...The Moon it shines visions of beauty...

Alexander Volenski


This is the 'LINK' center.

Mount Rainier: The 'home site' to all chapters...also chapters 1 & 2...Timelines/Light Messages...
Summer Land: Chapter 4...some beautiful views...
Tipsoo Lake: Chapter 5...an alpine lake in the evening.
Mount St. Helens: Chapter 6...a visit to the Volcanic National Monument, Mount St. Helens.
A Poem/Places & People: Chapter 7-8...a summation of the visit, with some reference information.
Volenski's page: The 'home site' of all pages/LINKS.
Empathic Expressions: The 'home site' of the series...world mythology and ancient legends...18 locations on the planet.

Glacier Basin

The Mountain; (C)1994 (C)2005 A. Alexander Volenski
Unedited Excerpt

A nature book in 8 chapters;
an August visit to Mount Rainier National Park.

Chapter 3, Glacier Basin

  It was early morning of another day, the sky clear and crisp again, no clouds
to be seen.  The White River Campground very quiet, for most were asleep as I
walked toward the river to view the mountain.  This campground is located on the
north side of the White River, which pours east for several miles and then
swings north.  A small campfire area with log seats is situated there from
where one can see the mountain clearly; it is the same area where the National
Parks interpretive talks are held.
  Walking through the campfire area passed the rows of wooden benches, I
could smell the freshness in the air, slightly scented and sweet.  Then turning
to look westward, the view of Mount Rainier loomed snow covered and icy, smooth
and ancient, chilling and wind blown, very bright and white, and totally bathed
in sunlight.  As I stood I could look up the Emmons Glacier moraine, for it's
clear of forest, and at the same time hear the tumbling turmoil and turbulent
upheaval of the White River on my left.
  The moraine, glacier, mountain, were silent and motionless, and the river in
contrast, noisy, rushing, surging.  This paradoxical combination of the two, 
silent motionless mountain and roaring surging river, was overwhelming and
engulfed the surroundings where I stood.  Both mountain and river were very
dominate and demanding my full attention.  Mind searched, and as it did it
locked-on-to relaxed concentration; a site which could deal with the paradoxical.
  Suddenly it seemed as though I had again merged through an open doorway, as
if a metaphysical domain of the mind had suddenly materialized, encompassing
me within its manifested daydream sphere.  I swayed, and was inundated with
emotional thoughts, as though gliding back and forth like a pendulum between
grounded reality and postured projections of the emotionally imagined kind.
It was as though I had intersected a void between, a position from which I
could observe both reality and imagined at the same time, and I smiled.
  The river plunged down from the Emmons with a roar of swirling water created
by melting ice and snow which was being freed from the solid grip of time-locked
winters.  Water being liberated by the summer's warmth, and this ensuing advance of
age-old melt brought with it rocks and boulders and earth.  This water of the
White river is discolored from the grinding of the region by the glacier.
  The Emmons Glacier with its massive weight from ages of glacial accumulation,
pressed and crushed everything caught beneath.  Its colossal bulk, over a mile
in width, 4 miles in length, and 75 yards in depth at its lip, is the largest
glacier in the lower 48 States.  I have no idea what it would weigh, or the
pressures it exerts upon the ground underneath, but it is enough to pulverize
boulders, rocks, and soil, into a fine ingredient the texture of flour.  That
extract whirled with the ice thaw and gave it (the water) a color of dish water
or perhaps even ground rye used for the making of bread.  Clouds sometimes
have this grayish tint, 'and sometimes one can see this shade hiking dim
foggy mountainous days, among floating vapors, that linger and are dispelled
within the melody of natures misty drift.'
  In my first chapter on Mount Rainier, I alluded to the mountain as reflecting the
image of a beautiful and stern woman.  This morning, August 27, I looked again for
such a reflection and acknowledgement.  What I found was something quite different,
for as people differ from day to day in little ways that are natural, so too,
the mountain likewise varied in its natural expression.  As I stood, I wondered
also, if my persona of the mountain had changed; it hadn't.  To me there was
still the same feminine and provocative feel, along with the delight that teemed
in my perception of it.
  ..."Natures living culmination," I mused, a culmination very like what one
did find within that envelope of their own vital embodied breath and living
pulse.  For I reminded myself that deep inside the earth there pulsed too,
a flame of a living kind, "a living volcano," as many have expressed.  This
copious thought brought a new parallel into view.  I breathed deeply the fresh
morning air as I heard and looked to the surging river, and metaphorically
realized the streaming water of the river, to be no-other than natures own
artery of life.
  The comparisons, and metaphoric theme which I had just reflected upon, with
the natural-world and the living world of my body, brought to the surface
more clearly, an understanding that we all are similar in composition; 'one
with nature.'  I now began to recognize the flexibility and the unlimited
freedom, which natural surrounds inspire in thought and awareness, as they
drew a hidden often covered dimension from within me, into the immediate.
Unique in simplicity, so is cloaked the complexity of nature's realm.  Nature,
the 'universal communicator,' touches every sense, every nerve, breathing
forth sources of reality that are concealed within us.  Realities which dance
with imagination to a melody we are born to enjoy.  The wild outdoors, paths
in wilderness, and the human born to explore, all find true depth and meaning
revealed within natures abode.  I cherished this uninhabited emancipation,
and open minded liberty that I found in the backcountry.  A place where
independence, and the far ranging character within ones own individualism
is free to roam.
  This morning the surrounding atmosphere, light, time and place, were
different to my first view of the mountain.  Yet there still remained that
clear persona of a feminine kind which I envisioned distinctly yesterday.
I knew I was compelled to pursue that inclination completely.  Everything
at this moment stemmed from my first encounter the other morning with pink
sunrise glow, and coupled to that experience, a dream-event which followed.
All came on their own, without pre-conceived notions.  I was bound to those
events, and would attempt to bridge them together with concentrated thought,
and also strive to be alert to whatever may arise.
  Looking from the river toward the summit, I saw hovering over the top of
the mountain, a cloud unlike clouds we see in free flowing sky.  It was white,
and in the shape of an arch, domed and bent, curved like a rainbow would be,
or like an upside-down white bowl would appear.  That cloud covered the top
most part of the mountain and only the summit.  The surrounding sky was light
blue, very clear and void of any other clouds.  The upper aery portion of
this formation had a very fine edge, as though an artist had taken brush or
pen and lined it in.  I felt an ominous intent lingering there, with the
hovering cloud, almost as though it were looking down to me.  I also felt
as though it had thinking power, impending or even fateful intellect.  There
was an impression, as I let my sensitivity fly there, of power beyond the 
imagined, potency with command and control.
  Gazing while I stood...many words came to mind, Nemesis, fathful, appropriate,
compassion, thunder and lightening, calm, fierce and gentle.  Like a bird
those words flew through the meadow of my mind.  Then as I regained my 
composure and called back my wandering wits to where I now stood, I attempted
to understand that floating cloud, and the emotion of the immediate, which it
seemed to propel.  I felt no fear, rather a great urge to be one with it.
To glide and soar within its existence, as upon an astro-plain, or even just 
to be within its drift and loiter of whiteness.  It was unusual in nature to
me, this pearly arrangement with domed hood portrayed in silhouette like
halo, and I reflected to myself, "could this be a kind of sacred reflection?"
  As I regarded that rare configuration, no real thoughts came to me of the type
of cloud it could be, perhaps at this moment unnamed was best.  While time
passed as I stood there, the vapor mist changed and drifted away and vanished.
When one breathes upon a mirror, a haze appears, and after a short while the
obscurity fades, similarly the cloud also evaporated.  Now I could see all of
the loftiness of the mountain, and realized its presence was as an elevated
approach, within the natural surrounds of wilderness.  Then I recalled how
one mountain climber put it, "Mount Rainier is a living alien mass of rock
and ice, awesome in character."
  I contemplated the comment of an ascender, someone who had scaled many
mountains, and wondered what gender he would have placed on this peak; of
course to me it would always be like a woman.  For I knew I was caught within
an enchantment, a spell perhaps of my own, and captivated as I was with moon
light dreams and day light visual awe, I knew there wasn't anything I would
do to change it, nor did I want to separate myself from such an alluring
attraction.  I preferred to be one with the mountain in all of its charisma,
magnetism, fascination and charm.  The feminine persona that I had affirmed,
even if in-dream alone, was still inspired by the time and place of my surroundings,
and that natural revealing in all its romantic encouragement, I would hold fast
too, and attempt to embrace completely.
  Woman, such a wild and cryptic creature at times, filled with passion, desire,
and a drawing wonder to man, is also-matron aspiring to enhance the natural
world.  A world which must be induced with a rationale, cared for and nourished,
and spared from the brute force of the Industrial Machine.
  Man, a primitive creature born with the primeval spirit, forges ahead in his
development of self and his surroundings.  The once archaic nature of man has
grown into a modern one, and circulating in the blood, and linked to the 
subconscious self, is the ancestral fire.  A fire perhaps born out of some form
of immortality, as in longevity, perpetualness, durableness, or simply
continuance; I don't have the answer to this question of life and immortality
and could not say, nor can I speak for another's view on life.
  While we walk the trails in the forest, and climb the mountains, and sometimes
follow the paths which deer and elk have made over thousands of year, we
may often feel renewed in spirit, in mind, and in body.  For the fire still
burns in our blood which is linked to the far distant beginning, and that
fire instills a rejuvenation, a renewal to our spirit, mind, and body, while
we are in the wilderness.  The nature born within us, calls us out, draws us
out to be all that we must be, to explore all that we can see and imagine,
so we may know all that we are, as we seek with fortitude to reach our own
doorway of Truth.  A door, behind which we are able to see and know completely,
who we are, where we came from, our capabilities, and what we really may be.
  Woman, walks the forested trails, she touches the flowers, lupines, asters,
and many more that grow in a multitude of profusion as they flourish upon
green meadows, and her inner self feels happy, perhaps even reassured in some
way.  Man, walks along the streams, looking, searching, curiously open to
everything, and he climbs to see what is there among the peaks.  He sees the
animals, birds, and fish, and he feels happy too, refreshed and also reassured
in some way.  Together, Man and Woman comprehend these earthy surrounds, and
in their own way know it is good, as the earth speaks to them through their
individual understanding.  Man and Woman foster these sweet even abrupt
experiences, and weather the wind, rain and storm, embraced together sharing
their embodied warmth.  An emitting warmth, flamed by their ancestral fire
within the blood, and they understand that they must be concurrent in their
duality.  For the collectivity within them is directly linked to the natural
world of which they were born.  Man and Woman move and are simultaneous as
they touch each other, love each other, and this giving is natural, and
earthly exquisite, and very sacred.
  It was about 10am when I started up the trail to Glacier Basin which starts
at the White River Campground.  The way is narrow and also wide in some places
as it climbs in a gradual lift.  The footpath leads through a forest showing
little sign of fire, nor are there cut off stumps from the harvesting of 
timber.  Here and there are blown down fir and cedar trees; a wind it seems
did mark those spots.
  As one walks through the shaded forest, it is quiet and somewhat dormant
in places and barren of vegetation except for the trees; a common reminder
of how important sunlight and water are to all growing plants.  Hanging from
the branches of trees, one sees Lichens, a combination of algae and fungus 
clinging and trailing down like a beard on a man, or the shaggy mane of the
ancient Musk Ox.
  ...The route I walked led out of the timber to a small open place on the
trail showing the mountain with its snow glistening in the sun.  To my left
or south, was Little Tahoma Peak at 11,138ft.  That apex was dark and jagged
and surrounded by snow.  An ancient volcano, Little Tahoma Peak, 'a forerunner
of this region'; appeared intriguing and singular, as it seemed to call,
"come up to me."
  I stood and looked at that volcanic pinnacle and wondered about those who
had climbed there and what they may have sensed as they touched it; what were
the thoughts within their imaginative selves at that time?  What was the climb
there like, was it difficult and cold, or pleasant sunny and warm, and how did
that apogee appear to them, with its attachment to what lay above; perhaps
someday these momentary questions will be answered.
  During the winter of 1963, a portion of the north side of Little Tahoma
broke away and slid down the mountain for several miles.  Seven sections
of mountain fell in individual sequences, and traveled along to the Hummocky
End Moraine.  Little Tahoma is on the southside of the Emmons Glacier,
from which the White River surges.  The fragmented rock from Little Tahoma
coasted, some even floated on air cushions for a considerable distance down
the large White River Valley.  As this avalanche fell and heaped, it covered
existing ice and snow in a path that reached 1500ft in width.  One can only
imagine what it would have been like to have witnessed that massive break
away, and sliding shift of terrain.  An immense side of mountain, falling,
cascading, and plunging 4000ft down; flat layered slabs sailing on muffled
compressed air, like giant discs soaring to meet the ground below.  Air
softening impact here and there as momentum increased the disc-like slab's 
speed, sending tons of rocky mountain forward with thundering sound and
turbulence.  Meager creatures we are, when it comes to the colossal and
titanic disruptive force of hidden power which seems to slumber so calmly
and peacefully within the gentle realm of nature.
  I continued my walk along the trail that led into the forest, with its
shady columns of shadowy greens, as sun beams broke through here and there.
While I meandered along, I spied up ahead a hummingbird sipping sweet nectar
from a Crimson Sitka Columbine (Aquilegia Formosa), and I stopped to watch.
The little bird so powerful and quick, flying forward and backward in darting
fashion, suddenly hovered briefly, as its intrinsical awareness saw me.  It
then flew up to me to have a closer look, like a sentry it fluttered near
my head scrutinizing my face and eyes, then it zoomed off beyond my sight,
disappearing into the surrounding canopy of forest.  As it went, I wondered
what message it took back with it to wherever messages of such a kind were
taken.  I continued to scan the surrounding foliage, hoping to see that
'Harlequin character', but it was gone for now.  Silently I applauded that
miniature spectrum of fluffed, as it pantomimed in-minuet to 'Sweet Columbine'
who was ever faithful to him.  And I mused quietly to myself of how passionate,
ardent bird and armorous flower both were on this warm and calm day.
  Gaining altitude, I noticed Asters (Family Compositae) in bloom like little
daisy's.  The faded blue color of that flower seemed purple with a tint of
amethyst.  Have you ever wondered how all these tender flowers got here, a
limitless arrangement of amazement they seem to me.  Very delicate, elaborate,
intricate they are, as too the bees and butterflies, all comparable in
personality to what 'imagination and perception' would seem to be.  The
Lupines (Lupinus) were everywhere too, and they seemed strong and hearty
as they grew upon the highland ground.

Lupines lupines
what have you 
that you would share?

We would share the air
the mountain cool,
we would share the day
the moonlight too,
we would share our songs
to you in tune,
if we could sing
like birds all do.

Lupines lupines
all so blue,
what can you tell
that's known by you?

The winters silent
still and white,
the snow blows freely
with delight,
all is peaceful
calm and quiet,
as we sleep
through winter night.

And in sweet spring
we come awake,
to see the world
and blossoms make.

We feel the warm
and kissing sun,
and know that now
all life is fun.

We breathe the air
and taste the dew,
we see the bees
and love them too.

In all of this
we hope to shine,
like sun above
with endless time.

So as you pass us
in your life,
pause sometime
in thought to find,
perhaps a message
hidden here,
that you may share
with others dear.

  Leaving my thoughts of Lupines, I resumed my hike and came up over a steep
hump that led through an alpine forest which stood in dwarfish style, very
dark green the trees, and a great stillness was present, and I lingered there
to catch my breath.  Looking along up ahead, I could see the meadow of Glacier
Basin with bright sunlight shining everywhere, it seemed as though I now looked
through a tunnel from where I stood in the dim light of surrounding alpine
forest, then I proceeded in the direction of that splendid light and felt cheerful.
  Glacier Basin at approximately 6000ft, has a meadow which sweeps up to the side
of Burroughs Mountain, and enclosed at one end of that meadow is a small lake.
The lake was shallow and the water clear.  There were deer and elk tracks on its
muddy bottom.  The elk frequent here in summer as do the deer, bear, cougar, and
mountain goats.
  I walked out of the forest into the open meadow where the trail led; everything
lays before you, giving a wide close view of the distant mountainous ridges.  To
my right the meadow and lake, and towering over the half leaning Burroughs Mountain,
with all its column pillar rock which sticks up like a broken off trunk of a fir
tree.  Very implausible that mountain seemed, jetting up into the air.
  Then looking to my left and over the edge of a bank next to the trail, I saw
moving water from the Inter Fork, a stream that is fed by the Inter Glacier to
the west.  The Inter Glacier sits around on the side of Mount Ruth (forefront),
and just a little left of center from the place I stood on the trail, Liberty
Cap, is high above and ahead like a vanguard to the west.  These two mountains,
Burroughs and Ruth, sit across from each other with the meadow in between.
Liberty Cap is much higher in elevation and attached to the upper part of
Mount Rainier.
  When I laid eyes on Mount Ruth, which appeared close at about 8700ft, I 
couldn't make myself took away, there was something about that rugged chunk
of rock which held my attention.  It seemed an enigma or quandary of some
sort resided there somewhere near its promontory.  I would have liked to
sketch Mount Ruth or Liberty Cap, but that would be a project in itself, perhaps
sometime in the future it will be done.  Liberty Cap was partly covered with
concentrated cloud and it looked windy up there, windy and cold.  Now and then
the clouds which hovered round its snow plumed peak would disappear, and I
could see clearly the area where a massive break-away of ice and snow had
occurred, leaving a huge portion of that side of the mountain exposed.
  The only snow upon Mount Ruth that I could see this day, were small patches
shaded from the sun (north slope), and I noticed ravens, and another smaller
brownish bird, flying there near the top, all gliding on up-drafts of warm air.
Every now and then the brown bird would fly close to the mountain, and then
disappear within a deep dark draw which plunged down, and then suddenly it would
reappear out of the shadows.  Very lively and sure it flew as it materialized
and surfaced out of the veiled aery span which stretched between us.  The sky
was exceptionally clear today, except for a few lingering patches of cloud near
the top, and there was a steady breeze.  The air clean and scented with the
sweet smell of surrounding meadow, and one knew that here where I stood, was really
where the region of man and woman did join that exotic remote place high in
the snow and ice fields above.
  The adventure of climbing, along with the invitation, summons, and challenge
that a mountain has, is a great endeavor.  Then after the summit is reached, and
one comes down out-of or off-of that moon like terrain of another world, the
green lush meadows are a welcome site where one can reflect upon their journey,
trek, even quest, experienced there on high.  One can also only imagine what it
was like for those early climbers who reached the zenith over a century ago,
and who knows what bits of clothing or other things one may find which are still
buried beneath the snow and ice from that era.  One of those early climbers wrote
in his log that 'his hat was blown away by a gale wind,' and that it tumbled so
far it couldn't be retrieved.  It would be something to find that hundred year old
hat, a hat of which would still be very well preserved.
  Taking my shirt off and then shoes and socks, I laid back upon a large rock and
let the hot sun soothe me with its penetrating energy.  Closing my eyes, I lay
listening to the wind and heard the stream gushing below me, and also the idle
conversation of other hikers who were visiting.  Some of those wayfarers were
preparing to advance to Camp Schurman, the base camp to the crown or summit from
this side of Mount Rainier.  Camp Schurman is just under 10,000ft and sits close
to Steamboat Prow, a large mass of tilted rock that is easily seen when viewing
the mountain from this side at a distance.
  I laid there cat napping, that place somewhere between being awake and drifting
into sleep.  A quiet peaceful place of the mind where one seems to almost float
through space, or even to glide down from on high to gently rest their feet on
another domain.  Listening I could hear laughter, wind, the call of the Marmot,
and sound of running water.  I could feel the high spiritedness and encouragement
from those to ascend, and the air had a lightness to it, and I felt a momentary lift
within my spirited being as though I might drift up and away on high like a bird.
However, the hard and rigid rock that I laid upon, poked my back, and kept my
conscious thoughts firmly down to earth.
  It was high noon, just after 12:00pm, and as I continued taking in the rays of
the sun, suddenly I heard a low and deep rumble like thunder.  The sound seemed
to move rapidly building momentum as it came, until it reached a reverberating
pitch, it was then that I knew what it was...jet-fighters.  I quickly opened
my eyes and grabbed my binoculars to see them as they flew low and right over
me, they appeared possibly to be two Air-Force F-16's.  Like two darts or missles
they passed screaming through the sky.  They banked left over Burroughs Mountain,
whaling and rumbling as they turned toward the west.
  These two Air Force jets had suddenly appeared out of the southeast coming at
great speed, and I wondered what purpose their presence commanded, who had sent
them, and what could be their mission?  Then they were gone along with their mighty
sound wave, weaponry, and sensing devises.  The air space around Mount Rainier is
restricted to the elevation that these two jets were at, and I pondered the
reason they came in so low; looking for UFO's?  It is a wonder that the rumble
from their engines hadn't started an avalanche.  An avalanche of which with the
number of climbers (60 or more) up there today, could have caused a loss of life.
  It seems that even in high places one still finds the presence of another type
of world, one very separate to the world of which I was sunning myself.  It was
then that I realized how controlled this life can be, and that at times, important
personal times, one often finds themselves still caught within the cold grip of
the Industrial and Technical World of our society.  I wonder with all the
technology, whether man and woman have not built a fence, perhaps an intellectual
kind of enclosure, which keeps them from knowing what they truly are about.  One
may wonder as they grow, about this thought of barricades and closed off areas
of natural human awareness.
  I often find it quite perplexing as I walk through this life, and see so much
of human value that is missed, and how hard it is to reach a future place, where
one may truly feel complete.  And I am always thankful for the sober rationale
of the natural world, and its contained and continued persistence.
  Now I put on my shirt, socks and shoes, strung my pack over my shoulder, took
another look at Mount Ruth and Liberty Cap in splendor, said a silent goodbye
to the meadow, pond, and Burroughs Mountain, and headed on down the trail
toward my camp, and the White River Campground.


[Next, chapter 4, Summer Land; note: text is yet to be proof read].

                                         This page created May98
                                               updated 2005