Birthday Backpack to Hannegan Pass

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I try to make it a tradition to backpack on my birthday, to connect with the earth and sky and air and wildlife. We had a lovely campsite up near Hannegan Pass, despite the smoke from the Upper Skagit Complex fires in the North Cascades.

It was incredibly smoky the night we hiked in, but by morning the sky had cleared enough to reveal a lovely view of Ruth Mountain.

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“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.” -Aldo Leopold

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Down in this basin we saw a black bear snacking on mountain ash berries
and lumbering across fallen logs, living without a care.

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This is truly my favorite way to celebrate another year of my life and recognize the inevitable passage of time. Backpacking teaches me about necessity and what really matters. It helps me rediscover the importance and powerful enormity of nature.

We must learn to embrace this and accept that we cannot escape nature’s life cycles.

A Slice of Paradise

I worked hard to challenge my anxiety this weekend– by trying to stay flexible, be practical, open, and treat myself with compassion and understanding.

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It’s exhausting to be anxious and trying not to panic for an entire day. It’s also difficult to explain to others just what’s going on with me. I was rather quiet and withdrawn at times.

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Thankfully I managed to calm myself down and eventually enjoy my time in the lovely North Cascades National Park. As you can see, it was gorgeous.

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I refuse to let fear dictate what I will do and where I will go!

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On the Trail

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Once the initial unease
of stepping out of cell reception
and trading street traffic for open trails
wears off, once the feet become
accustomed to sidestepping roots and stones
and the legs churn out miles smoothly
without rest, once the whirling thoughts
dissipate into a mist of ferns and pines
and stress simmers into the roiling boil
of survival, that is when
the real journey begins.

There’s One Thing Missing

I have my chocolate coffee jitters,
I have an anxious smile ready.
All I need is you.

I have a quiet mossy forest floor,
I have my emerald resting place.
All I need is you.

I have eight dollars folded in my pocket,
I have a ferry leaving soon.
All I need is you.

I have a ballpoint pen and sheaf of papers,
I have a story blooming in my head.
All I need is you.

I have a rucksack packed and ready,
I have the whole world to explore.
Now all I need is you.