All day yesterday it had poured down rain. So we vetoed the idea of hiking up to Panorama Point from Paradise. Cold, windy and no view, so we opted for berry picking. My current roommate (Heather) suggested the West Side Road near the old landslide for raspberries. So after work, Amy and I drove over to the old West Side Road, most of which is closed because of recurring flood damage in the park. Previously, I'd only explored the first maybe quarter mile of this road. Most of the winter it was closed completely, and I had other more accessible places to visit. We drove as far as we could and walked up another mile or so. (You can't drive past a certain point, but you can walk in.)
Let me first say WOW. It was stunning. We couldn't really determine what landslide Heather had mentioned; the damage caused by Tahoma Creek during the 2006 and 2008 floods was overwhelming. But beautiful. I mean breath-taking. The clouds were very low, hanging over the creek and surrounding the peaks, barely above our heads. We walked along in the mist. Drops of water clung tightly to every leaf and flower. The Mertensia were beautiful:
About a mile up the road, we came to this area that was clearly shaped (damaged?) by floods. But the clouds were amazing. The creek was babbling happily, oblivious as it should be to our presence, as it traveled over the old roadbed. I commented to Amy that it reminded me of Alaska: the dirt road strewn with boulders, twining along the valley floor next to a creek, with trees shrouded in clouds, just us against the world. Except this 'road' doesn't have huge trucks trying to make time between Prudhoe and Fairbanks.
I don't know how any of you feel about natural disasters. This park deals with flooding, avalanches, landslides, etc. on a yearly basis. And yes, they can cost us money. But they give me some something too. Yesterday, there was this huge rock perched precariously on top of other rocks in one of the landslide areas. It was easily big enough to make Amy's rental car into a pancake should the rock decide to continue its roll down the hill. There were trees washed down the creekbed, victims of the force of water and time. It's a relief to just sit back and watch Mother Nature work her miracles. She knows what she's doing. Too often, we try to make this world into our own. We try to control things that we were not meant to control. Rather, we should watch in awe. Be amazed, inspired and satisfied.
It wasn't a strenuous walk at all. Rather the opposite. But satisfying. By the time we left, we were both soaked. My shoes squished like sponges. It was fabulous. Seriously fabulous. Here's my haul from the hike:
My future homestead must have berry patches.