Holden Village Staff Experience August, 2003

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The trip north August 1-4

The trip did not have an auspicious beginning.  I stayed too late at work, in a frenzied attempt to finish a data base load, gave up at 7 pm, drove home, packed, and at 10 pm headed north to Redding, CA.  It was raining, I was tired, and worried about work, and I gave myself to designing a possible workaround as I drove.
Meanwhile, the sensory changes amazed me.  San Francisco was socked in by the usual August coastal fog; it was about 45 degrees when I left, and as I drove north, I was impressed by the fact that I could wear shorts and a t-shirt and not be cold.  And it was raining!  In August!  Imagine that.  I pulled into my motel at 1:30 am and collapsed.
Next morning I was up and out and driving north again in the mist.  Shasta was completely enveloped in cloud, and not a bit could be seen.  Oh well, I don't like that mountain anyway; it has killed too many people.  Foolhardy ones, of course, who don't get that it doesn't want to be climbed or developed; still, it's a formidable place.  I felt it as I drove by, even though I couldn't see it for the clouds.
On to Ashland where I had a ticket for a world premier play, "Lorca in a Green Dress", about the Spanish poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, who was assasinated by the fascists in 1936.  (The link above shows pictures, but I wouldn't recommend reading the text.)  What a play!  If you ever get to see it, go for it.  For a description and review of the play, click here.  I will go on record that I chose this play over Richard II, despite Bruce's strong insistence on the worthiness of the Shakespeare.  Sorry, Bruce.


They have trees in Oregon!  Took this from a rest stop on I5.

North to Eugene after the play, where I took a walk through town, had a great dinner, and collapsed.  The next day, Sunday, was so much better!  I popped Bob Seeger into the CD player and headed north to Mt. Hood, singing all the way.
"Today's music ain't got the same soul,
  I like that ol' time rock and roll!"




And they fill your tank.  It's against the law for you to do it yourself.  I asked this guy for his picture because I hadn't experienced this for over 15 years!
       (but you knew that)


Aren't these little girls totally adorable?  They just had to get into the picture; their father tried to get them away, and then admitted that it might take a long time, and I, being such a softie when it comes to kids, took their picture and had a little talk with the family.  Told them where I was headed for dinner, and received congratulations for my good taste.
I love these kids...especially when they aren't shy.


The road bends to the left, you round the curve and look!  There's Mt. Hood, my first real destination.  I am so excited by the sight that I can't resist stopping for a photo and just to stare.
Time to start looking for the trailhead for my hike.  I had planned on doing as much of the Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain Loop Trail as I had time and energy for, and I was able to get almost to the first summit before my time ran out. 
I found it several miles up, parked with all the other folks, changed my shoes, packed my water, and started up.  The trail switchbacked up into pine forest, then opened out without warning to display the ferns and flowers you see here.


Looking  back at Mt. Hood from the other side of the lake.  Can you tell I'm enamored of this mountain?  I had to snap this one quickly, as the clouds were coming, and there was an, er, romantic scene going on where I would have gotten a better shot. 
By the time the couple left and I could get a better shot of the lake, Mt. Hood was obscured in clouds.


Still going up, but by now I had gained considerable elevation.  See the road down there?  It actually looked farther away in real life.  Must have been a well designed trail, because I didn't remember having climbed that much. 


I had coffee in the central sitting room, writing in my journal and chatting with fellow travelers.  And I experienced the second sensory attack:  They ski on this mountain all year round!  I walked into the ski lodge, and it looked like any other.  I almost felt bad because I wasn't leaning against the wall telling stories with everyone.  It was August!  I asked some of the skiers about
The next day I am on my way to Chelan, WA.  On the road heading north from Mt. Hood, I stopped to shoot some pictures of the mountain, as a goodbye guesture.  Looking south from the road, you see Mt. Hood.



It looked like a rain forest, but it was really the shore of Mirror Lake, the first destination.  The lake is to the right of the picture.


So I continued around the lake and just by chance found the trail, which was not well marked, that led up the ridge to the top of Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain.  Here's the view from that trail, and the purple flowers were everywhere.  But better than that, there were purple huckleberries everywhere, and the farther up I got, the more abundant they got.  I ate as many as I could! 
Every so often I turned around to see if Mt. Hood had appeared from under its cover of clouds, but no.  Even more often I checked to make sure I was making enough noise, to frighten away any bears that might also be interested in the huckleberries.  I am deathly afraid of bears, although I understand intellectually that they are even more deathly afraid of me, but I wasn't taking any chances.


Ok, Steven, what is this flower?  It was everywhere!  This is one of the prettiest, and I apologize for the lack of focus.  It was the best my disposable camera could do, I think.
What is it about a hike that when you turn around and head back, it seems like it's over?  Surely it's only half done, with a whole new perspective as you approach the trail from the opposite end.  Why is it that all the discoveries are made going up and in, and not during the return?
The hike was fantastic.  I was gone for about 3 hours, I gained over 1,000 feet in elevation, I was tired and hungry and ready for the next adventure.


The Timberline Lodge, built in 1936-38, a classic heavy timber mountain lodge, was where I slept, in a featherbed, that evening.  And when I woke in the morning, I knew I was gone from a former life, some huge burden having been removed from me while I slept.  What did that?  I don't know, but I'm grateful.  Here's another picture.
the snow conditions, and they were exactly what you would think: very crusty early on, turning to spring conditions later.  (For those of you who aren't skiers, "spring conditions" is a euphemism for "slushy, horrible, you can't turn unless you push that stuff around, and it's like cement."). Still, they all insisted they had had a great morning.  I, however, was dubious, having had my fill of spring conditions years ago.
Looking north, from the very same spot, you see Mt. Rainier.  See it?  It's not very big, and the sun has lit it brightly, but it's there.  If I lived on this road, I could see both mountains. 


And so I continued north, through the Columbia River Valley, then across the river to Washington state (where they don't pump your gas...), through the reservation on Route 97 towards Yakima and Ellensburg (where it was hotter than hell...), then to higher elevations and a bit more forest.
Playing U2 so loud I thought I'd go deaf. When I play U2, I am in a VERY GOOD MOOD!
I want to run, I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside
I want to reach out and touch the flame
Where the streets have no name

I want to feel, sunlight on my face
See that dust cloud disappear without a trace
I want to take shelter from the poison rain
Where the streets have no name

And now, at last, the first sign for Chelan!  Five hours of driving later...


In Wenachee, WA, I met Mary Beth, who had phoned me for a ride to Holden.  We had dinner together, at a Mongolian BBQ (in Wenachee, of all places, but the one in L.A. is better...) then drove north to Holden's Bed and Breakfast, about 20 miles west of Chelan, on the south side of the lake.  We had great talks; she was volunteering for 3 weeks in the kitchen and had one more year of college, where she designed her own major, "Therapy through the Creative Arts", if I remember correctly.  It's about using any and all of the creative arts: music, dance, drawing, writing, etc. to help people therapeutically.  Very interesting stuff.  We talked some about shamanism: what it is, and what it isn't, and how it integrates with religion, among other things.
Home at last!  The B&B felt like warmth and love.  After unpacking, I walked down to Lake Chelan and out on the pier to watch the sunset.  That night it was blue and yellow, turning to blue and orange.  Perhaps a fitting end to a trip that started out so gray and rainy. 
When the colors started to fade, I ran the half mile up the hill to the B&B, and went to bed.  Tomorrow the real journey would begin, as I would say goodbye to the outside world for a while.
------------------------------------------------------------- Musings from the Journey -------------------------------------------------------------
Both in Ashland Saturday and during the hike Sunday, I encountered people who made me feel like a stranger in this land.  Wholesome people, polite people.  People from Indiana and who knows where else.
I sense something scary - something in them that tells me that there are limits to what I can think, limits to the ways I can love, pray and dream.  These are not limits of decency and justice, but limits that suggest that if I step out of their pre-scribed circle, I should become an outcast.
I contrast that to the sense I have in San Francisco, in which everyone seems freer and more joyful, and much farther along the path of consciousness than I am.  In the Bay Area, it seems like it takes all the running I can do to keep up with them, and all I can hope for is to catch a glimpse of the dust they stir up, as they progress ever so much faster and farther than I.
They are always helpful to me, always willing to teach and share their wisdom, never barricaded inside their pre-scribed circles of intellectual, moral and religious certainty.  They tell me to go at my own pace; they practice patience.  Still, I long to catch up with them.