Photo: Mt. Saint Helens--where, soon after this photo, we hiked a mile closer to the summit where I offered to sacrifice a virgin to the gods . . . but there were none to be found.
Funny thing about a volcano . . . science teachers love 'em. Hence, as we drove into the cascade mountain range and hiked miles along the smoking back of Mt. Saint Helens, Becky snapped copious photos and picked up igneous rocks for her science displays. Me? I just wanted to get back to the hotel and read another love poem to the old lady. There was smoke, but I preferred fire.
I can see why the region has that romantic quality. It has its own stark beauty, and with temperatures in the forties and fifties, it's helpful to have a warm body nearby when one is hiking up into cloud cover. We rarely saw the whole peaks of the mountains, but it was fun trying to locate a vista above the cloud line where we could glimpse the sun. And a good pair of hiking boots didn't hurt either.
By this time in our trip, I was becoming adept at reading hiking maps and had also started reading various histories and science brochures about the region. Hiking through the lava tubes on this mountain was also an adventure, as we used kerosene-burning Coleman lanterns. Afterwards, both of us discovered burn marks on our clothing where the red hot lamps had brushed up against us and singed the fabric.
Nice the thing about these mountains, too . . . there was no cell phone coverage. We were isolated. Little connection to the outside world. Nothing but raw animal instinct to keep us alive. I began communicating with grunts and gestures, as my ancestors had done millennia ago. I whittled a spear. Becky ordered a pizza. We were back to basics.
I don't think we read anything that night.