A Day Away

My apologies in advance for the lopsided ratio of photos to words. Sometimes I really believe the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words and it seems oddly redundant to go on and on. 

It’s been a really busy month and somewhere in there spring happened. Not just on the calendar though. Everywhere. I’ve been itching to get out and have a little mountain time. Even though the weekly forecast was rather dismal it looked like Wednesday would offer a break. And that is all I ever need to pack up my faith and patience and head out. 

I was in the car just after 4:30 am with the hope of arriving at Mount St Helens at sunrise. Easy drive at that hour. Fog, clouds and glimpses of sky. Once I turn onto HWY 504 I wouldn’t see another soul (or car) until 11. 

Both viewpoints along the way are buried in snow but the road is clear and dry all the way to the Hummocks trailhead parking lot. I stopped at Coldwater Lake to use the restroom (a reliable pit stop) only to find it locked up with a sign saying the closest available restroom was at Johnston Ridge. What? The road to Johnston Ridge is also buried in snow and gated just beyond Hummocks trailhead. On a good year it opens in late April. Never have I remembered seeing it open in March. Sigh.ย 

The lake trails were covered in snow and there were more animal tracks than those of boots or snowshoes. Hmmm. With no one around I quickly find a spot, all the while mindful of potential company. 

At the trailhead for Hummocks I am completely alone. After an unfortunate accidental discharge of my bear spray (it works!) I hit the trail. Snow, cornflower blue sky and birdsong all around. I am in heaven. It almost brings me to tears to be in such a magnificent place knowing I am the only person in billions of people on the planet to be enjoying these views in this moment. Filled with gratitude, I move through the snowy woods. Humbled. 

Before I leave I head back to the lake to take one more walk out to the boardwalk. It is surreal the way clouds are reflected in the water. Stunning to be the sole witness on this gorgeous day. I hear a pair of geese squawking up a storm and follow their path along the water. It’s mating season and I witness these two in the water just ahead of me. Both bobbing their heads, dunking in and out of the water, until the male mounts her. It’s fascinating to watch. That goose guy is quite animated and proud in the afterglow. 

My afternoon is spent at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. A few regulars and a few surprises. Always a joy to do this auto tour through the refuge. I don’t get many steps, but I get great exercise for my eyes. 

“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. Youโ€™ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”

-Ray Bradbury

15 Comments on “A Day Away

  1. What a balm! I want a never ending slideshow of your photos to play on my bedroom wall, or maybe the back of my eyelids. Thank you so much, Bonnie Rae. I hope it was totally restorative after all your loving parent care.

    • Thank you for such kindness ๐Ÿ’œ It’s been a labor of love these past several months and it has been clearly what is in front of me. But days like I had in the vastness of that mountain, alone with the birds and other critters, that is the thing that helps me do a big internal heart reset. Thanks so much for being here๐Ÿ’•

  2. Holy gamole. All of it. I did get a shiver at the “only person” line. And mating geese? Seriously? Did you wear your snowshoes? Gorgeous. I’m looking at next week.

    • Shivers all day! The solitude, the birdsong, the animal tracks. So very much to love. The geese were a bonus* I had snowshoes with me but was perfectly fine on the Hummocks trail with spikes. Snow is pretty packed at least as far as I went. The snow was deep on the Birth of a Trail path and spikes did okay, but definitely not as well trodden. I sank in a few times. God, it was so spectacular! All of it. And I love that it is the road less traveled. Lucky, happy me ๐Ÿ’•

  3. Wow, cornflower blue, clouds on water, and goose porn. And you look pretty chuffed yourself. Absolutely gorgeous. “…knowing I am the only person in billions of people on the planet to be enjoying these views in this moment.” What a great reward for all your hard work!

    • Haha … chuffed. I kinda love that word. I admit that being such an early riser that I find myself alone in beautiful places often and I never, ever take it for granted. I feel so a part of the world when I step into this space. Like, I really “get” that we belong to one another. Such a wonderful day! Thanks for being here ๐Ÿ’•

  4. You were so close to me! I’m glad you were able to take advantage of the recent sunshine and get to St. Helens. Bummer about the closed restroom, did you mean Coldwater Lake? I always rely on those restrooms too. Wonder why there hasn’t been more of an effort to service them, since it’s the end of the road for people in wintertime. The sunshine and snow and water all make such spectacular landscapes there, with that pretty mountain in the background. Great post, thank you. <3

    • I really WAS close! And yes, Coldwater Lake! I changed it, thank you! The picnic side restrooms were damaged beyond repair last year in a “Tik Tok” challenge. I will hold my thought about that here but I’m guessing you know my feeling. The boat launch testrooms are always open in my previous experience so it was pretty disappointing. Luckily the day was restorative and beautiful and that became the dominant feeling for the day. Thanks for coming along!

      • As a huge fan of TikTok, I tried to find out which trend this was and I don’t find one. There are a couple that involve school bathrooms, but not bathrooms in general. I see some speculation in public comments about TikTok being responsible for this specific vandalization on a press release about this incident, but no proof anywhere. I hope the destruction wasn’t filmed for TikTok, as I find the app to be mostly positive and empowering and I have anxiety about it being taken away.

        • I know people love Tik Tok. Like all social media, there is good and bad. It was the “Devious Licks” challenge that was blamed for the extreme vandalism. The fact that it isn’t a “school” bathroom is probably the least relevant point. I know there have been some dangerous trends and I admit I have mixed feelings about it all. The one that really got to me was the “punch strangers in the face” one. The potential for a really dangerous “trend” is hard to ignore. I don’t feel like this is “get off my lawn” as much as it is “don’t ever underestimate the power of karma *

        • Its true there is good and bad to most things. TikTok’s algorithms are so good, I just never see the bad stuff, and I forget. It only shows you what you want to see, and I’m only into the LGBT and Native stuff, and funny cats of course – ha! So kids who see things showing vandalism have asked to see it, and that’s sad.

  5. If I were writing the headline, it might be “… waiting to exhale” after the month of responsibilities you have just shared with your family, and with finally arriving here, your spiritual epi-center, to all that fresh LIFE and air and BEAUTY and freedom and glory. Welcome HOME…*

    • Ahhh, waiting to exhale indeed. Family always comes first, but this kind of day is a very close second in the greater scheme of things. Such a wonderful day I walked so deliberately into*

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