Thursday, June 26, 2008

Is it your Half Birthday?

I learned about a new holiday when looking for a reason to party. When is your half birthday? Yesterday was my roommate Christine's 22nd birthday. We celebrated with blackberry cobbler and Mt. Rainier Chardonnay. On the left in front is our next door neighbor, Andy. On the left center is Christine, birthday girl. On the left in the back is Jenny, my second roommate. On the right in front is Evan, my co-conspiritor at the gift shop. Chris, Evan's roommate, is in the middle on the right and then me. My third roommate just arrived 20 minutes before our festive party. Her name is Treya. She is from Taiwan.

The Grove of the Patriarch

Ohanapacosh River

Avalanch Lilies

Official Tree Hugger

The Frog Prince

Wednesday's hike is brought to you by 1000 year old, 200 foot tall redwood cedars and Douglas firs. They stand tall saluting the sky like soldiers of time. The Ohanapacosh River charges beside them in a spectrum of sea glass green and cold glacier blue. There is an ancient energy in this forest that pulsates. There is magic here. I will tell you the story of the Frog Prince to prove it. I sat beneath a trio of mammoth cedars for a long while pondering the wonderment of endless time and the geological history that these trees have survived; mudslides, floods, fires. Scarred by natural disasters but still clinging to life reaching for the sky. It's pretty amazing. Anyway, I got tired of watching tourist after tourist take 30 seconds to snap a picture before moving on to the next tourist destination so I headed off the beaten trail to a more remote area of the Grove. I diverted up the Eastside trail about a 1/2 mile, with my Canon powershot in one pocket and a mini bottle of Bella Sera Pinot Grigio in the other pocket, and was delightfully surprised when a big green frog jumped across the trail towards a babbling creek that flooded across the trail. As if invited I sat beside the creek, telling the frog it was a wonderful surprise see him in the forest today. No joke, the frog turned his bulging eyes toward me and hopped a little closer as if in greeting. I settled in, laying down between the brook and the trail, propped my head on my backpack and we proceeded to lay in quiet companionship as I wondered about the frog's philosophy of life. I watched the puffy white clouds roll by the crisp blue sky through the thick canopy. We continued like this, my human need to hear myself talk and his silent contemplation, for at least 40 minutes. Pine needles fell around me like fairy dust and I must have dozed off for a few moments. Upon opening my eyes, I was startled to see the frog literally right under my nose. He was totally still except for the expansion and contraction of his little throat. Could he be a true frog prince trying to sneak a kiss from a sleeping beauty? Human curiosity, innate and uncontrollable, had me reaching out to touch his green leather skin. It was dry and startled him into three giant leaps landing him six feet away. He blended into the moss covered rocks just beside the cascading water so I could hardly see him. I had obviously hurt his feelings and lost his trust. I cursed my stupid humanness for interrupting nature at it's most fascinating moment. It was time for me to go. I had overstayed my welcome. But as I crossed over the brook I just couldn't leave. Pulled back by an unknown power I turned around to look for the frog one last time but he had disappeared. It dawned on me that I was in an enchanted forest where the faeries live. I am convinced the frog must be an elite member of the sentry guarding this part of the ancient forest. I had been granted passage into this magical part of the forest in respect for our quiet revere. It was a most magical experience that might have been wine induced.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Home at Paradise/ Work at Longmire Pictures

View from my bedroom window-Awesome!

Guide House-Girls Dormitory at Paradise

General Store where I work

Turn Around-This is the view from my job!

Hike to Pebble Creek Pictures

Above the Clouds at 6000 feet

One of the rocks is a marmot, see him?

Paradise to Longmire Hike Pictures

Deer Crossing the Nisqually River

Narada Falls

Mad Cap Falls

Carter Falls

Can you see the snake?

The Road to Paradise

It was a long bloody battle but my gallantry has paid off and I have been provided with lodging at the Guide House in Paradise. I have done a lot of hiking in the last week. I hiked up to Pebble Creek which is just below the Muir snowfield last Thursday and was rewarded with a 2nd degree sunburn that made my upper lip swell to the size of a small marble even with sunscreen and a hat. The sun reflecting off the snow is one of the great dangers of hiking on the glaciers. I will be buying SPF 150 today while I am out and about in town. I am optimistic that we will be experiencing summer soon. Last week, I was driven to work in a significant snowstorm on JUNE 10!!! We had 6" of snow fall at Longmire where I work at the gift shop. Are you kidding me? Paradise received another 12'' and had already had a foot of snow fall three days before that. Today, June 19th, the sun shines fo the 5th day in a row so I have seen the mountain 5 days in a row as well. I have not seen the mountain for more than 2 days in a row since I arrived to work at Mt. Rainier 6 weeks ago. It is a monumental change in weather that I hope becomes the trend. Tuesday after work I hiked Rampart Ridge at Longmire which is a 5.5 mile loop trail that links to the Wonderland trail on the backside. Yesterday, I blazed a trail from Paradise six miles down to Longmire by following the Paradise River. There is normally a trail from Paradise to Longmire but it is still covered in 5 feet of snow. Today, I am a lame horse and happy to be off the Mountain and loafing around town.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The House of the Unholy

Well, not much exciting has gone on this week. I am suffering from a slight summer cold that is a result of a 7 mile hike round trip to Carter Falls through the damp forest. My roommate of 2 weeks has already fled from the evil that penetrates my apartment. As a servant of the Christen Ministry that serves the National Parks, she was unable to bear witness to the vulger and unsanitary conditions that surrounds us, and has been granted housing at Paradise. I was hoping that her goodness would penetrate through the morality sucking vampires that I live with but their unholiness was to powerful for her. I have been using all my natural and supernatural powers to ward off the veil of evil but there's not enough sage in the Pacific Northwest to purify the house. I, too, am hoping to flee to Paradise as soon as possible to seek those who have similar interests like goodness, the earth and light-hearted humor.