I had the pleasure of contributing a passage, written below, paired with my imagery to Rucksack Magazine’s second issue.
I awoke to the breath of the mountain dancing through my hair as my hammock swayed in the morning light. The fresh scent of pine filled me up and sent shivers down my spine. One foot down the other followed planting my body firmly on the forest floor. It was morning at Trillium Lake Oregon, August 21st 2017. Today was the day the moon and the sun would cross paths in the sky. The day of the Great American Solar Eclipse was finally here! We traveled across the country for this event that would catapult us into a ten-day trip through the Pacific Northwest. My friends and I took this morning slow, sipping freshly brewed coffee and walking along the bank of the lake, which was at the base of Mt. Hood. This mountain mirrored perfectly in the glass-like water. Along with dozens of others, we sat and watched, a once in a lifetime event unfold. The sky went dark, as did the landscape around us. The temperature dropped and crickets came out confused by the eclipse and sang their evening song. We were all captivated. It was an experience like no other. Once the moon made its full pass across the midmorning sun, my friends and I erupted in cheers and howls. The rest of the lake followed, making the unity of strangers under the same sky that much more special. Once the sun returned, we were off and the trip had officially begun. Packed in a SUV, we headed north to Washington State. Road trips always make us giddy and light, flowing wherever the wind decided to take us. We wore smiles on our faces and our eyes were bright with the adventures ahead. North Cascade National Park was next on list of stops. The peaks of these mountains stretched so high into the sky that some still kept snow even in the summer months. We hiked, exchanged stories and remembrances of past trips, sang songs, and of course photographed these precious moments. Staying only a couple of days, we packed up our camp and headed across the border into British Columbia. It seemed the more north we traveled, the clearer the air became. Our boots met the mountaintop of Whistler. Walls of snow and ice lay present still in the midst of August. I can still remember the northern wind whispering to me all of its magic and unspoiled riches. These trips not only bring so much joy, but also challenge me to see how far I can push myself. The hike to Garibaldi Lake was like no other hike I’ve ever done. It matched both in length and difficulty for it was a 14-mile round trip trek with elevation gain I haven’t experienced before. But that made it that much more rewarding. We reached the turquoise blue waters fed by an ancient glacier. I was in awe. Such beauty and such tranquility had not met my eyes until that moment. After each and every day out in the wilderness, we came together and lay next to the fire beaming with fulfillment. Looking up at the stars, I know now that this is what it means to truly be human: to be alive.