My final days hiking on the PCT had a certain lightness of being. First, my pack was becoming lighter as I consumed my daily granola, tortillas and trail mix. Second, my legs and heart had strengthened during the daily routine of hiking up and down mountain passes. Third, after my fall in Sitkum creek, my loss of glasses gave everything a kind of dream-like quality. Finally, I had been using my phone as a camera and the battery began to die so I took fewer pictures. All this meant that I simply tried to be in the moment.
On day six, I was traveling along some of the most beautiful alpine country in the North Cascades. The alpine lupine and Indian paintbrush were abundant. The clouds cleared from around Glacier Peak and it remained the dominate peak to my north even as I hiked south.
The temperatures rose and I decided to take a quick dip in Lake Sally Ann. The cold water renewed me after miles of dusty hiking.
Afterwards I came to a section of trail where a winter storm had blown down scores of trees across the trail. Later I met a trail crew that was slowly clearing the many down trees. I say “slowly” not because they were lazy, but rather because in Glacier Peak Wilderness Area they could only use hand tools. No gas power chain saws were allowed.
That night I camped at a small campsite near a small stream, thankful for the trail crews, the silence and the trail itself. The trial has many similarities to life. Though the path may be blocked at times, God shows a way around the obstacles.
On day seven I enjoyed a fine lunch on Grizzly Peak and a delightful afternoon swim in shallow Lake Janus. I had one last look at Glacier Peak before the trail dropped over a ridge.
My final campsite was by Lake Valhalla, only six miles from Steven’s Pass. The last morning on trail had a relaxed tempo. I knew that three of my four siblings would meet me on the trail around noon, so I took my time packing my tent and eating breakfast. I even relaxed in a mountain meadow to read for a time.
Less than a mile from Steven’s Pass, my siblings spotted me and we took a couple of pictures. They still wanted to hike a bit more, so they continued on up the trail while I headed to the car to clean up and change clothes.
In spite of the fall in Sitkum Creek and the lost glasses, I truly enjoyed my trip. The high alpine meadows, the majestic forests, the craggy peaks and the meandering trail all speak to my soul. I felt renewed and refreshed as I drove with my siblings back to Seattle. Though the Psalmist in Psalm 48 was writing about Mt. Zion, I take a much broader perspective, seeing all mountains with such beauty.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of the whole earth.
I am already pondering my next mountain trip. And yes, in case you are wondering, I will pack an extra pair of glasses and my hiking stick.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your peace that surpasses all human understanding.