Saturday, August 8, 2009

Olympic Peninsula Trip

Once again the spell of the Olympic Peninsula beckoned and I heeded its call.  This time I drove up to Camp Parsons for their Friday Night Campfire.  The mountains were hidden by a thick layer of clouds as I drove along Highway 101.  I made it just in time for the campfire.  It was so nostalgic to participate in the songs and traditions at camp.  It was even better hanging out with Anne and Anton Kramer and their family.  I even got to eat some of Jack's birthday cake and listen to Monica tell me about her backpacking trip to Lena Lake.  I had such a nice time I forgot my toothbrush there.

Heading back south on Saturday I turned off Highway 101 at Hoodsport and entered Olympic National Park at Staircase.  My plan was to hike up to Wagonwheel Lake.  And just in case one missed this warning about the difficulty of this hike...

...the National Park Service posted a second sign.

Most of the time I hike with groups.  From time to time I need to hike by myself, so I'm not distracted by the conversations or responsibilities.  The way things have been going I needed some solitude to sort out my thoughts.  I needed an opportunity to watch the lichen flutter in the breeze, to observe how wisps of clouds playfully dance in the air, and notice how a Grouse carefully inches down a fallen log.

After reaching the egg shaped Wagonwheel Lake I could not resist checking out an unmaintained trail that led from the lake to a point 700 feet above the lake.  I found the trail, took a compass bearing, and headed upward.  Upon arrival at that point I was treated to a brief view of Saint Peter's Gate, Mt. Washington, Mt. Ellinor, Copper Mountain, and some of the Sawtooth Range.  Then the clouds returned.  It occurred to me that perhaps sometimes we live in the clouds, unable to see the big picture.  Then forces greater than ourselves, on their schedule, clear out the fog and provide a moment of clarity.  That though gave me a sense of peace as I ate my lunch, surrounded by clouds.

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