Saturday, August 31, 2013

In God alone my soul finds peace. Spray Park and Mt Rainier

I realize as I am hiking on the trail, through incredible scenery and sometimes dull scenery, that only God provides rest and peace.  As I shed the noise and the distractions, as I my mind slows down from the busy thoughts of the "to do list" at home, I relax and open my mind to the created world around me and the Creator. I am no longer separate or isolated.  I am, once again, close to the Source of all being.

Calliope hummingbird

Spray Park, Mt Rainier

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thankfulness. From the William O Douglas Wilderness and Spray Park

As I hiked into and through the William  O Douglas Wilderness and Spray Park in Mt Rainier National Park, my heart was continually lifted up by the glorious Creation the Lord has blessed us with.  The moments of sheer, overwhelming beauty pushed the tiredness away from my aging body.  Spiritually, at least, I was lift up like an eagle--and at least my mind could hike and not grow weary.

Thankfulness, gratitude for His Blessings, filled me.  It was good to be in His "spaces"--vast skies and tall mountains as well as small wildflowers and flowing meadows.

Spray Park, Mt Rainier

Mt Adams, Goat Rocks, William O Douglas Wilderness

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Spray Park, Mt Rainier National Park

Located in the less frequented northwest corner of Mt Rainier National Park, Spray Park bursts forth in the densest and most colorful wildflowers I have ever experienced. From the trailhead at Mowich Lake, Bob and I hiked up and down and up and down, and finally steeply up to reach Spray Park.  The meadows begin at about 6000 feet and continue in a tier like fashion to about 6800 feet. Just as the Sperry Glacier hike in Glacier National Park took Meg and me through multiple levels of waterfalls, the Spray Park trail took Bob and me into multiple layers of wildflower meadows and ponds.

If you are in Seattle in August, the drive to Mowich Lake and the subsequent hike into Spray Park is well worth the time.  There is walk in campground at the end of the road with twenty five campsites (the walk is quite short)  if you have time to spend the night--a better option because you will have more time to enjoy the hike.

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in the William O. Douglas Wilderness

Bob, my Pacific Crest Trail hiking partner, and I enjoyed a recent two and a half day, thirty mile backpack through the William O. Douglas Wilderness portion of the PCT in Washington. Justice Douglas served forty one years on the US Supreme Court, the longest tenure of any Justice (although Justice Stevens may soon surpass that record).  He grew up in Yakima, WA and developed a passion for the outdoors and strong conservationist ethic.  Most of his summers were spent at Goose Prairie near the wilderness named after him.

Starting at White Pass, the trail meanders through dense trees, and above continuing meadows and lakes.  Then it rises steeply and goes over and along one the crests of the Cascades. Mt Rainier is "in your face" beautiful, and in fact the trail traverses through the far eastern edge of Mt Rainier National Park. It drops again into beautiful Dewey Lake, only to rise relentlessly toward a final pass before dropping down to Chinook Pass. Lakes, rivers, mountain peaks, wildflowers, huckleberries and blueberries--what could be any better in the outdoors! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The mystery of forgiveness

"I believe with all my heart that the mystery of forgiveness is the entire Gospel.  When you 'get' forgiveness, you get it.  We use the phrase 'falling in love.' I think forgiveness is almost the same thing.  It is a mystery we fall into: the mystery is God.  God forgives all for being imperfect, broken, and poor.  When we know God, we meet  a lover, not a dictator. God is never found to be an abusive father or a tyrannical mother, but always a lover who  is more than we dared hope for.  How different than the 'account manager' that most  people seem to worship."  Fr Richard Rohr

Bird Woman Falls, Glacier National Park

On the way to Sperry Glacier

Friday, August 9, 2013

Some deep thoughts about forgiveness from Father Thomas Keating

"Vulnerability means to be hurt over and over again without seeking to love less, but more. Divine love is sheer vulnerability--sheer openness to giving.  Being vulnerable means loving one another as Christ loved us.  If we did not have to forgive people, we would have no way of manifesting God's forgiveness toward us.  We pass on the mercy we ourselves have received. The best way to receive divine love is to give it away, and the more we pass it on, the more we increase our capacity to receive."  Father Thomas Keating

Feather Woman Falls near Sperry Chalet

Hells Canyon and the Seven Devils Mts

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Close encounters of the goat kind

As you know from a previous post, Meg and I enjoyed an excellent day hike from the Sperry Chalet to the Sperry Glacier. The hike climbed steadily through four levels of waterfalls and lakes, before reaching a high snow field that led the Sperry Glacier.

To reach this last level, Meg and I had to climb up through Comeau Pass, a cleft in the rock wall that had been widened to create steps.  A plastic covered steel cable provided protection and balance.  Meg was ahead a me, when she stopped and said, "Eric, there is a mountain goat looking down at me.  Who has the right of way?" Fortunately the goat was merely curious and allowed Meg to continue upwards.  I did get some memorable shots, including the last one of a young goat kid.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Moving beyond our narrow circles

"Love is like the mustard seed that grows into the tree. As the love of a married couple can shelter children and family, the love of friends can reach out to others. Prayer is a time when we can ask the Lord that our love grows and that our concern for others and for the world reaches out beyond the narrow circles of 'our' people."

Feather Woman Falls, Sperry Chalet

Wallowa Lake, NE Oregon