Most of the hikers are half or less my age, which is 64 the day I hike to Lena Lake. Until I meet a baby boomer couple as I am heading back down the trail.
“We’re pokey,” the woman says as I step to the edge of the trail to let them pass. It is an apology? I’m not sure.
“What other way is there?” I say.
“These young ones,” she says, “just run up here. But the trees! They’re so big!”
“And the boulders are enormous!” I respond.
“I wonder if they notice,” she says.
Why, I wonder, do we wait until we have to slow down, and only then discover what a gift it is?
The only way to get to the Lenas, lower and upper, is to hike there. Up. (Well, I suppose a float plane in an emergency, or a helicopter with water skids.) As I hiked up through the boulder field—the ones that tumbled down in a gargantuan earthquake 1300 years ago according to signage at the trail head—I wonder at the sound they must have made. In fact, it was the landslide that formed the lakes, when it blocked Lena Creek.
In the same area, what looked like last winter’s storm blowdown took my breath away. How loud was that? Did the snow silence it? No one around but the animals, and they aren’t telling. I imagine one of the old growth giants uprooting and snapping off six more as it thundered to the forest floor, leaving a pile of pick-up sticks. My mind boggles at the immensity of creation.
But did I mention the delicate flowers? The foam flower, twin flower, bunchberry, wild roses? And the green green ferns? It is not a hurrying kind of place.