I wandered into the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness this morning, taking a 10 mile walk with full pack to Goat Lake. The lake is a popular destination for day trippers in the summer, which has always caused me to avoid the place. I figured the warm winter might give me a chance to enjoy the area with a few less bipeds around.
The trail was deserted, making it an enjoyable jaunt. As per usual for this unusual year, no snow nor ice was encountered. There was quite a bit of blow-down and a few land slides, most likely from this year’s storms, which caused me to misplace the trail now and again, but it was otherwise uneventful.
I’ll say one thing about old Hank: he’s got some big cedars in his country. I mean, big. Some looked like they may almost match a sequoia. The going was slow, as every 10 feet or so I encountered another that required a pause, a bend of the neck, and a moment’s consideration. There was also evidence of past logging, such as Tree On a Stump. A nice little “fuck you” to humans from the forest, I thought.
From one particularly aged and gnarly specimen, I cut a branch of needles. I planned to make tea later and perhaps infuse some of that 1,000 vitality into myself.
The lake itself had no ice, but Cadet Peak above was topped with snow. It was difficult to tell where mountain ended and sky began, for all the white clouds in the afternoon sky.
Lunch was intended to be couscous with a bit of curry, but ended up being curry with a bit of couscous. Afterward, I washed it down with warm cedar tea and a few chunks of dark chocolate — a combination most pleasing to my tongue.
Then: a walk back home as the sun set.
I don’t know what the answer is. In time man gets used to almost anything, but the problem seems to be that technology is advancing faster than he can adjust to it. I think it’s time we started applying the brakes, slowing down our greed and slowing down the world. I have found that some of the simplest things have given me the most pleasure. They didn’t cost me a lot of money either. They just worked on my senses. Did you ever pick very large blueberries after a summer rain? Walk through a grove of cottonwoods, open like a park, and see the blue sky beyond the shimmering gold of the leaves? Pull on dry woolen socks after you’ve peeled off the wet ones? Come in out of the subzero and shiver yourself warm in front of a wood fire? The world is full of such things. - Richard Proenneke, One Man’s Wilderness