the North Cascades
Wave upon wave of icy mountains - a storm-tossed sea of stony peaks marching toward the horizon in every direction. The wilderness is vast, the individual black and blood red peaks, the blue-white glaciers, the madly plunging canyons and deeply forested river valleys too many to know with just a passing fancy. Only after extensive exploration and study do the groupings and sub-ranges become familiar - a cohesive map of the whole begins to take shape in the mind. Then the seasons change. Mellow, wildflower-fragrant summer breezes become ferocious, killing winter winds that feed the grinding ice. The once-familiar alpen-flowered ridgetops again rear their heads into cold, shattering peaks; aloof, dangerous and unknowable to the very explorers that they welcomed just a few months before. Perhaps their names best tell the story: Formidable, Forbidden, Fortress, Fury..Perdition, Illusion, Isolation..Defiance, Desolation, Damnation..Sinister, Troublesome, Torment, Terror, and Despair are just a few given to the rugged spires by men who would know them. But there are as well: Challenger, Beauty, Glory..Enchantment, Inspiration,Triumph..Silver Star, Majestic, Magic, and Morning Star (poetry, that) - renewing our hope for the gentle season yet to come. First nation peoples had their own names reflecting their own experiences..experiences as valid as our own and still to be found where the wild things are. The bridal-veiled volcano Glacier Peak was known as "Dakobed" meaning "Great Parent" - virgin goddess, life-giver, nurturer, disciplinarian, and teacher - the North Cascades are each of these in turn. Listen...and learn.