Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mount Baker

My Dad's name is Dale, if you want to know. He and I went up Mount Baker, known by the natives in the area as Komo Kulshan. You can find the fascinating legend of Komo Kulshan here:

The mountain looked a bit different to me, and I realized I have never been on the mountain at this time of year. At sea level, it is summer (even though it hasn't been very warm!). But on Mt. Baker, it is spring. Snow is melting, but surely not gone. We couldn't go all the way to the top of the highway because there was deep snow. There were people snow shoeing and cross country skiing.

We did, however, go to Nooksack Falls. The native people have a legend about that too, though I cannot tell it. The falls are beautiful anytime, but this was the best experience I have had there. The river is swollen from the snow melt run-off, and the place was full of rainbows.

There is a shallow cave at the bottom of the falls and just inside it, there was a huge rainbow. It was more pronounced than the other rainbows, I suspect because of the contrast to the dark behind it. It was lovely, and a great counterpoint to the last trip my Dad and I made up the mountain.

That was in the deep winter, and the mountain had feet of snow. The trees were decorated with it - so beautiful! As we went up the mountain, a young man waved us down. He and some friends had been back-country skiing down the mountain and hitching rides back up with people headed toward skiing. By the time Dad and I were going up though, there were few to no other cars heading up. We gave him a lift, and got to see the beauty near the top. That too was lovely.

The mountains are important in the shamanic tradition of Peru, in which I have been initiated. We go to the mountain to renew our mesa - a kind of medicine bag. Because this mountain is the nearest to where I live, it is my teacher, and I give it thanks.

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