Last night my classmates celebrated our 45th high school reunion. I keep thinking it can’t be true! I would have enjoyed being there had I been in Walla Walla, but I wasn’t. I was on a mountain indulging my photography addiction with two of my favorite people. At 45 years out from high school, I am so thankful for the Psalm 92 blessing to be green and flourishing — and climbing mountains!
Let me back up. A week ago Annemarie and I ventured up to Artist Point at Mt. Baker, being driven from Hannegan Pass by a relentless band of biting flies. On top with minimal distracting insects, we took selfies with Table Mountain as our backdrop. Squinting, we noticed colorful people dots hiking up Table Mountain. We promised ourselves, next trip we’re going to the top of Table Mountain.
Yesterday at about 6:36 PM, with Clark in tow, we head up Table Mountain which lies just north of Mt. Baker. We–maybe I should say, I am hoping for a marvelous sunset. Instead, we meet hikers coming down issuing a dismal weather report from some guy with a weather alert on his phone.
“The view on top is great if you hurry, but there’s a thunder storm coming from Arlington.” Funny–I had never connected Arlington and thunder storms. Nonetheless, we continue the 40 minute climb up the mountain. I capture a picture of Mt. Baker just in case she pulls a disappearing act. I love the Lightroom 4 program. It allows me to paint a photo the way I imagine it might look should that awesome sunset dazzle me and my camera!
The trail up reminds me of hiking around Turkey with shards of discarded marble cast about by the combined forces of mother nature and time. Only here it isn’t marble and these fragments were not part of an iconic ruin although, I guess they probably were part of the table. I am thankful I have my trusty hiking poles!
On top, we discover another world. I simply have to take some pictures, even in view of the approaching weather system. My family indulges me and the gear comes out while thirsty mosquitoes circle for the last supper of the day. FYI, since last week, someone shared that lavender oil keeps mosquitoes from biting! My report is no new bites!
I love the little plants that cling tenaciously in the cleft of the rocks. Reminds me of an old song, “Rock of Ages Cleft for Me, Let me hide myself in thee.”
I celebrate the late afternoon sun on these tiny plants, when my eye catches this melting snowfield and the pools of water collecting nearby. Somehow I think there just might be a small waterfall running down the side of this mountain. I love watching the steam roll across the snow fields and disappear with a poof.
Clark scrambles up to a high point and I follow. We pull out the tripod to get that special picture of Mt. Baker before she disappeares. Hurry up! That’s the word on the mountain tonight!
Clouds billow around Baker’s base. I fumble with my equipment cutting my left index finger as I adjust the lens. Blood oozes from the spot. Ignoring the blood I wonder, will there be a sunset picture tonight? Almost, but not quite. Once again Lightroom 4 comes to my aid!
With clouds now beginning to circle overhead, we search for the trail back down, right after I capture a photo of my two favorite hikers. Note the absence of background! If you could see what lies behind, it would be Mt. Shuksan, another disappearing mountain!
A third of the way down, on a narrow ledge, we pause to see what will be of this sunset. Will the clouds lift? Will Baker emerge in a golden glow? This is the my best effort. You will have to imagine the mighty mountain caught up in a swirl of thunderheads.
By the time we arrive back at the Artist Point parking lot, fog clings heavy against the wet pavement. A party of four caps off their mountain adventure with a quick frisbee toss. In the dense fog, the neon green frisbee appears only as a flatlined gray object.
On the way down the mountain, from the back seat I yell, “Stop.” Behind us is the coveted sunset I pursue. No, this is not Baker, but with this dramatic blend of orange and licorice it satisfies my thirst for mystery and beauty!
Further down, another vista. This one I dub, “Dog with pitchfork chasing man with doggie cookie.”
And finally the last time I yell stop, I climb up on the tailgate of the truck with my tripod splaying out on the softcover of the truck bed. Here the image that emerges reminds me of a Japanese-style silhouette screened onto silken kimono fabric.
It’s been a good evening. Yes, I missed reconnecting with high school friends. I’m curious who came. I’m curious who didn’t. I wish them all the best! I hope they will keep dreaming and chasing their dreams. I hope they are all in good health.
And just a bit of insight from this mountain-top seeker. Don’t give up your dreams at 45 years out. If you’re still on this planet, you are still relevant! Show up! Speak up! Dance! Dream!
Make pictures in places where others dare not climb. There are more mountains yet to conquer than we have time.
I didn’t intend to be rhymy–it was never my gift. But you get the idea.
As for me, I’m just thankful–45 years out and mountain adventures still whisper my name. I’m still dreaming–of the next mountain–the next photo–the next opportunity to provide an inspiring moment, to challenge, and maybe even to nag. Let’s get on with it! Mountains are coming and going in the enveloping mist. Weather reports can be discouraging–but if you hurry, there’s still time to reach the top to capture the view! And don’t forget to look over your shoulder on the way back down!
Marlee Huber ~ For Your Flourishing Life!