Nisqually retreating, wildfires advancing, Andy adventuring
Happy September, friends. I hope you are well and Covid-free, and making a difference in your community. The wildfires of Oregon are in full Hulk-smash mode, so we're keeping vigilant.
What I've learned this summer:
Mt. Rainier is still awesome. But its glaciers are shrinking. When I first visited back 2005 (Old man voice: "...When I was your age, we had to ride up in a mule cart!"), I could see the Nisqually glacier from the bridge. Now? Not visible at all from bridge. It's melted far, far back. So ask yourself, am I helping or hurting with my carbon footprint? I was motivated enough to switch our home electricity energy off fossil-fuels to being sourced from renewable energy--you can, too!
You may think, "Less snow? Big deal!" But then ask yourself, "More hurricanes, bigger wildfires, record setting heat-temps? Am I okay with these?"
Environmental point made. Moving on to today's story: taking the trail less traveled works... sometimes.
I was inspired by World's Toughest Race in Fiji and after hiking to this spot above Pinnacle Peak at the end of August I thought, "Wouldn't it be fun to see the mountain from a new angle?" And so I began the trail less traveled. At first, it was serene and easy, and downhill! Then I got to here:
Well, I'm already well off the path, I thought. No sense in going back. How would a mountain goat get down from here? Answer: Zig-zags!
That worked fairly well (no avalanches) but then my next challenge was battling through forest growth...with no paths. Right about then I fully realized my folly... 1,000+ feet below, and with no sight to, the main trail. So after battling bushes, I followed a stream up.
While beautiful, the stream stopped at edge of steep boulder field. Sigh. Back to the dense bushes and spiderwebs, all on a fairly steep hillside... keep going, keep going... woah!... keep going... I wasn't in the mood to take pictures.
After some progress, I came to a ravine, with the only route across (within view) down a fallen tree.
After having destroyed my old phone in June in a creek near the Redwoods, I was extra cautious. Not pictured: holding onto moss for dear life while side-climbing out of the ravine. Okay, now which way? Follow the nonexistent path of course!
Every so often my GPS would work, kindly reminding me how far I was from the now pined-for trail.
An hour later, scratched and sweating profusely, I made it out alive. My wife and kids, who had all taken the smarter, out-and-back trail and were rightly annoyed by waiting for Dad, deserve the real kudos here. On a funny note, when my wife saw the picture she asked, "Who is Mr. G?" "Your overly ambitious husband, of course."
My lesson was simple: when taking the trail less traveled, be sure it's an actual trail, and not wishful forest thinking. Next time, I will do the tried and true, out-and-back method, as my smart wife and kids recommend (all along).
The view... from where I left the trail.
Message of the week: Be kind to people, as our nation needs a lot more of it.
Books I've enjoyed this summer: The Alchemist (for inspiration and treasure hunting), Homer and Langley (for quirkiness, American history, perils of hoarding), A Long Way from Chicago (great for kids and wonderfully told), and The House of the Spirits (for breadth of family legacy, strong characters, and views of South American life).
How's my next book coming along? I'm making progress, around the end of Act 1 (in the usual 3 Act configuration). Point-of-views are from Gemry and Brenner and a couple others (whereas Games of Ganthrea was largely Brenner's POV). Math I didn't realize I'd have to do: figuring out travel speeds for wagons, boats, and flying spellcasters.
Thank you for your encouraging reviews on Amazon! Every time a zip-line sings, an angel gets its wings. And every time you give a positive review on Amazon, an author is inspired to write a new chapter. Cause and effect, people! Help out angels and authors alike: Go nuts with reviews and bells. :)