Climbing Mount Spokane

Short is the little time which remains to thee of life. Live as on a mountain. – Marcus Aurelius

Awakening to a pitch black night I slowly dress and ready myself for the unseen adventure ahead of me today. Even though there is little snow in the Spokane Valley, I am hopeful to head up into the mountains of this new land and find trails covered in winter’s cold embrace.

A mere thirty minutes from downtown and all I have around me are frost covered pines, their once green moss now suspended in frozen brilliance on the branches. I find a empty parking lot in this winter wonderland and try to navigate the map to see what trail I should set foot upon.

Topography was never my specialty though, and so with two water bottles, a banana, and my friend Dopey’s beanie wrapped around my head for warmth, I head into the unknown wilderness looking to climb to the top of Mount Spokane…

The snow is crunchy for the first few miles, making it fairly easy to navigate, but the trail splits in different directions at multiple junctures. I find myself running into one dead end after another, but feel comforted by the pristine wilderness. A lone woodpecker breaks the silence occasionally with it’s familiar call.
I eventually come across a ski resort, empty today as it is closed, a posted sign asks to “pray to the Snow Gods”. I take a sip and decide to hike straight up the mountain, following the black diamond snow path. It is excruciatingly difficult, yet exhilarating. This path eventually becomes too steep, and so I find my way back to the trail, and slowly make my way round and round the mountain, hoping that my body will let me reach the top.
With the winter solstice almost upon us, time is imperceptible, clouds and fog dot the landscape, with the rare glimpse of blue sky and a faint line of the sun on the horizon. I’ve never been this far North in winter. The clouds seem imaginary.
  I see a couple of people far ahead of me in the distance. I raise to wave my hand but I can’t tell if they see me or not. I go to get another drink of water to avoid dehydration, but the water has frozen. I hope that the top is near. As I turn the corner, I see the cell tower at the top, and with short breaths I make it up to the summit.
The view above the clouds is so humbling, yet the wind makes my eyes water, then quickly freezes on my cheeks. I wipe my face with numb fingers, then work my way back down the mountain to thaw my exhausted, yet satisfied body.

2 Comments

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?