Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Enjoying the Creation

We hike for a variety of reasons--exercise, to see those places inaccessible from the road, to hone wilderness skills.  Perhaps our number one reason for hiking is for the pleasure we gain from being out in this wonderful creation. Today was one of those exceedingly pleasurable days.
Views of Sheep Lake
We drove again up to Chinook Pass and parked at the Tipsoo Lake picnic area.  We got on the  Pacific Crest Trail and headed north for a couple miles to Sheep Lake.  It was a beautiful, clear, mountain lake.  We found a spot under a shade tree to make our nest.  We had bright blue sky with very comfortable temperatures in the low 70s.  I spread out my poncho to sit on and we just sat back and enjoyed the sun, the breeze, the lake, and the rest of the creation.  It’s moments like this that I’m reminded of how special a world we live in.  We carried a bottle of water and a peanut butter sandwich.  God provided the rest.  Thank you, Lord.

Another thing we enjoyed on today’s hike was the people we met along the way.  Most we only said a quick “hi” in passing, but I was encouraged by who they were.  We saw what appeared to be a large group (perhaps a church group) consisting of several adults and many teens.  This group had overnight packs on their backs, so they must have been out for at least one night.  We also saw several young families, moms and dads with young children.  Some of them appeared to have been out overnight.  It did my heart good to see these young people undertaking a not so easy task instead of just lying around on the sofa with their heads in TV.

Another group we saw, but were never close enough to speak to, was a group of about 8 women.  They came behind us, but didn’t come as far around the lake as we did.  We could hear them laughing, though.  They were certainly having their share of fun.

On our return trip, we encountered an elderly couple, perhaps in their mid 70s.  They said they come to Mt Rainier every year.  I hope when I’m that age, I can still be so active.  They were an inspiration.

Perhaps our favorite encounters were the four long distance hikers we met.  We talked to them to find out a little of their story.  Two of the four were finishing up their last section of the trail.  They had started at the Mexican border in 2005 and gone as far as Mt. Hood that year.  Ten days ago, they started at Mt. Hood and are headed to the Canadian border.  The other two were moving right along (PCT hikers typically do 20+ miles a day) and didn’t stop to talk for very long.  We did learn that one of them had hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2002 and thought he might do it again in a few years.  These last two were ultralight hikers with such tiny packs.  Gene was envious of their light (probably less than 20 lbs) loads.

For such a short hike, it was filled to the brim with good stuff.  A pretty much perfect day.

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