Mountain goat, Sahale Peak, North Cascades National Park, Washington.

Mountain goat on the side of Sahale Peak, North Cascades National Park, Washington.

The mind’s internal chatter is quieted, miles into the wilderness of the North Cascades National Park.  Completely disconnected from the electronic busy-ness below.  Not a care in the world.  Face to face is the only communication for the coming days.  Pen and paper are steady companions; an occasional deer, a marmot, a mountain goat, maybe another hiker.  Four thousand feet up and a six mile walk from the trail-head is where you could find me, camped at the side of a small glacier.

White tailed deer

A white tailed deer at the cascade pass trail-head.

Native sounds, rock fall across the valley, an effortless breeze, and foot-steps of a mountain goat searching for culinary donations.  I hear him before I see him.   At mid-day a comforting aloneness, laying on a cool rock, concave smooth under my body.  Warm sun melds one form into the other.  The earth could absorb me.  All would be right.

On Friday I climbed Sahale Peak.  The benchmark, a small bronze disk embedded in the summit rock of all peaks in the U.S., has a scratched out yet readable name, “Boston Peak.”  In the late 1800’s a U.S. Geological Survey team mismarked the Sahale summit for the slightly taller Boston Peak to the north.


A friendly marmot.

Three hours of solitude, a baggie of peanut butter filled pretzels, dried apples, and an energy bar later, a group of 6 mountaineers ascended. Each popped up, in 15 minute intervals from the boulder behind me.  As self-appointed greeter my welcomes were returned in kind with smiles and a bites of communal chocolate passed one hand to the next in celebration of a successful climb.

Off the summit before sunset, the last light of day is exchanged for the white glow of a recent full moon.  It drifts a slow arc across the sky.  The upper layer of the glacier is still wet and slushy.  The remaining eight-hundred feet of elevation is easily covered boot skiing to my tent door.

Sahale Peak, North Cascades National Park.

Sahale Peak is illuminated by a full moon with the stars of the northern sky as a backdrop.
North Cascades National Park, Washington.

All photographs © 2012 Adam Bacher. Absolutely no usage without prior authorization.