trail construction

The Alpine Lakes Wilderness

The Alpine Lakes Wilderness

The sound of wind whistles through the trees that surround my view. I’m alone, walking back to camp after another day of trail construction. The year is 2010. We have been building trails and hiking bridges since 1979 in places just like this. The setting sun of late August cast a creamy orange glow across the valley to the west towards Seattle.

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There was 3 weeks of sunshine that Summer, followed by 3 weeks of rain in September. We had creeks running under our tents, Snoqualmie Lake (a huge mountain lake 2 miles long by 1 mile across) rose 18 inches in a few days towards the end of that 3 weeks of rain and flooded my yellow and gray tent. We didn’t see many hikers in September, with the intense rain. Most of our possessions were wet. Our clothes never really dried. We were 8 miles from our cars.DSC01283 DSC01280 DSC01235

I remember the light that painted itself across the lake’s surface. The water rippled like a painter was brushing thousands of strokes again and again. It was like watching a Van Gogh being painted. I haven’t seen water dance like that before or since. Dragon flies swam overhead. Life vibrated.


The sound of wind whistles through the trees that surround my view. A heavy mist flows through the branches. Life’s mystery is happening right in front of our faces.

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Looking west from high vantage points it was possible to forget that Seattle was over those mountains. We were a long ways from modern conveniences and I have never felt closer to myself, my family and friends.

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