The scriptures say the mountains contain the answers. Generations of seekers have gone into the wilderness and have encountered spirits both benevolent and terrible. Though the possibility of great discovery is mixed with the threat of misadventure, we must all go into the mountains to seek these answers.
We should understand that these mountains represent the unknown aspects of our own minds. Meditation is a process of discovery, of slowly exploring how you function as a human being. Through walking in the vastness of this land, you can resolve the problems of your psyche and seek the treasures buried in your soul. Like actual mountain exploration, this process is not without danger. Failure means falling into insanity and obsession. Success is to find treasures without comparison anywhere in the world.
People ask, “Is meditation necessary?” If you want to explore the innermost parts of your mind and ascertain who you really are, there is no more ideal method. Mere introspection is not deep enough, and psychological counseling will not necessarily bring you face to face with all parts of yourself. Only the depth and solitude of meditation can help you learn everything. Discoveries are there. We need only enter the mind to find them.-Deng Ming-Dao
I’ve always thought the town of Twisp, WA sounded like it belongs inside a Dr. Seuss book. And truly, the idyllic mountain town always seems like a fantasy-land whenever I visit. Having spent very little time there, my distant vantage probably polishes the tangible charm to a spectacularly bright sheen. The Methow valley is sun drenched, yet green, thanks to its proximity to the Cascade Crest (where: West = wet & East = dry) and a steady supply of snow melt from the high peaks. Surely this area has ranked atop lists of best places to retire for eons. I love to head East from our spongey density to this more sparsely forested landscape. Continue reading →
Lake Chelan is a 55 mile long natural finger lake surrounded by foothills on one end and towering peaks at the other. At a depth of 1000 feet in places, the water is cold, clear, and seems the ideal home for a cousin of Nessy. I have yet to spot Chelanny, though.There are a couple of resort towns at the southern arid end and a couple of super remote tiny mountain towns at the other along with a smattering of summer cabins. Continue reading →
Days like this in January are rare like a wolverine sighting. I’ve talked before about input & output in the context of wilderness experience…yesterday was 95% output.
Elevation gain: 3400 ft
Mileage: 12 mi
Time: 6 hours
On a hike to Baker Lake a few weeks ago, I was struck by the relative lack of snowpack and wondered how far a low-clearance all wheel drive could make it up the Forest Service road above the lake. Turns out, all the way to the berm created to keep monster trucks off the groomed snowmobile paths.A couple of years ago, Gwen and I snowshoed a similar approach to some high snowy meadows and were passed by about 3 dozen sleds all leaving behind a two-cycle induced petrol-plasma that our working lungs had no choice but to inhale. Yuck! Yesterday, Dusky the-ever-loyal-dog and I saw only two!I foolishly assumed there was only one road that lead to the destination of a summer trailhead. Nay, there were forks and branches of FS roads that I somehow managed to navigate, even with zero signage.It was my first time trying out micro-traction devices. WOW! They proved incredibly efficient at traveling the hard pack snow and sections of ice and not nearly as cumbersome as crampons.I had been eyeing this butte from a distance and was heartened to find it getting nearer and nearer as we climbed. After a late start (got out of the car at noon) the winter sun was already starting to dip quickly. But, I knew that there would be jaw-dropping views up there and so, changed out foot tools to snowshoes and headed up. Straight up.Once we gained the ridge the way was as clear as the sky. And thus began the creation of many, many panoramas.And some close-ups:
And one last pano’ on the way back down:Still five miles from the car sans headlamp (“bad, bad hiker”) it was a starry walk back!
Bellingham, WA is frequently rated among the “most livable” cities in the nation. Recently, however, it topped a list of cities for something that it may not want to put on the brochures. My town absorbs the least amount of sunshine of any city in the lower 48. The sun shines only 35 percent of the time and is seems like that all comes in the month of July. Continue reading →
With the forecast iffy at best, we threw caution to the wind and ended up having a splendid, if windy, time on trail. A friend in town from mountain-less Boston, MA who had lugged well-lugged shoes cross country was not to be daunted from a little unpredictable weather!
Maybe its because I got to climb banyan trees at recess in the fourth grade and have swam in the Yucatan’s cenotes, but this song and video is tearily beautiful. Check it out if you like ancient pyramids, magical watering holes, and big cats…or just need some inspiration:
I don’t know too much about wild mushrooms. The morel and coral mushrooms are the only ones I’ve been brave enough to cook up after a hike. I do know they are truly mysterious. Downright Smurfy, really! Continue reading →
Nearly twenty years ago in Design class, I embarked on a project to recognize patterns in nature. I called it Natural Symmetry. I rubbed tree rings, drew leaf veins, and photographed dewy spider webs. The gist being that nature in birth, life or growth, and death follows a pattern that has definite form, but is never completely symmetrical. Balanced, yes. Rigid, no. Continue reading →