Monday, August 24, 2009

Sitting on top

For the past two days, I have been posting photos from a Saturday hike to Tumalo Mountain near Bend, Oregon. This shot of the summit shows the texture and color of the soil, its reddish tinge from pumice and lava-cooled igneous rocks. In the background looms the fractured and eroded volcanic dome of Mt Bachelor. On this day, the air was pleasantly warm with a gentle breeze, but in winter, temperatures and wind can make this a most inhospitable spot, although ardent skiers are known to pack their skis up here and find a line through the trees.

It is a strange, puzzling yearning to climb to the top of a mountain. I'm not sure the process can exactly be called fun. Hikes are often long, hot and exhausting and not conducive to smiling. It is work. Feet, knees and joints ache and there is anxiety about sufficient supplies and daylight, and the possibility of twisting something. Some of you are content to see someone's photo or look at the scenery from an airplane, rather than to make such a questionable effort on your own. That's okay too. Hiking is clearly not for everybody. So what is the appeal? I know there is much gratification in reaching the pinnacle, looking over the world below, and then returning safely down to the trailhead. It is giving voice to the little train engine in me that puffs, "I think I can, I think I can." I have chosen to challenge the narrow limit which my upbringing has set. I am capable of being the bear who goes over the mountain to see the other side to see what he could see.

7 comments:

Small City Scenes said...

And what did he see? You are only limited by your imagination.

Meet you at the river---I got the lunch!!!

MB

BANJO52 said...

I like your text as well as your photos. Seems I hear very little . . . philosophizing? . . . about mountains, other than "Because it was there" or "Wow, it was pretty." Glad to see someone THINKING about it all. I'm sure others do, and I've just missed it . . . By the way, I'm no major hiker or lover of mountains--open space and the open road, yes, but somewhere after age 40, pleasant farmland became as pleasing to me as major mountains or dramatic surf.

BANJO52 said...

Your local techno-moron here. The comment above from Banjo52 was intended for benddailyphoto.blogspot.com, but it seems to keep bouncing elsewhere. Well, if this is the western Washington site, some of the comment applies to you too. See? Even without mountain climbing, life's an adventure.

Jacob said...

The mountain top has played an important role in theology, literature, politics, recreation, etc.

Glad you made it. I don't think I could do that anymore...would depend on the weather.

So, I'd probably be the one urging you on and taking photos of your struggle and eventual conquest!

Happy trails!

tapirgal said...

Your three mountain photos are so different. It's nice having such variety as a reward for your effort. Nice photos, all of them, and it's always interesting to read your thoughts.

cieldequimper said...

Very nice post, the words, and the photo.

TheRandomTraveler said...

I am loving this photo...it is rare that I see a mountain like this, but I really like the west coast, and the rockys...