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