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Stopping to smell the roses

Wild mushrooms in Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Regular readers of my monthly, electronic ramblings are probably already aware that one of my passions is hiking in our national parks and other public lands.  Needless to say, along the trails I do encounter a lot of interesting and inquisitive people, yet I continue to be surprised by others who, even though totally surrounded by the majesty of Mother Nature’s handiwork, still seem unable to “see the forest for the trees.”

I don’t quite know what drives individuals to be in such a big hurry, or the attraction of simply getting to the end of a trail and return to the point of origin as quickly as possible, seemingly in order to embark upon yet another perfunctory adventure. In the tour industry, we’ve all heard stories about international visitors to the Grand Canyon, who, after a brief look over the rim at Arizona’s awesome gorge, have apparently seen as much as they want and are ready to press on to Las Vegas.

My point is simply that there is beauty to be found almost everywhere.  Nevertheless, if one does not pause along the way to look for that beauty, or to bend over for a closer view, then he or she is missing out on a whole world of fascinating discoveries. I’d much rather make just half of a given trail and know that I experienced as many of the wonders encountered along the way as possible, than be able to boast that I made it all the way to the “bitter end.”

Hopefully the accompanying, recent photographs provide an idea of the type of sights that many people seem to just rush on past. I sat on a rock in Mount Rainier National Park for at least half an hour to take in the splendor of the glacial lake and mountain ridge shown. Even though this rock couldn’t have been more than 100 feet off of the “beaten path,” not one of them paused along the way long enough to see what they were missing while I was there! So please, do yourself a big favor when you’re out in the wild and stop to smell, see, photograph or otherwise experience the things that are just beyond comprehension with a cursory glance.

Flowers after a rainstorm at the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Eatonville, WA

Glacial lake and Goat Island Mountain in Mt. Rainier National Park, WA