Last night as I listened to the bell chime on the porch thrashing wildly about, I was grateful for the day behind me. I had risen, as I often do, two full hours before sunrise and I was on the road as twilight shifted from nautical to civil in the morning sky.
This time before dawn is what feeds me these days. It is the stillness and the anticipation that leave me without words or any need to find them. It is the subtle reminder I need to live in the moments.
This morning the rain has returned. This time last year and the year before we were waking to red sun skies, filtered through the haze of wildfire smoke. We have been fortunate so far this summer. Mama Nature is in a gentle, restful space.
Wednesday night I pondered where I might spend my Thursday. I had been digging through books, trying to find a place that would leap off the page. A friend checked in about her day at Grand Park and our conversation led me to a decision. I may venture into Grand Park through the backdoor in the fall, but Paradise was calling my name and the weather looked perfect.
I’ve pushed myself on this vacation. The nights and mornings can be challenging on my body but staying active is the key to the Universe for me. Venturing into the wilderness has unseen benefits as I take in the bounty it has to offer. I have at least four more hikes planned in the coming week and I am counting on nature’s medicine to see me through.
I ventured up the Skyline trail counter-clockwise and took the Paradise Glacier trail at the junction. As busy as this part of the park gets on a beautiful August day, this trail is quiet. I like that the masses stay on the more traditional routes. This trail is moderate, dusty and surprising as you hit the crest. You’ll pass the most amazing little tarn about a mile in that reflects Her Majesty in the clear, deep blue water. The trail is dotted with bursts of color that jump out of the otherwise gray, rocky landscape. At 1.5 miles the maintained trail ends and the exploration begins.
You can make it down to the waters edge by carefully navigating the loose rock and fragile flora emerging in this most unlikely place. Knowing how gently this area must be traversed makes me grateful it is one of the “roads less traveled” here at Paradise.
You are stepping now on glacial till. There are mosses and sedges claiming this newly exposed ground near the blue green water crashing and pooling as it races down from the mountain. There were ice caves here for decades but the change in climate has caused a massive recession of the glacier and the caves no longer exist. Lots to read about this glacier and the ice caves. This is a eyes-wide-open example of what a change in climate looks like.
The water is frigid coming off of the Paradise glacier, the air is crystal clear and the colors leap out at you. Watching this water spill over these rocks is like witnessing a sexy dance that moves quickly from anticipation to a satisfying burst of release . Everything rushes toward that place of blissful content as it flows gently downstream into Stevens Creek.