Searching for Intangibles: Part 2


Four days after our much-shortened hike up the Stagman Ridge Trail, we decided to head up into the mountains again.

Jonathan on Shorthorn Trail, through burn

This time, we took the Shorthorn Trail, another opportunity to get up to the base of Mount Adams’ glacial field, another chance to see Looking Glass Lake, which, when viewed at the right angle we were told, held a perfect reflection of the peak.

The trail on that foggy, drizzly overcast day led us into a burn which had happened several years before. Tall black trees stood, their species difficult to identify by bark or leaf. Now, instead, they took on an unexpected individuality.

Charred fallen bark

Each tree, exposed and seemingly vulnerable as its bark fell off in sheets and its charred limbs curled and bent, developed a unique character.

A peaceful druid. A dancer at rest. A watcher of the night.

Outline of burned tree

We walked amongst the trees in silence, letting the hush surround us. It did not feel eerie at all. To the contrary, it was oddly peaceful. Instead of a sense of death and destruction, there was a sense of possibility, of resurgence. A forest in flux. Aren’t we all.

Moments of enchantment appeared----the white tufts of beargrass lighting our way, and tiny brown creeper fledglings popping in and out of their nest under a loose piece of bark to scoot up the seared trunk.

Bear Grass

Beargrass

Brown Creeper fledgling

Baby Brown Creeper

But I found myself struggling.

Panting for breath, trudging on feet that felt like I was trodding on hot clods of clay, pumping forward with my trekking poles (I call them my giddy-ups) to propel my burning thighs onward, determined to conquer my looming MS fatigue, I contemplated that age-old question.

Why, exactly, was I doing this?

(The finale, Searching for Intangibles: Part 3, next Tuesday!)


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