Words cannot describe the immensity of the natural beauty that envelops us in what has become our day to day life on the trail. Our efforts to capture some of this beauty in photos will never capture the scene in its entirety nor can they ever capture the sounds and smells that make this trail so amazing.
We walk, and are given a natural spectrum kaleidoscope of color with every hue of green & brown. Now, with fall setting in, our kaleidoscope has been infiltrated with chunks of reds, yellows & oranges. With the days growing shorter, the colors spin a little more toward the fall spectrum, always something unique yet familiar for our sensory pleasure.
I am not much of a wine drinker, although we have many friends & family that are, and I have always wondered how they can pick up the bouquet and the minutest details of the different vintage & varietals... I imagine that over time they have simply learned to pick up unique notes just as we have learned to do the same in the woods.
While walking along our two foot pathway, moving 3 mph, we are taking in a broad picture... The ancient trees towering over the forest floor with the morning sun rays peaking through the over story & warming our chilled skin, we walk through an earthy smelling steam that mystically rises from our pathway.
We pick up on the whimsical detail as well, the microcosms of enchanted forests of lichen hanging delicately from the branches, the many layers of moss growing up bark & blanketing the Earth, rivaling 70's shag carpets... but our favorite details are the tiniest mushrooms & seeing the multitudes of life taking over decaying logs, trees taking root in its softness.
As we move through the days, we lock into our sensory memories the taste of the blackcap raspberries & wild blueberries, the perfume of the forests & the thickness of the air... My biggest delight is during a rain in a forest, where the duff is thick and spongy & the scent of the refreshed forest floor is sweet, crisp & new... as if Mother Earth is taking a cleansing exhale breath.
Sometimes we are given something so magical that we can't capture if we tried... We had set our tent on a private, sandy lakeside beach at Summit Lake in Oregon, we had gotten there after dark began to set, missing the lake view sunset.
At 3am nature called and we both climbed out of the tent to go pee... We were stunned! Spanning across the lake were glittering constellations of stars... Twinkling replicas of their space bound counterparts, we had a three dimensional planetarium laser light show that was all ours. We will have that forever. Not in a photograph but in our hearts, something that special will never fade.
David got me up at 3am a few days ago in order to get a leg up on our 30mi day that we had planned... His theory was that because it gets coldest between 6:00 & 7:00am (an unexpected fact out here), that if we were up and dressed by 3am we would be on the trail & hiking up a hill, building body heat during the 6am chill off & maximizing our morning miles.
We were out the door about 1/2hr before sunrise, a shadowed Mount Adams towering over our campsite, we set out for our biggest day with headlamps as our guides. Hiking by spotlight allows one to tune into only the immediate surroundings... The sparkling, frozen soil crunched under foot, it was the only sound of the early morning.
I could see the light emerging to greet the mountain, now to the east of us. We had miles to make but we needed to stop and take in this moment, to watch the sunrise behind Mount Adams. We set up our cameras for time lapse videos and cuddled up on a log to keep each other warm as the sky morphed from orange to pink and the mountain began to reveal its glacial details. This moment of enrapture is ours, a reward forever.
My heart is filled with indescribable & beautiful moments that words or photos will never do justice... My mom calls this beauty God. I call it Mother Nature. However you flip the coin, the only way I can describe it is... Fucking Phenomenal! (Sorry Momma for the language)