Go. Go now. Go while the mountains are still robed in layers of white and cold blue. Go while the air is heavy with the sultry heat of spring growth. Go while the trillium blooms and the wind alternates warm and cool across baking rocks and iced glaciers.
Wander the old trail back to the ghosts of Monte Cristo. Cross the teal Sauk
on a perfect log. Forest and mountain and river–in the end, the stilled township. The unquiet memories still haunt the earth as heavy metals and poison that is due a refreshing. The empty cabins sit silent below harsh peaks. Juxtaposition. Man’s impermanence.
Leave town. Step lightly around talus fields and dormant grasses while climbing. The trail becomes a small stream and then a light waterfall. Hand over hand a nylon rope, and wonder, “Really? This approximation of a staircase is a trail?”
Hit the snow, wander between blanketed pines and tree wells. The snow is soft and blindingly white, and sinks with the feet every step. Ah, glorious work to walk up a mountain. The avalanche danger is low, but the snow is sticky and a fall would be…unpleasant.
Trugde. And wallow, and slog, and fight for every foot of elevation through the heavy snow. And keep going…keep going…Columbi Peak heaves into view. Then Monte Cristo. Then Cadet. It is wonderful. Your tracks may be the only marker of itinerant visitors. Mine may still be.
Breathe it in–the epic Glacier Basin, the stark peaks, the avalanche trails, the cobalt sky, the turkey sandwich in your hand and the waiting smooth tobacco for the pipe. Life is good. You chose wisely.