I have to say it first – North Cascades National Park is so much prettier than the pictures I took this time! I know, because I have been there many years ago. The beauty actually took my breath way (I will include several pictures I took from my last trip).
This time, however, I only had several hours there and I didn’t do my “homework” beforehand. Whenever I visit a place, I have always talked to someone at the Visitor Center first to get the information. The center I passed by was closed and the next one was too far away. I still needed several hours to go back to Manson (read post #124) and I planned to hike a trial along the way (I will post in my next one). It really makes a big difference to have the right information – I drove to and hiked a couple of short hikes without seeing much.
When I reached another trail head, I was happy to see a Park Ranger getting ready to hike the trail. So I went to him and asked about the trail and the information about what I really wanted to see in the park (fields filled with brilliant color, or a bluish lake surrounded by mountain peaks). “I am new to the area. I am actually trying to find my way out and explore the area.” He said, almost apologetically.
Well, the trail isn’t long (about 2 miles one way). So, without more time to waste trying to find another one, I hiked another trail without knowing anything. It is a nice trail, winding in the woods, with a few lookouts. Yet, it is not what I was looking for. My memory of North Cascades National Park is so much prettier.
When I reached the lookout at the end of the trail, the young Park Ranger was sitting on a rock, resting. It turned out he has worked at Mt Rainier for several years. “If you ask me about Mt Rainier, I can certainly give you some tips.” Too bad, I just visited Mt Rainier (post #191, #120, #122). When I shared the few trails I took around Mt Rainier and how beautiful the place is, both of us got very happy and excited. Before he headed back, I wished him “fun and good luck of working in this new National Park”. I am sure it will be an adventure for him.
So, although I didn’t find what I was looking for, meeting the young Park Ranger and sharing the beauty with like minded people made up the disappointment. Meeting people like this certainly isn’t an important or significant event, yet it leaves a little sweetness and warmness behind.
To most people, meeting people in such a way might be natural and surely no big deal. As someone used to be extremely shy and timid, being able to meet strangers in an open and friendly way took me a long time. Even though it is no longer a big deal and it is a second nature to me now, I still appreciate how far I came along and how lucky I am able to feel the sweetness and warmness from a total stranger.
The next three pictures were taken years ago.
PS. my photo website: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/qing-yang.html