Journey on Rattlesnake Ridge

Sara grew up in sunny Southern California and now lives in the lush PNW. She spent her 20s hiking and snowboarding, her 30s mountaineering, marathoning, and skiing, and is spending her 40s trail running and finding new adventures on her split board. Over the years she has learned that trail time with friends or her husband is magically healing and more precious than gold. Sara is the mom of two adorable kids who are better at mountain biking than she is.

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Thimbleberries… nature’s pop rocks.

Petrichor… that earthy fragrance of dry, warm dirt released as errant raindrops fall on forest floor.

Cobwebs… phantom feelings of creepy crawlies for miles.

Crashing… broken branches hit the ground conjuring beasts in the dry shadows.

Feathers… once soaring aloft now at my feet surrendered to gravity.

Wildflowers… their sweet smell mixing with the buzzing of bees.

Climbing… anticipating my favorite part of the trail, but fearing the clouds and hazy heat will obscure and disappoint.

Then I run into the clearing, and come face to face with her. The Mother of All Waters. 

Standing alone.

Her flanks of snow, her shield of glaciers, her rock exposed from summer melt.

She is Taquoma. Tacoma. Tahoma. Inaptly named Mount Rainier. 

It is all beautiful. Her presence in the distance as I stand miles away on a tree stump, in a clearcut of flowers, with a warm breeze the most perfect temperature that I feel completely at one with the planet. It feels too much.

It feels what I need. 

Standing alone, I am enveloped by this place. 

I close my eyes and feel, smell, and hear this place.

I open my eyes and I memorize this place. 

I am brought back with the thought that my kids are waiting for me at the lake. 

I keep running.

Over copper trail, under a canopy of green.

Voices… the part of the trail where most hikers stop, at the top ledge of the mountain.

I accidentally interrupt a couple embracing, admiring a new ring on her hand, a promise he’s given her. I offer to take photos of their moment, on top of the world with a glistening lake below and hints of sunset.

I keep running.

Voices… Spanish… I traverse the lower ledge and look down, keeping far from the edge, and yell out over the expanse to any of the tiny specks below, hoping my kids can hear me or see me waving. I shout the names of the children I created into the expanse and feel powerful love.

Only echoes answer.

I keep running.

Voices… Hindi… Vietnamese… Mandarin? Cantonese?

Music from a small speaker in a backpack.

Last time I was here a man carried a large boombox on his bare shoulder.

The trail flattens. I am almost there. Dirt trail turns to rocky beach.

I hear my name and feel powerful love.

My husband… always impeccable timing. A kiss of reunification.

My children… daredevils atop a boulder shouting “It’s Mommy!” “Mom, look! A rainbow!”

They climb like goats and swim like fish. The sunset illuminating their smiles.

The sky is glowing orange, reflecting on the water… magazine cover type stuff.

Back on their paddleboards, I challenge them “Race you back!”

I keep running.

My mom… in her camp chair, with her phone, recording my picnic table finish line celebration.

I join my kids at water’s edge, strip off sweaty clothes, and find the refreshment of the lake with my toes. 

I look around, not many people left… I go all in. 

I invite my kids to join me but they climb a tree like monkeys, scoot out on the curved limb hanging low, watching both aghast and delighted that their mom is skinny dipping.

Summer… juicy watermelon, icy beer, salty chips, and grilled hot dogs. 

Mosquitos… swatting, slapping, bug spray, and the keep away dance.

11 miles… 4 hours of inspiration… I don’t often feel poetic, but I was in this place.

Daʔšədabš renamed Rattlesnake Ridge.

The ancestral lands of the Snoqualmie people.

Headlamps back to the car. Oooh!  

Thimbleberries…

About the Author

Sara grew up in sunny Southern California and now lives in the lush PNW. She spent her 20s hiking and snowboarding, her 30s mountaineering, marathoning, and skiing, and is spending her 40s trail running and finding new adventures on her split board. Over the years she has learned that trail time with friends or her husband is magically healing and more precious than gold. Sara is the mom of two adorable kids who are better at mountain biking than she is.

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