Friday, October 21, 2011

Cooper Spur Journal

October 17th, 2011

Cooper Spur shelter. Went almost to the top, turned back just shy of last ¼ when wind gusted cold, cold, cold. Otherwise warm, should be wearing shorts – sunny, not a cloud in the sky except north over snow peaks [Snyder’s term]. Late start, northeast face and Eliot Glacier in shadow at 2:30pm – these short days…

A lot of hover-bees… And green tea with ginger. Snowfall a few days ago, patches on trail – icy snow mixed with rock. Not much to worry about, more a fun challenge.

The Eliot looks incredible from the edge of the spur. Footprints lead up snow slopes between huge piles of rock, which tower over splintering crevasses and ripples of fallen stone. Along the moraine, fluted edges, patterns of rock-fall – can hear it, sometimes see it, stones clattering down the face from high.

I forget until it’s over the initiation – long approach roads, time, weather, then climbing, breathing, sore legs – how can I be so out of shape? – must quit smoking.

In minutes the sun will sink below Crater Rock. This whole side of the mountain shaded and cool.
Will go out again tomorrow, maybe the last hurrah on the mtn. If this be it, it is a beautiful day. What a weekend to end the season – maybe now I can accept the rain, muddy trails, dark forests, full streams, salmon, slugs, moss, fern, the world reduced to green and gray detail.

But not yet – I will sit on this rock for another 15 minutes or so – massive block of dacite speckled with lichen – how old the lichen, how old the stone? – what weather has this high alpine plain weathered?

There are long passages of time beyond reckoning, beyond the seasons and the rock-fall, the cycle of snow and snow-melt. The shadows grow long.

Down in Tilly Jane it will be dark soon – active canyon, heather, hemlock, tiny streams – things move faster there.

Spiderwebs catch the last light, drifting in the long afternoon. Boulders. White bark. Also drifting.
Amazing how silent it is up here.

The sun is about to go behind the mtn. Time to go – for now.

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