Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mountain Sound


Last weekend, I went up to Mt. Baker, or Komo Kulshan, to celebrate some birthdays under the Super Moon, with a coven of rather wild witchy women.  Watching the moon rise up in purple haze, as we drove through the valley, and hitching itself to the peak of this mountain, the second of the twin giants that dominate our Eastern horizon, I was reminded again by how mysterious and magical mountains and rivers are to me.

Coming from the land of flat, monotonous landscapes and gently rolling, wooded hills, I'm forever awestruck by the rugged white peaks to whom the clouds cling onto, their steep sides and, steep precipices and boundless views.

I doubt I'll ever get used to it. This aspect of my home state is something I continue to be amazed by. Not just how much natural "wilderness" there is here, but also how varied it is.  Within a couple of hours driving range from our ferry-landing there are two different mountain ranges, the wild shores of the Pacific Ocean, the high desert of Eastern Washington and a plethora of rivers great and small...

There are different climates and micro-climates, rain shadows and banana belts and places where the rain never seems to seize. There are strange dichotomies, like the one we encountered on hour short hike at Artist's Point: record snow and more or less nowhere to walk without gear, but the air so warm you could hike in snow in shorts and a tank top.


There's also an endless variety of flora and fauna, similar species that are subtly varied depending on their altitude, being born and dying, flowering and fruiting, waking up and going to sleep earlier or later in the season depending on where they are.







Everywhere I've been here, I've encountered species that are new to me, familiar critters in unfamiliar places. I'll probably never really know this land within its arbitrarily drawn borders, that contain Avalanche Lillies and Huckleberry patches, and Jays and loud loud Ravens.


This is a state where, given enough time and rain, everything here turns green. It's a thought that occurs to me often in the seemingly endless weeks of midwinter downpours.

You can taste that rain, each time you eat the landscape, feel it when you dangle your feet in snowmelt.


It's the state of water, a land of clouds, Washington, and as a friend pointed out on the river bank on Sunday on its mountains, that water meets the other three elements, the earth from which they push up from, the air which their peaks reach and the volcanic fire that continues to bubble and boil inside them. Magic.

How was your weekend?

21 comments:

  1. Spectacular. I love the PNW, we have it all here, as you said, from the wild ocean to the astounding mountain ranges, to the expansive desert climes in the east. Gorgeous pictures, thanks for sharing, must get to Baker, its one mountain I haven't properly explored.

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  2. What a spectacular sight and such beautiful photos. I absolutely adore the first one and the fifth and sixth look like paintings! Mountains will always be magical to me too as I rarely see one in real life. But also because they embody how majestic nature, the earth, is. I had a taste of the PNW when in Canada and would love to visit Washington state and Oregon soon. You know that song from Best Coast, The Only Place? I totally agree, were it not for US politics ;)

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  3. beautiful landscape. that's the magic of washington state, we have everything! desert to mountains to water. these photos make me feel especially stir crazy for new adventures! :)

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  4. My weekend was nothing like yours! ;) I live in the flats of Southeast Texas and dream of such places as you have shared here. What a beautiful sight to wake to each morning.

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  5. So you did try and make it to Cold Mountain Milla :o)

    This is what came to my mind when I saw this beautiful, glowing you in front of the white peaks... And the amazing light in all your wonderful pictures here. I also love your image of "eating the landscape": this is obviously what you have been doing with your whole six senses.

    It makes me truly happy :o)

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  6. Everything in the United States seems so big to me. Cities, trees, mountains, houses, spaces. The biggest peak in Poland is 2503m (8,212 ft, according to Wikipedia) and I've never even been there. I've skiied in higher places in Austria, around 3100m, which is still lower than Mount Baker. We don't have vulcanoes, at least not one that've shown some activity in the last thousand years or two. Our oldest tree is about 650 years old. I've never seen it, too, and there's no way to hug it, anyway, it's behind a fence (sad).

    I don't have inferiority complex or anything, I'm just amazed with the generous nature of the continent. Among my friends, I think I'm the only one to always declare I'd like to visit US (and Canada while I'm there). They are always surprised. It's not trendy, you see, to visit such places, it is much more cool to go to Laos or one of those tiny African countries nobody heard of. But then I say: Great Canyon, Appallachian Mountains, sequoia trees and they go "aaaahhh, you're right!".

    Thank you for your photos, they should be enough until I can get there!:)

    a.

    P.S. I gave in and started a blog. I'm not promising anything. castmorespells.blogspot.com

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    1. Best news ever! Heading over there right now! Love to have you more in my online life, as meagre as it currently. And hey, come on over, we'll show you a good time and some mountains <3

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  7. Oh Milla your pictures are breathtaking and leave me with this big desire to visit.


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  8. The colours in these photos are otherworldly! Incredible to have the opportunity to savour such majestic beauty!

    M.

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  9. i don't need to say it....but.....amazing. I feel like I live in a country of water. i nod along as i see the photos of water and green leaves and trees. I wish I had more landscape to see, being trapped by the hills here means I can't see far. I need to venture down south Steve says, where the LOTR mountain views and valleys were filmed. I'm glad you got to take such a beautiful trip. x

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  10. I love the photos! Such a beautiful place. You are as beautiful as the scenery, I feel like you could have a cup of hot cocoa and be singing The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music :) My weekend was a bit busier than I had anticipated. That being said I did get to set up a little painting station in my apartment and painted a little. It felt really good to re-introduce my non existent art studio into my current apartment maybe soon to be also art studio :) I even got a painting done. Thankfully! I am really working on breaking through some painting and artistic barriers. Thanks for sharing your wonderful weekend cutie. Hope all the visitors are nice to you and give great tips. See you when I see you :) P.S I really like Smiley Faces :)

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    1. I really like smiley faces too love! hope to see you soon!

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  11. Upeaa ja vaikuttavaa! Kertakaikkisen kaunista sinulla siellä.

    Minulla oli myös voimallinen viikonloppu. Hyvien ystävien häissä villillä ja iloisella energialla.
    Sanoivat tahdon kauneimman näkemäni alttaritaulun edessä ( http://www.kokemaenjokilaakso.fi/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/6-Alttari.jpg ). Muutenkin kaikki oli kaunista ja täyttä, myös minä pitkästä pitkästä aikaa.
    Tanssin villisti ja osallistuin myöhäisyön räppibattleen, naiset vastaan miehet :) (Vastassa tosin herrasmiehiä ja battle oikeastaan kulki niin, että molemmat osapuolet keskittyivät kehumaan naisia :) )

    Terveisiä, voimia ja iloa kesän keskelle!

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  12. these photos are beautiful! makes me long for the forest.

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  13. Wow, Milla! What a beautiful place, and you look like you so belong there. It almost looks like a backdrop you are standing in front of!

    I am always struck by the beauty of the land you live on/near. It makes my heart ache, really. And you look radiant, my dear.

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  14. I couldn't agree with you more about the mountains + rivers being magical. There's so much energy that vibrates from them, with a mystery around every corner. Love your photography + writing, as always... I always walk away from your posts feeling inspired.

    PS - The gathering of witchy wild women sounds amazing.

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  15. AAAhhh views of Baker always make me homesick! I'm thinking of moving back to Bellingham this winter. Which means a meet-up is in order! Because I'll be that much closer!

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    1. I would love that Phoebe, though of course Portland is also lovely, my sissy lives there too. I hope you're not too homesick. Either way, should come visit Slowpez sometime, I would make you the biggest pot of wild herb tea! Here's to that future!

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