We had planned to hike up to the Mt. Riley overlook – a six mile round trip hike with a 1760 ft elevation gain. After seeing the bear at the trail head, we decided to drive around and “sightsee” a bit before we came back to hike. Then, gearing up, we decided to hike – with or without a bear. We did, however, put our “bear bell” on our day pack as the literature all suggests (though we weren’t really sure if the bell was to warn the bears of our approach, or to signal the bears that “dinner is coming”.)
As we started out, our anxiety was not helped by the scrappy, dense, foreboding look of this “forest of despair”……
The woods soon gave way to much more lush, old growth forest.
The hillsides were covered with mosses and ferns and all kinds of “tropical” looking plants. We were hiking in a coastal rainforest- a fact that we really understood, for, when we weren’t walking in a misty rain, our clothes were getting soaked from brushing against the wet vegetation.
We marveled at the many different varieties of ferns, berries, and mushrooms and fungi.
We crossed a boardwalk over the muskeg – dense, wet marshy land.
Still we climbed up and up – hoping that the overlook would be worth the climb.
We found blueberries nearly covering the hillsides close to the top. They were a delicious snack. Hey – no wonder the bears like them (oh yeah- we had almost forgotten about the bears with the effort of the climb.)
Finally, we made it to the top!
Only to find………..nothing! At least, nothing but fog!
As we sat and had our lunch………
The clouds parted…………
Then, like a vision out of “Brigadoon” ……
The waters, and surrounding mountains…..
And even a glacier appeared.
The hike had been redeemed – the view, well worth the effort. After sitting a while longer…… watching the clouds reveal, then cover the views……we reluctantly headed back down.
On our way down we noticed the the fog had lifted and the misty rain had cleared. The hike down the mountain revealed views that had not been visible as we had struggled on our way up. And as we walked……we heard the screech of an eagle who was circling overhead. A good omen………and maybe a life lesson….. somewhere on this hike.