Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pathless Woods

Mt. Baker National ForestIt is late September, but the pavement of the road in front of my home is still radiating summer heat. Across that street the sand is hot, and the water of the Atlantic is still warm. I guess that is part of why I decided to head to the Cascades.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Lord Byron had it right, I think. For any man who listens to his soul, there is call to wildness. It is a call originating from God himself. It is a cry that that loudly proclaims "Look at what I have created and deny my presence". That presence is inexplicable and yet unconcealed.

I spent three nights in the mountains and valleys of Mt. Baker National Forest in the North Cascades. It was the first trek of its kind that I have attempted since my visit to Alaska over a year before. It was much warmer, and much rainier. However, the sun obliged me for a few hours on a couple of occasions.

The trek was not an easy one. It started off uphill and in the rain and remained that way for the better part of the first two days. Water managed to find a way into most everything I packed, regardless of waterproofing. While the rain did not penetrate my clothing, I was soaked through from the sweat of my uphill laboring. When I finally reached high ground on the third day, I realized all my efforts were worth my wet tent and tired back.