Revisiting Lake Angeles

I always enjoy going back to places and revisiting them at different times of the day or year. I’m intrigued by how the same place can be so different and yet still be obviously the same place.

I tend to move my favorite green chair and ottoman from room to room as I learn how a house wants me to inhabit it. My favorite chair is the same/different place in each of the rooms in each of the houses I have owned since I bought it.

When I run, I run on trails (both paved and unpaved) that become very familiar through repeated visits. This little rise, that turn and the way it reveals a different view, this bunch of tree roots, that meadow, those rolling hills all become etched in my memory until I could run them in my dreams. I no longer have to look at my watch to know how far I’ve run; the trail tells me where I am. Yet even a very familiar trail can be a different place if run in the other direction or at various times of the day or year.

Now that I am beginning to do a lot of hiking, I feel a bit of a dilemma about placemaking along hiking trails. Some trails, like Hurricane Hill and Sol Duc Falls, are old favorites that I want to return to again and again. At the same time, I feel the call of new trails not yet seen. Which shall I do today? How should I choose from among so many potential new favorite places?

I am indeed fortunate to have too many options so near where I live.

The first mile of the trail up to Lake Angeles, to the place where the log bridge crosses the stream, has become a frequently visited new “friend” of a trail. The two mile round trip is an easy hour’s hike with an elevation gain of just under 1,000 feet.

Beyond the log bridge the trail is not so familiar. Back in May I wrote about my first visit to Lake Angeles, which is at the 3.4 mile point up that same trail. That hike was a rugged trek through deep snow, and reached an underwhelming end at an iced-over, fogged-in lake.

This past weekend I went to Lake Angeles again. This time it was sunny and warm, and the snow was completely gone. What I saw there was breathtaking. I was dumbstruck. This is what was lurking behind the fog of that first visit:

Those are waterfalls, multiple 100+ foot waterfalls, coming down those cliffs on the far side. It looks like one of those impossibly beautiful and probably fake places that show up on motivational posters. But it is real. And it is right here, not very far from my house.

The trail continues up to the top of that ridge, another 2,000 feet higher than the lake. My friend and I were tempted to start up that trail, but there is still a lot of snow up there. We’ll save that part for another day later this summer… and an early morning start for what will be a major adventure.

Meanwhile (despite the fact that I mostly blog about hiking these days) most of my energy is still focused on running, ramping up the distances and building my comfort level with running on rocky, root-filled ground. My excitement is building as the Alaska marathon cruise approaches. I’m still not completely comfortable with running two days in a row, but I figure my Alaska trail “race” experience will not be all that tough on my knees, what with the frequent stops for photo ops and all…

Those trails will take me to places I’ll most likely only see once in my life, so I’ll only get one shot at placemaking. I want to have enduring memories of the “where” and not just the “how fast.”

I shall be slow, happy, and present. Every step of the way.

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Posted on July 18, 2012, in Hiking, Nature, Place, Running and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. “Oh the places you’ll go…”

    Dr. Seuss had it right eh?

  2. You are so right. There is always something new to be seen, absorbed and experienced in even the most familiar surroundings. I love this particular line from your post – ‘I tend to move my favorite green chair and ottoman from room to room as I learn how a house wants me to inhabit it.’ If only we allowed nature to direct us the same way, perhaps we wouldn’t oppress it so much.

  3. Your thoughts today are very thought provoking, giving me a chance to consider how I might follow suit in my everyday awareness! I don’t have running/hiking trail experiences, but I do have analogous opportunities to take notice! I think perhaps with the “sameness” quality in our year-round weather I don’t often revel in the small changes and what I could more consciously observe. I do from time to time notice seasonal light and the change in shadows, and that alone can be quite thrilling. I would like to consider your thoughts today and apply a few changes to my own habits. Now the view of those falls–WOW! I’m afraid that would be my “go-to” place and make finding new trails a lot less enticing! 🙂 Alaska here you come! D

    • Debra,

      I do think that Lake Angeles with those waterfalls is going to become one of my favorite places, but I’m also very excited to see what else is out there! Driving around town now I find myself looking up at the mountains and feeling a kinship with ridges that used to be nameless, remote shapes but are now actual places for me.

      There is so much to see when you look closely and mindfully, wherever you may find yourself!

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