Rainier Chautauqua

Comet Falls

Wake up. By the light of the tent I can tell it’s overcast. Hopefully it’s only the morning mist. Roll out and relieve myself. Turn my head back and try to read the sky. High overcast, no rain…for now. We’ll stay on the forest trails today. Glaciers are misery in a storm. On a clouded day the forest resonates with sound that has been swallowed and muffled. Distances lose perspective, while objects close to the eye sharpen and magnify…a tree branch quivers with life pouring from its needles. A chipmunk’s eyes show acrylic black. The mulch on the ground weaves in patterns, entrancing me as I awaken. Far off a phantom of mist seduces a tree, and works it way down a slope.

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We eat breakfast silently. We too are under the grip of the clouds. The whole forest is spellbound by this godlike cloak. It is peaceful, but not pleasant, not unpleasant. It feels like limbo while waiting for either rain or sun. We move with the spirit.

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Indian Paintbrush
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Top of Comet Falls

Comet Falls is perfect for such a day. The trail winds, ascends, crosses several boulder fields, ascends once more, and then we are there. We follow the creek upwards toward the Falls, following the thrush of a distant water-thunder. The anthem of the Cascades is falling water. The Falls roar like a lion with his head in a towel. The sun emerges and the clouds clear, if momentarily.

We reach the Falls; it twists and writhes down the rock face then crashes and releases into mist; a roaring life and stunning death onto the rocks, over and over in a pulsating rhythm that has no beat. There is one tree ahead of the trail with lichen cascading from its branches. It seems to be an impressionist of the Falls. Ken takes pictures while I drink from the bota and chew gorp piece by piece. Later we hike to Van Trump Park. The Mountain is veiled again, the meadow is silent. Dew drips from the lupine and beargrass. We descend.

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Comet Falls

Published by herestahuya

Passionate about the Pacific Northwest, the Mountain, irony, and good conversations, stories and laughter around a campfire.

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