Saturday, August 22, 2009
Above it all
This morning I drove west from Bend, Oregon to hike Tumalo Mountain. It is a small volcanic peak adjacent to Mt Bachelor with a moderately steep and arduous 1 1/2 mile trail. On my descent, I looked across at the Bachelor ski area and saw the winter white paradise barren and scarred. This ancient volcano's summit and cornice reach 9,000 feet, about 3,000 feet from its base. The terrain is generally not considered as challenging for skiers or as steep as in the Rockies, but the snow is similarly dry and powdery. On this warm August day I was reminded of the upcoming season when I, either alone or with friends, will again pit myself against the elements and ski downhill filled with bravado and joy. Today though, I had indulged in the pleasure of walking in the open air up through clusters of pine, across fields strewn with basalt and pumice, amidst fading wildflowers, to a spectacular vista above the timberline. There I felt equally alive and sensed in the late summer wind the tune of nature's lovesong.