>Ninety Miles Around Tahoma – Sept 12

August 29, 2010 at 5:52 pm (Uncategorized)

>This is the account of my solo backpack trip around Mt. Rainier Sept 1-12, 1990. I will be posting one journal entry each day.


Mt Rainier by Ryan McIntyre

September 12. I am going home.

I hope I am ready.

Eleven miles today and I recall the tortured eleven miles of my second day. Fog muffles sound; the wind does not stir; dew beads on every leaf. My boots are soon soaked. I notice small things now, particularly the profusion of beargrass. I recall baskets I’ve made with cedarbark and dried beargrass; between my fingers the long, narrow leaves are rigid and rough.

I am a bit sad. I do not wish to leave. But I am not a marmot who can hibernate until the snow melts. Nor am I a deer or a hawk or a pipit. I do not belong here any longer. I have accomplished my purpose.

“The hero/ine learns to live in two worlds. This is perhaps the most important teaching of the Vision Quest. One world is sacred, spiritual, eternal. The other world is mortal, material, and subject to change.”

The wet six-mile descent to Mowich River is made in three easy hours. I cross a Jökulhlaups washout, unsure of the trail, and climb uphill through misty forest. I sing. Loudly. “Val-er-eee, val-er-ah, val-er-ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa. Beneath God’s clear blue sky.”

It is a significant moment when I come into the clearing at Mowich Lake, twelve days from the time I left it. I let out an Indian yell. I did it. Tim is not expected until eight, so I have five hours for lunch. The ranger has closed up shop and left hikers’ food caches on the porch. I hope a bear doesn’t get the Alabama guy’s stuff in the cardboard box. Aw, there’s no danger: it’s freeze-dried. Garbage would taste better.

The day is exactly as it was when I began this journey. Foggy.

“The willingness to be a channel of vision takes great courage and endurance and is not lightly assumed. There will be times when you stumble and fall. Then you will want to crawl away to the sacred mountains. These are times of the greatest potential, when you are looking the dragons square in the eye. Only you know what you have hidden away, growing steadily and surely with its magical roots in your subsoil. As you grow, the vision grows. There is no other way.”

I’ve crossed a hundred creeks, counted a million stars, named all the glaciers, wore feathers in my hair. I’ve been to the Garden of Eden and I was created first. And only. I am part of the cosmic consciousness, knowing that I am in God and God is in me, and I am connected to everything else in the universe. I have had the most profound spiritual experience of my life.

I know that I am an original blessing, not an original sin. I know that I am a co-creator with God and his created. I am an artist. A woman. A mother.

And now I go home.


Tim, Cindy and Ryan McIntyre
20 years ago

Ryan McIntyre, age 24, did a backpack trip around Mt. Rainier (Tahoma) with his girlfriend Amy and their friends. Their experience wasn’t as idyllic as mine, thanks to a significant snowstorm and much rain. Here is his photo account of that trip in September 2009, 19 years after my own trip. (I’m still waiting for the dramatic journal entries.)

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1 Comment

  1. six of seven said,

    >Cindy, what a beautiful journey/journal. You must have taken that trip a couple years before we met. I too am drawn to the wild and gain much wisdom from natures cycle of life and death. I would love to connect with you and share stories.Tamara

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