The green national parks--Mountains in there somewhere

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Mt. Olympus and Rainier

September 28

October 1

October 10

I have left Olympic and arrived in Mt. Rainier National Park—two icy mountains with opposite personalities.  The top three pictures, taken from the same place during my sixteen days in Olympic Park, give a nostalgic review of the coming and going of fall colors—colors of the final third of life. Click on them to make life bigger.

This is my last and closest view of elusive Mt. Olympus.  Half as high as Mt. Rainier, it remains shy and hidden most of the time.  It requires great effort to get to know it.  Often it does not show itself even to those who expend the effort, trudging for days in wilderness.  It likes to be alone.  


Mt. Rainier, in contrast, stands in the faces of almost everyone in western Washington.  I climbed its slopes today and looked into the crevasses of two of its glaciers.  But that’s a story for another time. 

My circle of four icy peaks is nearly over, and soon normality of Pasadena returns.  This blog has been a sequence of spots in a large picture, told and shown as they happened.  Now an arching picture is coming, a story, perhaps not sequential, but maybe coherent. 

I thank you for following my missives and pictures. 

See what may be the final edition of a map prepared by Michael Angerman, showing all of my nightly sleeping places:    Michael's Map 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

At Work’s End

Below the high peaks
which have no trees
another show begins
of short-lived folk
who know their common place  

Leaves don’t rely on rumor to know their place
they give all summer to their growing tree
working folk who know earth’s tilt
and when rotation leans it north

“one little show
and then we’ll go
our work is done”    

She invites me to lay an eye
with her small leaf
and take an insect-view
its network of veins
it’s plan
green chlorophyll disintegrating
revealing other colors
art and wisdom in its ending  

All beside the trail
a curtain rises
October rains will come and go
but will not stop this lovely show 

Along the road old leaves turn from working green, their useful lives are ending.  They loosen from the branch and flutter breathless to the ground, falling without regret because baby leaves sprout in spring.  


"O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.  (continued)

Before the leaves can mount again
to fill the trees with another shade,
they must go down past things coming up.
They must go down into the dark decayed."
                                  Robert Frost     

See the trail that me led me to this show on a map prepared by Michael Angerman, showing all of my nightly sleeping places. Please click here:  Michael's Map 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Hoh River Rainforest

Rainforest is beautiful, and more so when the rain stops.  Thick moss covers the ground in a blanket of green.  It climbs over boulders, and the rounded shapes of fallen trees.  Seedlings sprout from mossy rotted logs, and saplings vie for a place in the scarce sun where a tree fell and took several smaller ones with it.  I smell the rich dank luxuriant growth and decay. 

Monster trees have ruled here for centuries and I’m the young Alice in this wonderland.  Tourists have mostly gone away now at the onset of wet winter.  I hike mostly alone.  Redwood-sized spruce trees along the river.  

They began as playmates
with childish games

now in midlife
they entwine
in other games

deep desires
in a dark forest   

beach umbrellas
on a rotting log
what do they hide
and why on a cloudy day     

take my hand, come into my lair
let us talk of many things
the forest wraps itself in secrets  

we’re a close-knit group
everything together
siblings if you will
you come too  

Planted by a river of water
he bore fruit in his season
his leaf did not wither

when he finally fell
children perched on his stump
and built upon his ways.   

let us stand in a circle
no matter what the others say
our backs are what they see.  

You can walk the trail that me led to this place using a map prepared by Michael Angerman, showing all of my nightly sleeping places. Please click here:  Michael's Map 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Snowy Highlands


Looking down on Puget sound and Canada’s Vancouver Island far in the distance—a heavenly view on earthly things. 

I bought a white jeep because white is the most visible color. 

Mount Olympus is just to the right of center in the picture at the top. This much zoomed-in shot is one I hope to improve on from closer positions in the days ahead. 

Hiking up from road’s end in the morning—so refreshing, so invigorating.  Alone with the snow, the ice and a few trees.  

Sparse trees on this alpine ridge are all it will support with an average snowfall of thirty-two feet.  Higher on the mountain, no vertical tree can survive.  

Approaching the top, I met a couple of lone hikers on this cold trail.  They didn’t say much.  I have a theory that the grandeur of a place is inversely proportional to how much hikers talk. 

The visitors center is closed, but sports an interesting sign. 

You can walk the trail that me led to this place using a map prepared by Michael Angerman, showing all of my nightly sleeping places. Please click here:  Michael's Map 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Islands in Puget Sound

If their shorelines could all be measured, around every small rock at low tide, the islands in Puget Sound must have ocean frontage totaling thousands of miles. 

To see Port Townsend at sunrise would have been enough to justify the drive from Port Angeles, but I was here to catch a ferry bound for an island on a tantalizing invitation to meet someone I had never met.   

Bill Ferry invited me to board the ferry at Port Townsend near my vacation motel in Port Angeles for a half-hour sailing to Couperville on Whidbey Island, where he lives.  

That’s him in the doorway of a blockhouse, built to protect settlers from Indian attack.  He doesn’t live in a blockhouse but he looks like he could. 

Bill drove us up a very steep and narrow road to the top of a hill on Fidalgo Island.  Lands great and small, peopled and vacant, rose from the sea below us, each surrounded with ocean water,  becoming fainter as the most distant islands blended with the sea.  The view from there is in the top two pictures.  

One island in particular appeals to me as a place to live.  Isolated, all to myself, yet close enough to the social world, if desired.  

The steep and rugged coastline of Fidalgo Island near Deception Pass Bridge is like a pleasant memory.  My first job out of college was in Fort Bragg, California, near cliffs like these. 
I often find that comments on my pictures relate to the commenter’s own experiences, not to the subject at hand.  And now I’m doing it.   

We enjoyed an excellent lunch at the best fish place on Whidbey Island according to Bill.  Seabolt’s Smokehouse 31640 SR 20 #3.  Oak Harbor, WA 360 675 6485   

Calm water in the Sound today, clear air, good company, and the thrill of a good place I have never been before—it’s my kind of travel.  Thank you Bill.  

You can walk the trail that me led to this situation using a map prepared by Michael Angerman, showing all of my nightly sleeping places. Please click here:  Michael's Map   Thank you, Michael.