Slowly at first, then all at once …

The mountains are calling and I must go”
– John Muir

So much for good sleep. It’s been weeks. I’m in this pattern that I can’t shake. Go to bed tired, hit the pillow and my brain kicks in questioning every decision I’ve ever made. Not just big ones either. There is an endless supply if all of them are tossed in the mix. Sigh. In maybe an hour, I manage to drift off. Two hours later I’m awake again.

I like to imagine John Muir was an insomniac too. Either that or this passion for witnessing the emergence of first light is a thing. It may even have a name, though I don’t know what it would be. No matter. My day began early. The really great ones always do.  Beginning of story …


Today may have been the first time in months that I was a little hesitant to get started on the trail. The drive was easy and uneventful (my favorite kind) but when I got to the trailhead in the dark I wasn’t sure which direction to go. So I wandered along the road and watched first light hit the mountain. I headed back to the trailhead and slowly chose a direction.

Naches Peak should be a loop hike. Short and sweet. 3.2 miles with spectacular views. I chose to go counter-clockwise. Mistake number one.


I headed up and heard animal noises I didn’t recognize. Sigh. The sun as it was coming up was in my eyes and it added to my uneasy feeling. But I kept going. Mistake number two.

When it finally seemed to open up, the view was lovely, but mostly behind me. I kept going until I hit a flat that looked down on what I assumed was Dewey Lake. My view was into the sun. I kept walking. It didn’t feel right. I checked my fitbit only to realize I was already beyond the 3 mile mark. Then I got a little worried. I came upon a sign for William O Douglas Wilderness. I don’t remember seeing that in the description or on the map.


So I turned around and went back.

Better view on the downside but I missed the loop. I’m terrible with direction. I think maybe I got good handwriting in a trade for an internal compass. I should probably learn to read a map. Or something.

Tipsoo Lake seemed like a place of ritual. I loved it. The light was “just so”.


When I left the parking lot I turned left when I should have turned right. Mistake number three. I drove 10 miles in the wrong direction before realizing I didn’t recognize anything. Oh, I’m REALLY bad with direction.



Stevens Canyon was a week away from screaming beautiful. Color is spreading across the hills and I know I’ll be back before it closes for winter.

After my ridiculous delay I finally made it to Reflection Lakes and the trailhead to Pinnacle Peak. Whew.


I love this trail.

All mistakes erased.

New beginning.
It’s my new favorite place.
No, really.
It’s up, up, up … but less than two miles to the saddle. Gor-ge-ous !!
Fall here happens like falling in love happens. Slowly at first, then all at once ♡
No other words really needed.
See for yourself: Honestly, it’s obvious why I go, isn’t it ? Why I love it so much ?
My body is in distress tonight but my heart is bursting. Really bursting. Really.
This quote seems to fit even for those of us who aren’t long-distance hikers.
I’ve grown outside the puzzle too.

       Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.  – Cindy Ross

And did I mention there was pie ?
Really good pie ♡

6 Comments on “Slowly at first, then all at once …

  1. Loved it all, but really loved the puzzle quote. I don’t hike, but I travel, and that is exactly how I feel when I return from traveling. I’ve grown outside the puzzle… but growth is good, and puzzles have a way of figuring themselves out, most times. Also glad to hear you were listening to your inner voice on those missteps. That gives me a skosh of peace.

    • Oh yes, growth is always good. And puzzles, well, I suppose ‘mostly’ they figure themselves out. The one thing you know about me is that I follow my heart where it leads. Be equally sure that I always trust my gut when the way forward is not clear. Thanks for being here *

  2. Oh girl, so great. Beginning to end. (And what a great quote!) But, you read WTA description! It clearly says go clockwise! I find that I’m so happy to have a compass in my car and on my phone. Then I realize it doesn’t really help if I don’t know which direction I’m supposed to be going or which way I was going when I started. Would be very helpful to get in the habit of looking at it when I’m not lost, so I know which way to go to get back on track!

    I’m watching for a good day next week to take my mom’s ashes to Paradise. Autumn. It’s a sigh of relief by all things introverted. When even the leaves seem to be happy to be supported by the ground instead of holding themselves upright, waving in the summer breezes.

    Thank you for the beauty.

    • Thank you, G. This comment reads like beautiful prose on its own. Thanks to you I am quite familiar with the High Skyline trail at Paradise. I am eager to know where you will lovingly release the ashes of your Mama and look forward to all that will grow in its place. ♡

  3. Thank you for your beautiful words and beautiful photos. I have John Muir’s quote tattooed around my ankle 🙂 The mountains keep calling me back over and over and over again…

    • Thank you so much Andrea ! It was a pretty awesome day and I may go back next week ! So much is changing every day up there. I imagine John Muir loved the shifting seasons too. 


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