When I put my car into park at Stevens Pass, weary from the 75-mile uphill journey and lengthy quest for a prime parking space, I looked up and saw a sight for sore eyes.
On a gorgeous bluebird day, a wispy band of clouds was slinking its way along the mountain. Wrapped around the curve that the highway makes at the summit, the white mist drifted silently among the trees, bringing a strange sense of mystery and drama to the otherwise cheerfully sunny day.
I oohed. I ahhed. I snapped a few photos and posted one to Instagram right away.
Then I turned my attention to the business of layering on my outer gear, buckling up my boots, and trudging me, my skis, poles, and lunch bag across the icy lot and up the thirty stairs to the lodge.
In other words, I forgot all about those fascinating clouds.
Until I finally found myself at the top of my first run, and voilà! There they were. On my first few runs, I saw them again...and again...and again.
^ Top of Skyline, facing east, with the base area and highway tucked in the shadows on the right.
^ On Rockin' Blue, atop the last face before the run merges on to Daisy.
^ Near the bottom of the first face of Hagen Hill. That weird little tower building is just beyond the edge of the shot.
As I paused to take in those misty marvels from each different perspective, another story popped into my mind.
Growing up on my lake in Michigan, I spent a lot of time horsing around in small boats. Sometimes, I would row out to the middle of the lake, anchor on the sandbar there, and lie back on the metal bench of my small craft, positioning myself just so, so that I could see nothing but the big blue sky and a few clouds along the horizon. And when my imagination was really cruising in overdrive, I liked to pretend that those clouds were snow-covered mountains. As much as I loved the rolling hills of my homeland, my heart burned for rugged, towering, frosty mountains and I could think of nothing more magical than to live among them.
Never in a million years would ten-year-old me have dared to believe that someday, that dream would come true.
And that is just another reason why, on each and every day that I spend in the winter paradise that is Stevens Pass, I appreciate the miracle of mountains and clouds.
^ Pinch me...I'm dreaming!
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More stories from my 2013-2014 adventures at Stevens Pass? Comin' right up: