If a Tree Falls in the Forest…


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.












8 thoughts on “If a Tree Falls in the Forest…

  1. That’s because Lena is treated like hiking Grand Central Station (grumble, grumble). We actually went up there for the very first time in the snow in January (note to self: hiking on icy trails…not so fun) as WTA had repeatedly told me it was a mass of people most of the spring and summer. Needless to say, there weren’t many people out on NYD and the snow muffled the quiet of the forest even more than usual and it was….breathtaking.


    1. Whoa. I don’t like ice on a sidewalk, or loose gravel on a trail. I would have been terrified! It really wasn’t bad, people-wise. I met a lot of people as I was coming down, but mostly I had the trail to myself. Since I hike alone I don’t really mind seeing people now and again. I would love to be there in the snow though (just not hike in it). It sounds, well, breathtaking. According to the WTA, the upper lake was still covered a week or so before I was there, though the ranger at Staircase didn’t think it still was. The high Duckabush, however, is impassable; and somewhere there was sleet last week.


      1. Yeah, it wasn’t our greatest moment. We agreed that we need micro spikes if we’re going to regularly do winter hikes. The thermos of spiked hot chocolate consumed while sitting on a large rock at the edge of the lake made things better. Good to know about the trails. I think we’re going to head to sunrise next weekend. Road opens 7/1.


      2. Fun. I want to go to Sunrise this year. It’s been a long time. I also see that Takhlakh Lake camping is wide open because the road from the north is closed due to storm damage. 😀 Tried to return there last year, but the weather was horrible, so I went elsewhere. Year before: fires.


  2. Lena Lakes bring delightful memories for me.on one trip there, long ago, I accompanied my youngest son, Elliot, who was a Webolo scout on a hiking trip with the “big guys”.. Boy Scouts. As a mom and tag a long, I lagged waaaay behind,not to appear as concerned about the hike leader’s skills and preparation for such an age diverse and inexperienced bunch of boys, ages 9 thru 16. My son still loves to tease me about making him carry a presto log in his back pack, in case there was no available firewood. Maybe it’s changed, but 20 years ago Lena Lakes were pretty tapped out and fires were scrutinized. Of course I over compensated but ….hey, …I digress. Good to see your photos, hear the fire and water and I appreciate you sharing. Ps. We didn’t need the presto log and I carried it back down.


    1. Haha! What a great story! Thank you. There didn’t look to be a lot of firewood, but there were about to be a lot of campers. Watch for tomorrow’s story. I’m wondering now about those packs. Presto logs. Hmm.


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