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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Deep into Mountains Beyond the River

(***This is a work in progress. All is Copyrighted. Enjoy!***)

William & Morgan’s Father-Daughter 50-mile, 7-day Backpacking Trip in Olympic National Park with Way Too Much Weight,
Sunday 31 August – Saturday 6 September 2014,
or
A father & daughter rediscover each other on the Trail before tripping out on the edge of the Ocean

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White Creek Meadows along the O’Neil’s Pass Trail, Olympic National Park, 3 September 2014, Day 4.

Picture of goofy Dad by Daughter. Enchanted Valley, Day 2.

Picture of Daughter by Dad. Upper Quinault, Day 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morgan was born in the bed at home of an apartment in Seattle a little over 20 years ago before our first backpacking trip together. Both experiences were initiations. I didn’t realize the latter was one, too, however, until a couple of months later. Backpacking with my oldest of three daughters changed my life. It changed hers, too.

This journey was a spiritual and deeply physical reconnection with nature and wilderness. I was also compelled to drop down into deeper levels of awareness of what and who I am as both a self-aware man and as consciousness beyond self. This was my first backpacking trip in 7 years. Suffered from my most severe blisters ever, and I’m the kinda of guy who rarely gets blisters and when I do they’re little bitty thangs.

This trip was also Morgan’s longest backpacking trip up to this point. She was concerned about old injuries flaring up. This trek was a big test for her for she planned to attempt a thruhike of the Appalachian Trial in 6 more months. Most precious, however, was a Father and his Daughter re-creating their parent-child relationship as adults. Being halfway up a steep mountainside with a river below you miles and miles from civilization does things like that to people in a hurry to do-do-do.

Afterwards we both admitted we were afraid we wouldn’t get along, would argue constantly, and wouldn’t find anything to talk about or for. We laughed as those fears didn’t even come close to materializing. Plus this proved an incredible adventure in its own right. Wild weather, bizarre people, magnificent scenery marred by global climate disruption, and unexpected surprises including stumbling into a psychedelic festival on the edge of the ocean made this end of summer backpacking trip unforgettable.

An invisible dynamic was the complex relationships we had with her mom and step-mom, both whom were also my ex-wives. Gwen Hughes, Morgan’s mother, and I thruhiked the Appalachian Trail all the way from Georgia to Maine back in 1991. Gwen and I were known as The Pregnant Rhinos back in our halcyon thruhiker days.

We did an estimated 3,500 kilometers or almost 2,200 miles plus about 150 to 200 miles of crazy ass side hikes. The length of the AT keeps changing. It’s 2,190 miles per 2016 but was 2,168.1 miles in 2001, 2,179.1 miles in 2010, and was about 2,000 miles in 1937. It was 2,184 miles when Gwen and I thruhiked the AT in 1991, and 2,189.2 miles when Morgan attempted her thruhike the following year in 2015.

The Pregnant Rhinos on the AT! aka Morgan’s parents before she was born. 🙂 Here Crazy Gweeyin buzzes off Yeldud the Mad’s hair while he pretends to be scary. This is during a crazy stop at Rusty’s Hard Time Hollow on the edge of the Shenandoahs in Virginia sometime in early Summer of 1991. At the time of this picture, William is 32 years along & Gwen is 26. Foto by Weathercarrot.

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