This blog post has nothing to do with photography or travel, but I composed this on the trail so close enough. Besides, it's my blog so here it goes :).
I recently got back in touch with my Great Aunt after over 15 years. Life circumstances changed for both of us, and lifestyles that didn't quite fit, and soon years piled up since last seeing her.
She lost her longtime husband about a year ago, and she still struggles with the hole left behind in a house packed with memories of a life spent together with him.
After a wonderful lunch, and catching up on the past 15 years, she wanted to show me around and point out the things that had some significance to the family. I'm grateful for what I have, but I'm not a "stuff" person, except for maybe camera gear. She's planning ahead and figure out what will go to whom when time eventually catches her also. The practical matter of things is houses eventually need to be emptied, and family history passed down to the next generation.
Ancestry and family history isn't my life's passion at this point in my life, but it's hard not to have a sense of awe looking at things that have been in the family since before the Civil War. It's an amazing gift to see some of the things my ancestors did and hear the stories around them.
Towards the end of the tour, we came to a coat closet. There was a corduroy jacket that my Great Uncle wore when the weather got cold hanging in there among others. She told me a bit about it and I could feel it was significant for her to offer it. She held it out for me to try on and I slipped it on.
The jacket is nice, but probably something I'd never pick out for myself. I joked that it would probably make people think I was a hipster when I wore it. She probably didn't know what a hipster was, but gave a chuckle and a smile and told me it looked good on me.
Something told me of all that was generously offered from the house, this was a true treasure she really wished to pass on. Truth be told, it might be a bit long for me also since my my Great Uncle was a lot taller than I. She had so many good memories of him in that jacket, she couldn't just send it to Goodwill.
This Winter, when the weather gets cold, I will be blessed to wear the warmth of this jacket. Though it may not fit perfectly, I can't imagine a jacket that would be more fitting. Love never belongs forgotten in the back of a closet.
This past week, I took an evening trip up to Silver Springs Campground after work to visit my kids who were camping there for the week. I've camped here several times before, but always enjoy exploring along the river and among the tall trees around the campground.
This year there was a thick haze of smoke from the fires in British Columbia that added a new twist to the experience. It was also record heat as on this day, temperatures climbed up into the mid to high 90s in the Seattle area. All in all a good day to head out of the city and spend some time along a cool river.
Every Spring we wonder how this campground weathered the long wet Winter, and if the river has claimed any of the campsites. Nature is always changing, sometimes subtly, sometimes drastically. Even this old favorite offers a few surprises after all these years.
Yesterday I hiked up Mount Washington for the first time. I've done a lot of hikes in the area over the years, and this one is certainly a memorable one. The app on my phone said about eight miles round trip, and 3,300 feet elevation gain. This is one of the harder hikes I've done in a while in terms of elevation gain, and often times the trail resembled a rocky stream bed more than a trail.
I climbed up steadily, leaving the dull roar of I90 behind. Even getting an early start, I was still working up quite a sweat as I navigated the rocky footing and steep grade.
It was still early enough in the season for wildflowers, and every so often the forest would open up enough to allow them to bloom and I'd get a glimpse of the surrounding mountains. I could see some of the spots I'd hiked before, McClellan Butte, Mt. Si, Little Si, and Rattlesnake Mountain. I wondered how many times I had gazed at this mountain from those vantage points.
While this hike has some big views, it also has some of those little gems too: the small brook you step over as it fills your ears with the sound of gently falling water, the sweet smell of the flowers and as they shake off their morning dew, the sun just cresting the peaks and gilding the treetops on the way to the valley floor.
Going early also afforded a fair amount of solitude, as I only encountered about half a dozen people on the way up. It was much more crowded coming down, as I passed dozens of hikers making their way to the top.
It was a great morning hike, and one that I may revisit in the Fall.
Welcome to my first blog, For my first trip to Mt. Rainier this year, I headed out on a cloudy Sunday morning with hopes of clearing weather and without a clear destination in mind.
After making my way through a few spats of drizzle, I entered the park from the Nisqually entrance. I like this route up to Paradise because there are so many waterfalls to choose from, and cloudy weather is great for photographing waterfalls.
I wandered up past the Longmire Museum and when I went by the Comet Falls trailhead, someone was pulling out. This was a sign! Parking here is always tight, so it was about time to see for myself what all the fuss was about.
The hike itself is less than two miles into the Falls, but it makes you work for it. Lots of steep steps and a few waterfalls along the way that would be worthwhile destinations in their own right. I crossed a small bridge with a three tier waterfall, stopping to take some pictures. I see the sign, Comet Falls, 200 feet. I rounded the corner and immediately saw what all the fuss is about! It's the tallest waterfall in the park, and the clouds were hugging the top of the falls. I couldn't ask for a better view. I definitely understood why parking was always tight, even when getting there early.
In addition to the stunning falls, there were wildflowers blooming. By the time I had my fill exploring, the sun was starting to poke through the thinning clouds.
After taking dozens of pictures, I made my way back down. There was already someone waiting to take my spot. I grabbed a quick lunch and headed out towards more sightseeing.
I was hoping to see the Grove of the Patriarchs, but it was jam packed when I went by. An adventure for another day.
I ended up driving up to Cayuse pass and then back down highway 410 towards Enumclaw. There were still a fair number of clouds, so clear views of Rainier were scarce. All in all a great first trip of the year. I'll be back!
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