We’ve had a glorious summer in the Northwest. So good that we forget that the weather god may just throw a tantrum on a long weekend camping trip. I am not kidding about the tantrum because it just downright poured thunderstorm for three days while the week before and after was nothing but sun. I hung my virtual teru teru bozu with no use either. We were determined to go despite of all our friends’ trips being canceled or changed. All because Peter’s father used to say, “There is no bad weather. There is only bad gear.”
We drove off in rain towards Mt Baker. To our surprise, we met sun breaking out of rain storms up north. We felt triumphant, kept on driving toward the thunderstorm clouds in the cascades as if we were the crusaders that would eventually bring sunlight. But the thick clouds turned into thick fog when we drove to the trail heads at the top of Mt. Baker. With limited visibility, even pheasants wondered within our reach with no fear. We drove down the mountain and found the trailhead to Canyon Ridge near the entrance of Mt Baker area. A thin windy dirt road meandered for a good 16 miles before we reached the trail head. It was dry and no fog. What could be better right? Peter played with a really adorable puppy at the parking lot while we ate lunch. They loved each other, making me a third wheel.
Within the first mile of the hike, we reached a couple of adorable lakes, gleaming in the sun, lined with soft meadows. One would think a landscape architect might have designed the place, trail turned into boardwalk, blueberry bushes exuding juice fragrance. Weeds float atop the water making sketches like pencil shading. But alas, maybe luckily, there were mosquitos which kept us moving on.
The trail was lightly wooded, with few hikers due to unforeseeable weather. The slow ascent afforded us to stop and pick blueberries along the way. They tasted differently, sometimes with a hint of sage, pine, or honey. Mushrooms of varieties of shades and shapes camouflaged themselves like wooden stumps. They looked tempting. Keep to the blue little devils, I told myself. We found a huge patch of short blueberry bushes when the trail opened up to the ridge. We picked and ate and picked and decided to pick a whole bag of them for dessert at night.
Once the trail opened up on the ridge, we were pleased to see sun light piercing through clouds like cotton balls. The air was refreshing and we lost track of how far we’ve gone. The mountain ridges in the far distance called to us to go further and further. Late afternoon, we knew we would need to turn around soon. Peter picked a hill top for which we almost had to scramble a short but strenuous path to get to. The first step at the top immediately took my breathe away with a 360 view of the mountain ranges all around us. The clouds were thick hovering over the ridge tops. And at a distance, shower of sun ray poured into a valley. We sat down inspecting the view like we were king and queen of the valleys. We drank in the wind, the sun, and ate the sweet corn and sausage we brought for the road. The best view is one that is shared with your sweet heart, I thought. The sun was setting, we waved to the next hilltop down the trail and turned around. We needed to find a private forest and hide inside of Bronco for the next 12 hours for a good long sleep.
The Labor Day weekend trip was nearly three weeks ago. Life has taken a turn for stress. I am on a hunt for a safe harbor where I can row a little crew shell in peaceful water. This weekend, in another 4 hours, I’ll be on another great outdoor adventure with my sweet heart, a couple of beluga friends. Into the wild we shall go, where lakes only reflect the colors of the sky, trees only hear the sounds of birds, men and women only know of love, just and optimism.