Thursday, September 30, 2004

This is Why We Hike

McKenzie Pass, Oregon

September 9, 2004

Breaking out of the woods was glorious this morning. The three huge volcanoes named The Sisters sat above cloud-filled valleys. Mist rose ghostly above smooth pond waters. A wide undulating valley of yellow grass, over which the PCT snaked, took us ever closer to the snowy dark red top of South Sister. The land was open, big, breathtaking ... and though it was cloudy all day, the land seemed to glow with a life and vibrance from within. We hadn't seen the likes of this since ... the Sierra ... or ever?

Tirelessly we walked. Four spruce grouse and a doe and her fawn graced us by not running away. They watched us, and me them. All seemed so peaceful.

And yet the day grew ever more enchanting and wondrous. Eagle and I laughed and took photos and felt so lucky to be in such a place. We never knew to expect this level of natural beauty to be associated with volcanoes we'd never even heard of until we hiked here.

Whether it was brought on by the solitude of the day, by the grandeur, or by the sheer number of miles behind me now, I experienced a moment of profound spiritual enlightenment. For a tiny moment in time, as I walked over black obsidian rocks beneath the neon blue belly of a hanging glacier, I felt a true peace with myself and the world. Everything I was, am or will be seemed part of a circle, connected to the mountains and trees, to my friends and family. Joy welled up inside me, and I breathed deeply and clearly.

My feet carried me along the feet of the Middle Sister and eventually to the stark immense lava flows that came from the North Sister over 400 years ago. New Earth created from within.

I remained content and relaxed, and the feeling of belonging here stayed, too. I felt wrapped in it, part of it, content in every way. I thought, if I had to stay here forever, I'd be completely whole and happy, surrounded by this Creation and saturated with sensation. There is so much to see, smell, touch, and hear.

--From Nocona's PCT Journal

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Four Months Later ...

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