On Saturday I went hiking with ten strangers. We had extremely diverse backgrounds in terms of age, ethnicity, occupation, hobbies, places we’ve lived. But that just made for nine hours of interesting conversations, full of jokes, stories, book recommendations, observations and comparisons of different cities. And we all shared a love of the outdoors.
On the way there, we took a wrong turn and traveled along a gravel path full of potholes. We could see the landscape was decimated by logging. Where there was thick tree cover, there was now exposed dirt with young conifers interspersed. I felt reassured to learn that the logging companies plant more trees than they cut down, but still the effect of logging on the mountaintops was prominent. Someone was old-fashioned and double-checked a paper map instead of trusting in the GPS. He realized we were going the wrong way, and so we turned around back to the right path.
From the Carbon River entrance, we walked three miles to the Green Lake trailhead, passing by vibrant yellow flowers, shallow riverbanks with exposed, hand-sized smooth stones, and towering fir and cedar trees steeped in emerald moss. When the wind picked up, the tops of trees seemed to shake violently. I noticed many fallen trees, uprooted from the weight of the trunks. The trees in the forest were extremely thick, with a diameter greater than my arm span. Some trees had crashed into other trees, snapping or uprooting them as well, and I was surprised to have felt empathy for those smaller trees that had grown tall and were themselves very strong, but were just randomly crushed and now dead by some misfortune of an other massive behemoth of a tree.
We walked a mile up the trail, stopping at the Ranger Creek Falls.
Then we walked another mile, over bridges and winding switchbacks, until we reached Green Lake.
There, we ate snacks as rain poured down, rainwater sprinkling our food. Afterwards, we doubled back to the cars.
We ate some solid bar food at Bootleggers in Buckley as the rain came down in sheets. The rain created an incredibly bright rainbow, brilliant against the dark gray sky. The rainbow gave the illusion of touching down just ahead of the car, so as we drove it looked as if the car in front of us was spewing rainbow exhaust.