“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19: 1-3
We spent our final night and morning on the trail camped at Island Pass, elevation 10,255. Usually passes are windy and cold places but since we wanted to finish the last 36 miles in two days it became the most logical place to stay for the final night.
“It’s a Hallelujah Chorus moment … you can’t help but stand in awe and reverence.” Doris
We were coming out of Muir Trail Ranch and climbing our way up to Seldon Pass … as we passed over the top we were overwhelmed with the view of Marie Lake and valley below us. It was a Hallelujah moment … we have seen so many beautiful places on the trail, and on the top of each pass we take in breathtaking views that blow the mind … yet, this one took both of us by surprise. It is one of those defining moments that we will always treasure.
“Hiking – I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to The Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, “A la saint terre’, ‘to The Holy Land’. And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them. “”
A dear friend sent me that quote… I love it!
Thirteen days in, 132 miles, and our sore muscles and aching feet don’t support the notion that we have been sauntering but it sure does have a “Holy Land” feeling. We are walking through beautiful places all day long and it’s almost become commonplace.
“It’s the Golden Staircase, or The Escalator, or Hell.” Unknown Hiker Describing the Golden Staircase
The Golden Staircase (not to be confused with the Chilkoot Trail) is a series of tight, seemingly unending switchbacks that ascend the north side of Mather Pass … it reminded me a little of Walters Wiggles in Zion Park without the smooth surface. We hiked on “Orthopedic trails” … our description for trails with rocks and uneven surfaces designed to keep Orthopedic Surgeons occupied with foot, ankle, knee and leg injuries.
Here we were at the beginning of the famed West Coast Trail in June 1999 for our first ever backpacking trip. The experts say you shouldn’t pick the West Coast Trail for your first backpacking experience … ha, what do they know. We’d updated our last will and testament, told our kids we loved them, and packed everything except the kitchen sink to make room for the scrabble game and off we trekked.