Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Dad and I hiked to Rachel Lake today, and I experienced the phrase “elevation gain” in a new and most painful way: by increasing my vertical distance 1,300 feet in one mile. That’s ¼ of a foot up for every foot across—a slope rarely approached, let alone equaled, on most hikes. The trail, four miles long total, meanders along a cute riverlet for three of the miles, gaining and losing no appreciable elevation. The last mile, however, could be described as hiking straight up the side of a mountain, and at times up the side of a rocky cliff. As Dad and I passed a sweating, water-chugging couple on the way up I commented, “Good workout, huh?” to them, not realizing that by the time I actually reached Rachel Lake my quads would have gone on strike demanding shorter working days. But the lake was beautiful, enormous for a sub-alpine lake, clear and deep and blue, full of jumping trout and hopping frogs and sticks for Carmel to fetch. As we sought a stretch of beach devoid of humanity (apparently Rachel Lake is very popular), we passed along a ridge that provided a panorama of the Cascades rolling on into the distance. Also we passed by a man hanging out at his camp site… naked. This detracted from the view considerably, so we moved on to a different stretch of beach. Even the flies, while pesky and insistent, didn’t bite (there’s nothing worse than an insect landing on you and taking a chunk out of your flesh—actually leaving you bleeding). So Rachel Lake is a gorgeous day hike, simultaneously arduous and easy, and a wonderful farewell to Washington for me.