Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout

I cannot remember things I once read
A few friends, but they are in cities.
Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup
Looking down for miles
Through high still air.

Gary Snyder from No Nature

Although Bill and I couldn’t avoid talking about the state of the nation on our long drive to our hike, we slowly put our priorities back in order as we spent the day hiking Lookout Mountain, an old fire lookout just east of Mt. Hood. Like most of our late-season hikes, it is virtually straight up and ten to eleven miles long.

The 30 to 40 degree temperature at the beginning of the hike made the sharp uphill easier than usual, but it was still a long climb up, particularly since we haven’t hiked in over a week. Luckily this left little room for talk, and I was able to sink into that kind of meditative rhythm that makes hiking so special to me. For a time, at least, I was able to simply be, without any thought for the day or for the future.

The views of Mt Rainer, Mt Adams, Mt Jefferson, and The Three Sisters from the top were breathtaking, more than justifying the peak’s name. A simple meal of an organic orange and a handful of granola mix somehow seemed appropriate in this zen-like setting.

Too soon, though, we were back on our way down to the flatlands and our daily concerns.