First stop above the “M” before crossing the face of Mount Sentinel to the Pengelly Ridge climb.
Dancing on the hills, this morning a 12+ mile 2,100’ climb up Pengelly Ridge to Mount Sentinel and then down a very icy snow packed covered Smokejumper trail to the river corridor and back. What a joy, a deLight, breathing hard, legs tired, softly touching earth I wore the Sokra/moccasin shoes.
Pausing on the climb up the ridge to Mount Sentinel.
The 1200’ ascent up the exposed Pengelly Ridge is the most challenging for me. I have to walk sections of the climb. I was reminded that today is Earth Day and that 48 years ago while a student at Oberlin College I invited Gary Snyder to speak for the first Earth Day, introducing him before I set off for Canada later that year. Those years we had such hope and held such vision for a “future to be possible.” A future not bleak or dark like the oil-gas-coporate dominated agenda today. . .but one where the #EarthToo is held in high regard, in reverence and in respect.
The climb up Pengelly Ridge.
On the way I pass a startled deer, chickadees, buttercups and later on icy snow in the shadows. After the climb up the ridge and before you get to Mount Sentinel (which is actually lower that the ridge top) you pass through a quiet forest grove. I go slow here and listen to the pines and grasses and wind. . . and Gary Snyders poem dances past in the shadows.
One granite ridge
A tree, would be enough
Or even a rock, a small creek,
A bark shred in a pool.
Hill beyond hill, folded and twisted
Tough trees crammed
In thin stone fractures
A huge moon on it all, is too much.
The mind wanders. A million
Summers, night air still and the rocks
Warm. Sky over endless mountains.
All the junk that goes with being human
Drops away, hard rock wavers
Even the heavy present seems to fail
This bubble of a heart.
Words and books
Like a small creek off a high ledge
Gone in the dry air.
A clear, attentive mind
Has no meaning but that
Which sees is truly seen.
No one loves rock, yet we are here.
Night chills. A flick
In the moonlight
Slips into Juniper shadow:
Back there unseen
Cold proud eyes
Of Cougar or Coyote
Watch me rise and go.
©Gary Snyder, "Piute Creek" from Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems.
Mount Sentinel above the Missoula Valley and just above the lake shores of Glacial Lake Missoua.