On Friday the 13th of February, our family hiked in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington State. Now that might not sound so far-fetched to some of you, but to those of us who frequent these parts, beginning a hike at 3000+ feet elevation in mid-February is highly unusual! During normal February’s, we would snow-shoe from the point where the US Forest Service road leaves the highway, miles lower than the trail head.
Today the sun is warm, the skies blue, our jackets too hot. Shirt sleeves are just fine! We cross a few snowfields, but nothing too daunting. We shudder as a tiny owl flits right over our heads with a mouse dangling from her jaws. The waterfalls are spectacular, but a little too far off to really capture the silky water in a photograph.
At two and a half miles we stop. Mt. Ruth is right before us. Next to us a snow chute that looks a bit dicey, due to the rushing water beneath it, halts our progress. Shucks! This is as far as we have ever gone on this trail. The last time the snow halted us at the same point–except that was mid-July!
The only other hiker we see on the trail approaches us. He picks his route successfully making it across the snow chute, then disappearing around the bend in the trail.
Today we pause soaking in the sun and contemplating that even Tucson could not improve on weather like this. I find it a plus that we don’t have to worry about rattlesnakes or scorpions hiding under one of the warm rocks we choose for a rest spot.
My tripod comes out; my camera settings are chosen; I aim at Mt. Ruth just as the heart-shaped bowl of a ladle dishes out a serving of love above this remote mountain. Here is the picture of the day! I know it! You can’t make this stuff up! You can play around in Photoshop all you want, but there is nothing like coming upon the real deal and just click-clicking away!–and then dramatizing it a bit in Lightroom!
We start back to our vehicle heady with the beauty of this February day. Soon the lone hiker overtakes us sharing that six minutes beyond where we stopped he spotted a family of mountain goats not forty yards away. What a day for a hike!
We might have missed the mountain goats, but we caught the heart-shaped cloud. He didn’t manage to catch the goats with his camera either, agile little climbers that they are. Happily, back at my computer I download my shots to celebrate the heart that danced over the mountain! I’ll see mountain goats another day, but when again will I spot a ladle of love looking like a heart on the day before Valentine’s Day?
As I reflect on the great time we had with family over the long weekend, I think about a scripture verse I happened upon on Valentine’s Day.
From the Revised English Version of the Holy Bible, Titus 2:11 “The grace of God has dawned upon the world with healing for all mankind.”
I think it goes quite nicely with this photo. Don’t you? A ladle of love, indeed! That’s what grace is!
Marlee Huber ~ For Your Flourishing Life!