My legs feel swollen with the rythm of my feet upon the earth. Contracting and expanding within the rise and fall of each step. A slow waltz through Paradise, punctuated by breathtaking glimpses into the interior. Realizing that all the hard stones, prickly vines, biting flies, steep grades, dizzying heights, sun drenched boulder feilds, precarious edges, thunder claps, lightning strikes, halting slippery descents, raging rivers and blood moons give Paradise it's backbone, it's freedom of expression. The burden of carrying food, shelter and clothing on your back becomes a blessing. Your heartbeat the music with which you dance. The internal and external become one and I believe that is the place where true healing begins...
The third night in, we camped at Home Lake. Aptly named because as soon as you emerge from the forest overlooking the lake, you feel as it you have Arrived. You peel off your pack, stumble down to the shore and dive in. Brook trout jumping all around you, the ever vigilent Mt. Constance rising above, the sweep of a steep meadow filled with trickling streams, wildflowers, huckleberries, deer and marmot calls giving way to Del Monte Ridge, leading to Big Mystery and Little Mystery, you take it in and dream of the cabin you might build. This is the kind of place you find enough peace to rest, stick some acupuncture needles in your knees, dress your wounds with bag balm and duct tape and forget about the first circle of hell crossing Buckhorn Pass with scree sliding under your step and ravens circling overhead.
There are certain acupuncture points that we call "top of the mountain" points. The energy of these points is abundant, flows deep with in the body, communicates across many channels, moves and harmonizes. I have always envisioned these points like the protected, graceful beauty of Home Lake. The next day though, my visioning of these points expanded a hundred fold.
Climbing up through the steep meadow and on to the ridge. Balancing and grounding each step along the ridge as consciousness flowed in all directions. The Pacific to the west, the Strait and San Juan islands to the north, Hood Canal and Cascades to the east and mountain after mountain, valley after valley surrounding Mt. Olympus at the heart of the penninsula. We camped that night at the top of the ridge in an "eagles nest", a circular half walled stone structure built by those who had come before as a windbreak. Late in the afternoon an unpredicted thunder and lightning storm moved in. I can't even describe the awesomeness, scariness, wonder of this event. We lay in the eagles nest feeling its power in every fiber of our being. Talk about re-charging, and I don't mean a day at the spa! We were given respite for long enough to sip moonshine, tell stories, cook up some jambalaya and watch the sunset. And then it rained all night. Soaked to the bone. Needless to say the descent into the Dosewallups the next day was not comfortable. However there is something to be said for the process of being forced to give in, to yield, when the trail becomes a stream and the stream moves through you so that the last mile or so, the tears are falling freely... You get to camp and find your friends have built a fire and you absolutely know you can make it another night, another six miles...where at the end of the rainbow lies the Geoduck Tavern, a beer and a bacon burger!