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.

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.