Does the word that just popped into your head show up here? Find out:

14 January, 2014

Four Mountains

Tahoma, its lenticular cloud drifting inland.

Late Fall and Winter are not supposed to be prime viewing for Cascadian peaks, but a drive today during which I could see Rainier and St. Helens pretty well reminded me that I've been inordnately fortunate this season. Like the week befor Turkey Day, when I got this shot of Tahoma (aka Tacobud, aka Mount Rainier, aka several other Salish and Sahaptian names) from the north. Far to the north, zoomed way beyond the lens capabilty and into the low-end camera digi-zoom range. What the image lacks in resolution, it gains in poetry, with the whisp of peak-cloud above and the rolling Cascadian holls below.

Il Posteriori de Montana Santa Helena

A few days later, and many miles south, I snuck up behind Mount St. Helens (various native names, many of which amount to "smoking mountain") and got the shot above. As I recall (dimly), I was standing on the edge of a gravel quarry full of bullets and cartridges and garbage, but lift the lens above ground and shoot into the distance, and beauty repoaces ugliness in the memory of that day.

Not far away in distance or in time from the St. Helens shot, I was able to spot Mount Adams (ask the Yakama about the name, because I just don't know). This is the west side, more or less, and in November, it was still not so snow-covered as you might think on the brink of December. Snow was late this year, and no doubt it looks different now.

And finally, here's Hood (I'll let the Oregonians talk about their names for this one). Shot from the north or northwest, way across the Columbia. I have better photos of this, but it's not bad, and it's from that same week, it's the pick for this post.

These shots are from different perspectives in the space-time continuum. I've had what they call a "five mountain day," when I was high enought (strictly elevationally speaking) to see the peaks of five of the snowy Cascadian volcanoes from a single spot. Jefferson, Hood, Adams, St. Helens, and Rainier, viewed from Table Mountain above the Bonneville damn.

The regular Cascades seem high enough (thousands of feet higher than the Appalachian chain, which formed the pinnacles of my growing up years), but when you get to one of those peaks, and see these snowy monsters looming high, you begin to understand big mountains. Hawai`i Island has similarly large volcanoes, although the tropical clime robs (or disrobes?) the snow mantle of its awe-inspiring potential, and the full mass is hard to appreciate without being well out to sea. Even in Olympia, Tahoma looms large, even larger when you remind yourself that it is 50 miles away, but still imposes itself on the horizon of any clear day.

I am pretty sure that the closest I will ever get to these peaks are the flanks, and that most of my appreciation will be from a distance. There's no inner drive to conquer and avail myself of "summit" as a verb. But as long as there are clear days and cameras, I will pull over and take a minute to appreciate and take a photo for memory's sake.

No comments:

Post a Comment