These are highlands, in a region of highlands, so
not especially notable. It takes a long
time to get there, though the graveled road
is short enough; park and walk -- not far,
but bring a lunch and water. Sign in; it's wilderness
according to the kiosk and its map.
Immediately you have shade. These are
Douglas fir, mountain hemlock, perhaps
some red cedar. Beneath, on both sides the trail,
a scattering of vine maple, ocean spray,
rhododendron, and, in the draws, willow.
Sometimes bear grass is in flower;
not this year. As late season turns, first
vanilla leaf, then devil's club, then red
huckleberry, then the blue, will shade through
gold to sienna to cranberry: cool nights.
Kinnickinnick under foot will be your sign
you are straying; do not lose the path.
Along the way are springs, but they are dry;
near them are holes of mountain beaver,
a town like that of prairie dogs. You will
not see them; they go abroad at night.
Admire twinflowers and trilliums, though
they are past bloom. So it is as well
with gooseberry and false Solomon's seal --
they are tired now, and long for snow.
As your path turns upon itself and climbs
rocks and trees will change to andesite
and alpine fir; soil to red dust, shrubs
to ceanothus. Now you discover that view
eyes come here to see; a mountainscape
of scree and scarp and what remains of ice,
not far away as the crows fly, yet leaning
over miles of air, blue with smoke and firs.
You may eat, and drink your water, leaving some
for your return. Wait here for me a bit
while I go to see a stone nearby
where both my parents' ashes lie at rest.