We backed out of the garage into the grey morning light and left sea level for the heights. By the time we reached the rain shadow of the Cascades, it was doing just that. The car kept ascending even though we were going through the small communities in the foot hills and had not left the areas of civilization and Saturday errands.
The highway became two lanes and steeply moved us into the canopy of Evergreens lining the sides of the road. Rain cleared. There was the sign telling us that we were entering the National Park and we were almost alone on our way. As we ascended spectacular views began to appear of the deep valleys and rivers rushing below, the clouds lazily drifting up through the heavily forested hillsides and to the blue sky telling of the heat on just the other side of this Mountain Pass. Clear, pristine blue sky beckoning.
Although it was before noon, we stopped at Chinook Pass – Lake Tipsoo and pulled into the parking lot to stretch our legs and breathe deeply the fresh cloudy air. We did not take our Naches Peak hike or climb onto the Pacific Crest Trail, instead we circled the small parking lot a few times and then sat at the picnic tables to eat our lunch. On the table was posted a sign about keeping the Wild Life WILD and we promised to do our part. A fellow on a bicycle stopped for a rest, water and a small visit; he was ready for the winding decent on the highway with almost no shoulders; cut out rock wall on one side and dramatic drop-offs on the other and of course the cars.
Another pause, as we said a small prayer of gratitude for the beauty and a wee word for the spirit of the Ambassador who was recently killed in Syria and whose Great Grandfather was the Chief of the Chinook Nation; it was the right thing to do.
We descended into the desert of the Yakima (Yak eh mah) Valley and the cloudless 80 degree autumn day. We followed the river and were amazed to see and refresh our knowledge at the massive orchards, grape vines, hops and wineries that have bloomed in this area for so many years. We were going to the Central Washington State Fair to celebrate what would have been a 96th birthday at the best party she always attended.
Fair was okay. Fair was extremely crowded. Company and conversation was very good. Best part of the fair was observing the full moon rise over the bare, golden, pink, purple hills into the forest fire haze of color and then into the clear blues of the night sky. WOW.
Now we return home and once again ascend the Mountain Pass from the other side. There is not a cloud in the sky and a great many people are hiking the trails and around the lake. As we approach the lake a brown bear runs across the road into the meadow on the other side of the road and then disappears into the tree line of the Pacific Crest Trail. I could not get my camera in position in time to snap a picture and young bear just wanted to get away from all the folks in the parking area and in a hurry.
My heart and eyes were amazed by the sheer beauty of the sights on the mountain. The ground cover turning maroon, the Queen Ann’s lace still gracing the roadway, and the numerous waterfalls just a rock cut away. The peak of the mountain in it’s snowy glacier wrap caught the sun and the blue background with perfection. It was the real thing and yet there was perfection to its nature.
As we left the park and entered the town beyond the gates I began to discover a sadness which has not left me. To think if one man is voted into office in November 100 million acres of this treasure will be sold and clear cut, if one man is voted to be Governor of this state another huge part of our State Park system will be demolished and sold. Apparently we are paying too much for these earthly gifts, and they could make one or two people a great deal of money, and this would help the National Debt….
….sometimes we do not know what we’ve lost until it’s gone.
Have you lost something that you did not realize until it was gone?