Up a mountain

Today I walked up a mountain. Not a very big mountain – only about three thousand feed high – but still, a mountain just the same. It was with friends, people I really like and see not nearly often enough, and the climb itself, both upwards and downwards, was the context for delightful conversation on a myriad of topics.

It’s marvelous the way a walk up a mountain, somewhat strenuous and sustained exercise, can provide a context for the most delightful conversations. Far more inspiring than merely sitting around for several hours. It’s as though our bodies, moving through space and time, engaged in a form of hard-won progress through the world, spurs our minds to journey as well.

Perhaps in ancient times, when our ancestors were nomadic by necessity, roaming the world as a way of life, conversation arose as a way for a tribe to bond in its journeys. We still maintain these pleasurable instincts even when not moving. And yet there is something about walking and talking, about the sheer pleasure of sustained conversation during sustained activity, that speaks to some deep ancestral call within.

2 Responses to “Up a mountain”

  1. John Nordlinger says:

    Mount Si is located in North Bend, Washington (USA).
    The Climb: 4,167 feet (1,270 meters)

    Distance: 4 miles from the parking lot to the summit plateau.

    Vertical elevation change is about 3700 feet and starts at about 700 feet. The route meanders through several different ecosystems as temperatures and average rainfall vary with elevation.

    The hike begins at the Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area parking lot. It climbs from a low-elevation conifer forest to the vestiges of an old burn, now becoming a new forest of firs. The fire dates back to 1910 when Mount Si burned for weeks.

    At 1,600 feet (about a mile) you come to an obvious stopping place, a rocky area with a view to the valley and Interstate 90. Another obvious rest stop is reached at about 1,750 feet with benches. Snag Flats is reached in another 3/4 mile at about 2,100 feet, the only level section of trail you’ll encounter. Just before Snag Flats, a short path descends to a stream, a cool place to rest on a hot day. It is about 2 1/2 more miles to Haystack Basin at about 3,900 feet (four miles total).

    There are plenty of good rocky perches and benches below the Haystack. From the base of the Haystack there are views more than 3,000 feet straight down to the valley and I-90, as well as out to the Olympic Mountains and Seattle. The Haystack is a short scramble from there, and is moderate class 2/3.

  2. Virginia Holt says:

    The girls and I are heading to NYC today and hope to see you if possible. Check your Facebook messages for phone numbers.

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