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Showing posts from July, 2007

The Long Hike Back from Lava Canyon

(See also It got darker and darker on the long hike back from Lava Canyon.
It was really dark. Well…even darker than this. I had my trusty (though tiny) LED flashlight in hand, but I almost never use it unless the ground is steep and uneven. If you use a flashlight in the dark, you can only see the things illuminated in a cone of harsh light – a small field of vision by any measure. What you can’t see are all the predators, including the two legged kind, suddenly becoming all too aware of your location. I know it is counter-intuitive, but it somehow seems brighter to walk in the dark, feeling the breath of the trees on your cheek, hearing your footsteps reflecting off the tree-trunks and monitoring the rhythm of your heart and the cadence of your respiration.
There were some stars out, and I could see them, but there were also high clouds floating by that mostly obscured them almost all of the t…


Art is a big mystery to me. I had a drawing instructor once who complained that all of my drawings were narrative in nature – always telling a story – and he seemed to think that there was something else, something more important to strive for – something more elemental. But I could never ‘get’ it.

I’d studied Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in art history class and I secretly began to wonder if I wasn’t being forced, metaphorically, to appreciate the emperor’s new clothes (surely Picasso was naked).

Lately, I’ve fallen into the routine of taking hikes and shooting pictures of a mountain landscape or two and maybe a close-up of a flower. I think I’ve kind of adopted the conceit that I’m some kind of photo journalist or something. I want my pictures to convey a sense of the amazement or wonder I experience when I take them, and maybe also to reveal or instruct, but I’m not sure if any of it is very creative.

This Saturday, I forced myself to look for possible photos in the ordinar…

LAVA CANYON - Closed Until Further Notice

The same rains that wiped out portions of the Ramona Falls trail also played havoc with the area around Mt. St. Helens (See also Ramona Falls Trail (Super-sized) Part Two - ) .

Road 83, the 11.3 mile road that terminates at the Lava Canyon trailhead is washed out at about the 7 mile mark. There is a closed gate at the six mile mark (it’s locked…I checked) so access to June Lake, Ape Canyon and Lava Canyon require extra hiking or biking.

It can be somewhat disheartening to plod mile after mile along a broad road where posted signs sarcastically remind you to take the next curve at thirty-five miles an hour. There isn’t much to see besides trees until mile ten or so when one begins to approach a massive lahar spawned by Mt. St. Helens’ 1980 eruption.

It seems our human attention span is just not long enough to register the antics of volcanoes. We think the ground beneath us is stable and permanent an…


Avalanche Lilly

Maybe like a horse
straining against the starting gate.
Maybe like a frail prisoner
too long in a too small cell.
It slips the grasp of winter first,
…blossoms like fireworks …vetoes the long darkness.

McNeil Point Shelter (obligatory picture to show I actually made it this time)
On the Ridge above McNeil Point

strewn across a skewed field
Tortured trees
caught in a centuries long assault
to climb the mountain
…because it’s there.
On the Ridge above McNeil Point

As tall as any tree can ever be
The View West from McNeil Point
Rock as Heat-sink – Unnamed Snowfield near McNeil Point

Plant Zombie
Aroused by the melt-water torrent
reaches up from the grave with a three fingered hand
Snowfield Transforming into Tarn

Winter’s refugee
seeks protection from the Sun’s persecution
In the shadow of the mountain
there is no asylum
granted in July
Metamorphosis (Detail)
Nature Graphically Perpetuating the Concept of Resurrection

I wasn’t paying attention
and missed Andy Goldsworthy
making his s…