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Day’s Verse:

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Mark 9:23

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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.

I will miss Washington when Ian and I leave on Monday. It’s my home, and I feel most at peace following Dad and Carmel up a trail in the Cascades while talking about life. The air is clean, the chipmunks smart enough to run in straight lines in front of your car, the is dust fine, the mountains are mountains snow-capped year round, and you can’t ever get lost when driving because there’s either Lake Washington, Puget Sound, the Olympics, or the Cascades to show your compass point. The traffic is abominable, the busses are cheap, the people are friendly, the drivers respect turn signals, and I haven’t met a disagreeable fellow hiker in ten years. Who wouldn’t want to live in Washington?

Question: why do mountains look blue in the distance?

– KF –

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