking trip would be my own Walk ‘n’ Talk with God & Goddess, so to speak. For while I didn’t always show it, I remained in deep pain from the heartbreak of being ghosted not quite two months earlier by an otherwise extraordinary woman whom I loved and adored and, it appeared at the time, she, me. At least she seemed to love and appreciate me in the beginning of what was to be a remarkable and unusual albeit short-lived relationship. The irony is she was a bit of a globetrotter herself. She sought out long-distance hiking trails to heal and in doing so strip away the faux veneer of urban civilization. Aye, in many ways we were so much alike our similarities felt uncanny. Yet it was not to be. Nor did I see the end coming. 

Life goes on for the living, however, and tears heal. Grieving is healthy albeit painful for those grieving. It’s uncomfortable for those around the bereaved. So I chose to hike around the massive bulk of a giant volcano as my way of moving forward in this life. For as I took one step after another and one breath upon the next the immediacy of the Trail demanded such total focus as to push out all thoughts of anything else but the next breath and the next step and the next bite to eat and water to drink. These demands plus the threat of rapidly-spreading wildfires during a short but severe drought in the wake of record breaking snowfall and flooding all became part of my healing process.

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Sunset & Darkness: October on Granite Mountain

An afternoon Autumn hike up a mountain to watch the sunset turns into one cold scramble back down towards midnight

*This is a work in progress. Feel free to enjoy in the meantime. Thank you!*

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Grunting up to the summit late in the afternoon of Monday the 9th of November 2017. All fotos by the Author.

Gazing deeper into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness from near the mountain summit.

I seem to end up hiking in the dark a lot lately. One reason I always bring a headlamp with extra batteries for me. Today was one of those gorgeous fall days of Indian Summer bright with autumn foliage amidst the evergreens. Winter awaited me at the top of the mountain, however, and accompanied me back down into darkness. There wasn’t any ambush. Instead I embraced the elements and went into it. All the way into it, too. Yes, it was a glorious day.

“Epic!” another climber declared as he hiked back down as I scrambled up. Low-angled beams of waning sunlight lit up the mountainside in shades of fiery golden reds before the encroaching shadows of sunset.

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Golden Leaves of November

Walking back to catch the train home after a dentist appointment brought unexpected surprises as a late blaze of Autumn glory swiftly turned into a fierce storm in mid-November of 2017

*This is an unfinished work in progress. Please enjoy what’s here as I complete it. Thanks!*

Click on each picture to expand it. All fotos by the Author.

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Pound Cakes & Cigarettes

“You’ve been wanting to do that for a long time, haven’t you?”

She looked up at me as I bent her legs back so I could pound her pussy until she made me fly and fill the sky.

“Yes,” I said and grunted.

We both grunted.

“I’ve been waiting,” she murmured as we gazed into each other’s eyes.

Her eyes closed as she turned her face to one side upon the pillow.

I studied her freckles and the undulations of her breath and belly. Continue reading “Pound Cakes & Cigarettes” »

Midwinter atop Hurricane Ridge

One cold, sunny day in Olympic National Park in January 2016

*This is an unfinished work in progress. In the meantime please enjoy what’s here. Thank you!*

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Gazing across mountain wilderness from Hurricane Ridge (5,242 ft / 1,598 m), Olympic National Park. Sunday 24 January 2016. All fotos by the Author.

The Mt. Olympus Massif, heart of the Olympic Mountains. This crown jewel of the maritime Pacific Northwest stands at the elevation of 7,969 feet or 2,429 meters.

After visiting a troubled and isolated friend afflicted with both a chronic autoimmune condition and agoraphobia outside of Sequim, Washington, I drove alone towards Port Angeles. In addition to catching up on life together and cheering her up, I interviewed her about what she believes to be extraterrestrial or intradimensional beings and creatures creeping around her house when she was lived with her parents and siblings many years ago. She declared those series of events felt as if they occurred just yesterday. When it came time for me to leave and return to Seattle, I invited her to join me on a Sunday drive up to Hurricane Ridge. My friend declined. She felt fragile and all those people and wide, open alpine spaces filled her with a dread she couldn’t explain other than as a highly sensitive person she felt unusually vulnerable. So I drove alone, feeling a little sad, and began to reminisce about my own trips into Olympic National Park with my ex-wives Gwen and Kristina and our children Morgan, Kate, and Talia. Oh, how I miss them! And yet I grew to appreciate my time alone with only myself and the world. Up the icy mountain road I drove deep into my own Dreamtime.

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