The stories and use of Raven the trickster in Native American lore is a creature that is magical. It often transforms itself into another natural object or life form, even human. It cannot be trusted to always do the right thing and is often portrayed as an antagonist or protagonist. He keeps secrets and focuses on his own self preservation but can also be a hero.
The Tlingit story, “Raven, The River Maker”
At first, the animals had no fresh water, no water at all to drink. The water on earth was filled with salt, and the animals were thirsty. Raven was thirsty too.
With feathers white as clouds, Raven floated above earth searching for water to drink.
Just like a cloud, Raven could move about wherever he pleased, unnoticed by anyone.
Even Wolf did not see Raven as he passed over his tiny island. But Raven saw Wolf.
Raven saw Wolf fill buckets of fresh water from his well.
Raven saw Wolf carry buckets of fresh water to his house. Raven saw that all the fresh water on earth belonged to Wolf. So this was why the other animals had no fresh water no water at all to drink? Raven flew down.
This is just what Raven wanted him to do.
Soon it was dark. When Wolf fell asleep, Raven tiptoed over to the buckets of fresh water.
How thirsty he was!
Raven drank until all the buckets were empty.
Raven drank up all the fresh water in the world.
Wolf woke up. He saw that his buckets were empty. He saw Raven fly up the smoke hole to escape.
But, Raven, fat and swollen, full of water, got stuck!
Wolf lit a fire of green wood. Thick smoke quickly rose up and darkened Raven’s feathers. Now Raven was black like the night of no moon.
When Raven escaped, drops of water dripped off his feathers as he soared high above land. Each drop of water became a river. Each river split into other rivers and small streams.
Now, thanks to Raven, the thirsty animals all over earth at last have fresh water to drink.
Trust and Serving Others
When you learn you can trust others, and can be resourceful and smart, life goes a lot easier for everyone. We are lucky as humans we can problem solve, think through various scenarios and come to consensus as we work together.
Just this past weekend, I was volunteering for our local fire lookout organization, Snoqualmie Fire Lookout Association and my continual haunt was back. I had a hard time working as a team and wanted to prove myself but it is a newer tribe and a mixed group of female and male, across age groups. I guess I will always feel like I need to prove myself even though I can still pick up 40 pound rocks, move logs and dig out the sides of trails to make them wider. It is the kind of work I like doing still today at 63.
Once you know your tribe and your tribe knows you, however it is easier to assume or delegate responsibility. Most importantly, you also build trust and collaborate more freely understanding each others talents and safety decisions they make.
The Wolf and The Raven can work together.
Crossing Kautz Creek One Month Prior
Earlier in the summer, prior to the 14 days on the Wonderland, Sandy and I had gone on a scouting trip from Longmire up to this exact location at Kautz Creek Video Here.
Crossing Pyramid Creek and Kautz Creek was one of the biggest challenges we would have, I believed. Raven had done his work, the creeks had spilled over its banks multiple times this year and the footbridge was tossed over and sideways. Due to COVID and reduction of staff at the park, it was doubtful it would be able to be repaired. I realized I needed to be Raven in the clouds and have my eyes on this area, take a close look at options and the lay of the terrain.
As you leave Longmire you walk east on the Wonderland and then turn and cross the Paradise Road to go clockwise on the Wonderland. Heading up to Pyramid Creek Backcountry Camp the trail cuts steeply across a former washed out area where the bank has not grown back. The trail then skips across a younger alder grove and the trail is mostly sand here where you can watch for boot prints as they make their way around smaller and then larger and larger boulders.
As you continue to cross the delta of multiple fingers that make up Pyramid and Kautz Creek, the main creeks both become bolder hopping or if you grow tired of that, you just precariously walk across through the water. If early enough in the day the river will not be too high and difficult to balance our packs across.
Sandy and I lay out several options this day and we practice with our packs and poles, balancing, hopping on this gorgeous beautiful day.
We have lunch then head back home.
August 2020 An Abundance of Water Crossing Kautz Creek
In the heat of August there is an abundance of water on Rainier. The heat swells the rivers and creeks even more and we plan to leave camp early from Devil’s Dream and give ourselves plenty of time in order to cross the Pyramid area before noon.
Sandy’s sandals and taped feet and toes seem to be holding up fairly well for flat ground but in my mind as we walk the trail, I realize we are going to have to cross boulders that are round and fat and not exactly the best shape for a pair of sandals and tape in water with a backpack that weighs about 20 pounds by now. We discuss our options to find the best areas up and down the river’s bank.
As we walk and get closer, we notice a man standing on top of some very large boulders peering off in the direction down river. I holler over to him and we make our way over to talk to him. He says he is lost on which direction to go up the river bank or down, he is not sure where exactly he is. I think, he is Raven who has changed into a man.
We assure him that we had just been out to the area a month ago and could spot the cliffside where the trail traverses down on the other side as it comes out of the woods. At the point where he was standing we convinced each other the crossing would be down river , so we continue down a distance until the trail that was cut in the hillside appears on the other side. Now we just have to get across.
At this point in the day the river has risen noticeably. The farther down river we go the swifter the current. It is so swift we cannot have a conversation with each other without stopping and standing within a foot of each other.
It was obvious we would need to boulder hop, toss our backpacks across and then ford. Luckily, Sandy and I do a lot of box jumping at our gym because we are both not the longest legged ladies and our hops end up being more like powerful frog hops across the river at the swiftest part.
Next, we cross several other small ones and then another larger one where there are several fingers converging with each other into more rapids with no boulders.
As we walk down the middle of the delta we notice the grove of alders and on the other side the trail.
With feet completely soaked, our nerves completely rattled, Sandy’s sandals falling to pieces, we put our trekking poles away and begin to bend the small alders to use and trekking poles to guide us across like railings on a bridge and catapult our way across the raging water.
I never was so glad to finally be through an area in my life and if this would have been where we started, I probably would have given up on our first day.
As we make our way across, the man is gone. Raven makes water for the animals and can also be a hero as we were able to gather our thoughts and cross safely.
We arrived at Longmire just shortly after lunch, did the backpack boogie and high tailed it over to meet up with our friends from Bend and burger and fries thanks to our trickster friend.
Note about water filtration on The Wonderland:
It goes without saying there is an abundance of water on Rainier. The only camp areas that were without were Fire Creek (just a slight trickle) and Devil’s Dream. Off the Wonderland on Shriner Peak it is dry at the end of August and September.
We used the Katadyn Hiker pump system to filter bacteria into a 2.5L bladder. I keep a Steripen in my pack for emergency. Sandy likes the Sawyer Squeeze system. Many ultralight folks love the Aqua Mira drop system but it takes the same amount of time you could boil water for 3-4 minutes as well. And then I have other friends who do the gravity system, dirty/clean bag Platypus. It all depends on your level of comfort and there are trade-offs such as added weight and quick access on the trail.