dervish

A friend once called me “shaggy”… not a reference to Scooby-doo but more to the neck of woods where I live, work, and play.  And it’s a fair statement I guess.  The temperate coastal forest boasts a certain… unkempt appeal.  Good words to live by, I’d suppose.  A few pix from this weekend’s hike up the “Blaine Burn”, a nearby hike I’ve been meaning to do for a few months now.

It’s a twisted and well-rooted slog that reminds you about the water that makes up 70% of everything.  Temperate rainforests contain the greatest density of organic material per cubic foot of any type of ecosystem on earth.  Fecund doesn’t begin to describe it.  Mid-way up the mountain, conveniently where the shaggy wet forest ends and the soaking wet snow begins, are a few small cabins.  Known mainly to locals, they are generally well respected by passing users.  Just the essentials.  Well, more than the essentials, actually.  A lot more.

  

From there it’s snowshoe time… at least at this time of the year, though later in the summer there’s fine berry picking up here.  It’s not a long haul, really, and you can pick your way as you like.  Follow the dog, she probably knows where we’re going.

   

Alpine vegetation is a marvel of survival.  Nature shows just how patient she can be, how tough and resilient.  They say adversity builds character, and in the case of these trees, death builds even more.  These trees don’t grow, they simply age…

I’d hoped for a clear sky but clouds rolled in and it stayed that way.  The dog tears about in bliss, the guy carries the stuff and stumbles now and then. The tent pitched, we go for a lighter tramp about the alpine, and come eventually upon a great skeletal mountain pine.  He’s spiraled about himself a dozen times or more, a dervish centuries in the making.  His branches are each stiff and resilient beyond belief, and splayed all about in a grand and theatrical gesture to the surrounding landscape.  Behold! he proclaims – A thousand years I’ve conjured these snowfalls…. a thousand years or more… it’s all mine !   And Hah!

This I do, twisting about to take in the panorama with snowshoe’d feet planted in place… (and somehow only now I see the joke!)

Night comes and I’m tucked into my tent with an exhausted and happy dog.  Clouds roll in, a long summer dusk stretches well towards midnight. A timelapse with some appropriately twisted B-movie soundtrack clips:

A final long exposure from around midnight.  I carry around this tiny little flare pen when hiking, so what the heck I figured…whishhh….. boom!!!

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