It’s that rut we carve for ourselves. Driving the same road, to the same park entrance, to hike the same trails, to see the same views. Which, when it comes to Mount Rainier, ain’t all that bad.
It’s like parting our hair on the same side. Today. And forever.
Until we don’t.
Until through a friend’s inspiration, we find ourselves seventy-five miles from home on the opposite side of the mountain staring super-heroically at its backside.
This is Sunrise.
Or rather the hairpin curve before Sunrise–the destination before the destination–where everybody fumbles for their cameras to gawk at God’s awesomeness.
That peak in the center is Little Tahoma. Spectacular from this side of the mountain.
And looking down the opposite side of the hairpin is this. And these.
Thousands of individual tooth picks.
Almost to Sunrise now.
This will be the best we see the mountain for the clouds.
This is where our trail begins. Or everybody’s trail. Seems anyone going anywhere begins here.
We’re headed to the Fremont Lookout Trail, which will separate from this main trail in 1.5 miles.
Now, if we bother to look to our left…
Or look up at all…
Or even just park it a second to breathe…
We’ll be awed by God’s detail in even the rocks.
This is Frozen Lake. Which, with the clouds rolling in, isn’t in any hurry to thaw.
Around a couple more bends is the sign for the Mount Fremont Trail.
Now the only thing clear at this moment is that where we’re headed, the sky won’t be. Clear, that is.
There might be a mountain up ahead.
We just won’t be seeing it.
But at our feet our these.
And a whole bunch of these.
Yards and yards of these.
And snow, too.
Which must be stomped on, poked to death and thrown.
Then there it is. The lookout.
Lonely in the clouds.
But. In an anticlimactic sort of way…
Veni, Vidi, Vici!
Minus the Vidi part. And the Vici.
Because, really, right there. Right. There.
Is Mount Rainier.
Completely hidden, like we’re about to be, in the clouds.
But in the rocks–these cracks–just before we turn back…
Our own Rainier.
Left behind by someone who would not know the value of their trash. On this day.
At this moment.
We came to see Rainier.
Rainier we have seen.
And so it’s back into the clouds.
With heavy footsteps through the rocks.
And red-cold fingers sucked up into our sleeves.
Until the sky gives reprieve and the sun begins to tease.
And the familiar peaks we passed an hour ago…
Fade in. Then out. Of focus.
Here the legs are weary. The knees shaky. The stomach discontent.
But the heart…
The heart is wholly full.