Dwelling in the Mountains
Here where I live,
lakes on the left, rivers on the right,
you leave islands, follow shores back
to mountains out front, ridges behind.
Looming east and toppling aside west,
they harbor ebb and flow of breath,
arch across and snake beyond, devious
churning and roiling into distances,
clifftop ridgelines hewn flat and true.
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home
Mountains in the Mists
While I got out of town late this day I felt like I really was on the trail now. I quickly turned onto the first forest road, which soon began to ascend and which quickly became gravel. It would be gravel for the rest of this day. The road climbed up and up into the foothills of the Mission range. When there were gaps I could see the mountains across the valley all jagged and shrouded in mist. When I finally came down from this climb, for a moment I feared I gone down the way I’d came: it looked identical.
I took a side road to visit Mission Lookout, thinking I’d get good views there. I certainly would have but the USFS rents it out and it was occupied and I couldn’t go up. As I rode down from the lookout it began to rain, steady at first and then quite hard. It would rain on and off for the rest of the day. I ended up camping in the woods at an “informal” campsite right on a little creek and not far from the Swan river. In another section of the informal campsite, two of the guys from last nights camping were there.
It had rained off and on throughout the night and morning but there were enough gaps for me to pack up and cook. It wasn’t raining when I left but that wouldn’t last long. It rained throughout the day, from sprinkle to absolutely torrential. There was thunder a few times and the trail was like a river, especially a short section of single track that was like a stream through tall grass. This day was almost entirely on Forest roads except for a short stretch crossing hwy 83 to the other side of the valley. I encountered numerous fellow tourons doing the South to North route, which is much less often done. In general thee have been more people on this route than any I’ve done since the Pacific Coast. That is a bit unexpected.
After I crossed hwy 83 I began to climb up into the mountains on the other side of the road. The rain had stopped at this point and it was sunny and warming up. There were big clouds and wind and it seemed the rain could start up again at any time as it had throughout the day. But the weather held and I was finally drying out. There was a fantastic stretch on an unused road that became single track at the end. I had to hike-a-bike on one steep section there, but there was numerous meadows that opened up to clouds pouring over a rocky range. When I reached Clearwater Lake I was ready to end the day. This area allows for informal camping and it appears I have this fantastic lake, below jagged peaks all to myself.
mist roiling between peaks
no reflection in
pure mountain lakes