First, I must air a grievance. Dear Washington Trail Association, from Granite can mean two things in Western Washington: Granite Mountain which is near North Bend or Granite Falls which is in the North Cascades. Not knowing which one you meant, I assumed Granite Mountain. I was wrong. So, please be specific in your driving instructions.
There is a joy to be found in getting lost. On purpose or by accident, being lost can be a physical or mental state. The hunt for Old Robe Canyon had us occupying both. Filled with anger, then joy and finally subcumbing to the adventure, the open road between Granite Mountain and Granite Falls had a way of changing my mood. Filled with quaint little towns with mountainous peaks playing backdrop, the splendor of Washington was on full display.
Old Robe Canyon is made of 5 tunnels. These tunnels were blasted into the side of a mountain. In places the old rails for moving debris, timber and whatever else once called this spot home, are still in place. The rails now sit dormant. Left to rust, they have a forgotten purpose. Yet, they conjure up a new appreciation for those who walk in between them; an appreciation for the men and women who built this state and this corner of the country. They were pioneers. The world needs more pioneers.
As I hiked, I was struck by the beauty of small things. Everywhere you looked, small flowers of various shades and varieties were in bloom. Alone, they weren't much to look at, but together they were powerful and begged to be photographed. I was happy to oblige. In those moments of captivity, I was moved at the tiny ecosystem before me. Small flowers, small bees, small movements, all in the name of survival. There is a lesson to be learned here. Something about no small parts, but only small players. Paraphrasing has never been my strong suit.
I also found a sense of humility while hiking on slippery rocks. I learned I am not invincible. My tailbone and forearm took the hardest blow as I slipped. My 30 year old body holds onto pain much longer these days. In a matter of moments, I felt the full impact of time slipping away, both figuratively and literally.
Leaving the Canyon, we still had plenty of daylight. The sheer beauty of the North Cascades was beckoning for a drive. As we flew down old dirt roads, the smell of rain and dirt lingered. We pulled over a few times to capture moments forever. At other stops, we were pleased to let our eyes and senses capture the moment. Oso was a moment that will linger forever. Coming upon the site of the Washington mudslide was pure accident. Seeing the devastation and total destruction of lives, homes and environment changed me. Beginning and ending a trip based on accidents may send most people into a tantrum. I couldn't have been prouder of these moments. I will remember them forever.
Thanks for entering my world,
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