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Live Life Fully

Backpacking Revelations and Mental Endurance

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Tolmie Peak

14 Days Around Mt. Rainier wasn’t an easy walk in the park. It included 150 miles at elevations between 2800′ to 6200′. When I added up the elevation gain and loss on my Garmin, it was 60,000′ up and down steep trails carrying a backpack that weighed any where from 32 pounds base weight to 38 pounds with food and water.

Prior to the leaving in August, I was training on average of six days a week for a triathlon I was was planning to participate in, in September. I worked at weight training in a high intensity interval class plus either, ran, walked with a backpack of 20 pound kitty litter or road my bike. On additional days I was off I would swim at least a mile.

Regardless, still after all the training, each night we made it into to camp, I felt like I was crawling there.

Was there something I missed in my training, nutrition or equipment selection?

Giving myself a little more credit where credit was due, I compared myself to the many younger people who do not finish and leave early off the trail due to a variety of reasons. You cannot control the weather but you can control your physical preparedness and being physically unprepared is probably the number one reason hikers leave the trail. The second being rain or adverse weather conditions.

Putting physical preparedness aside, for me it was more of a personal, emotional and mental challenge that started my ability to live in the moment and relax with all that was around me.

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A Native American Tells His Story “Behold This Day”

by Black Elk Hehaka Sapa, Oglala Sioux, Lakota

Black Elk, 1863-1950, a holy man of Oglala Sioux, told the story of his life and his vision to the poet John G. Neihardt in 1931. He received the great vision by which he steered his life at the age of nine.

And a Voice said: “All over the universe they have finished a day of happiness.” And looking down I saw that the whole wide circle of the day was beautiful and green, with all fruits growing and all things kind and happy.

Then a Voice said: “Behold this day, for it is yours to make. Now you shall stand upon the center of the earth to see, for there they are taking you.”

I was still on my bay horse, and once more I felt the riders of the west, the north, the east the south, behind me in formation, as before, and we were going east. I looked ahead and saw the mountains there with rocks and forests on them, and from the mountains flashed all colors upward to the heavens. Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made on circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.

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Live Your Life and Behold Each Day of Your Journey

1. If You Lack Confidence and Walk in Fear, Make a Plan

As I thought about using Nathan Olney as my first chapter, what gives me confidence is to have a plan and choreograph my moves. I used a table and on each day I had across each column, distance, elevation gain/loss, elevation of camp and miles. I memorized my map, studied each camp, planned each meal in every column and row. If this is what it takes to lessen some fear, do it. Otherwise you are the very adventuresome type who craves living on the edge.

2. When You are Faced with Humbling Challenges, The Opportunity You are Presented is to Think Things Though.

The option I chose most often was to break things in to manageable chunks. Most important, do not be in a hurry. Most of the time we arrived at camp at dinner time or later.

3. Grit is The Drive that Conquers Pain.

Beauty can be both great and small. Beauty always follows Pain, but you must keep your mind open, have enough trust and look for it. Having a Growth Mindset that you can do hard things is essential to staying with your plan and having daily reflection and practice that allows for you to seek positives in your life are essential to enjoying your journey when you need a rally.

4. Your Tribe Should Be Your Allies

If you are taking others along in your journey, go for a test run. Set limits on discussion if there are sensitive topics. Nothing is worse than to have a conversation hijacked.

5. Maturity and Wisdom Matters.

Use your experiences in life to apply to solving problems.

6. Decision Making is a Combined Effort

Over and over, we discussed the possibilities and weighed outcomes over dinner each night. We checked in with each other in the morning to make sure we were still good with the plan or if something came up as we slept on it. A good night’s sleep in a cozy tent of fresh air can inspire revelations.

7. If You Are Always Hungry, Then you Must Learn to Delay Gratification

I’ve done a lot of reading on this topic. Being a retired teacher there is an abundance of research around children that can delay gratification are the most successful in life. Forage for food as much as you can, drink an abundance of water otherwise you’ll be miserable trying to pack treats and trail mix 150 miles.

8. Do not succumb to Competition. Through Empowerment We can Grow

Our capitalistic world has it backwards and there is nothing that shows this more completely than being on the trail together. This is your makeshift family and you all look out for each other. Any other way is a waste of energy and a distraction from what you should be focused on.

9. Experiences are what You Bring to the Table

Every person has something to offer in life no matter how young or old, little experience or well seasoned, they may have.

10. Reflection with Grace is Your Right Spot to Be.

LIVE Your Life and Behold This Day, It is Yours.

Raven, The River Maker and Crossing Pyramid and Kautz Creek

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.

Lisa and Friends

Once you know your tribe and your tribe knows you, 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

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Kautz Creek and Monkey Flowers

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.

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Clearly we couldn’t find the trail

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.

Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground

New Episode Now on Podcast “A Year of Wonderland

Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground, Mt. Rainier National Park

Indian Henry’s Grave

Earlier this year I finally made it to Indian Henry’s (Soo-Too-Lick) burial site.

I never realized Indian Henry had been near me where and when I lived in Eatonville all along. He wasn’t that hard to to find either. A 4-H Club had built his monument, a few Eagle Scouts later refurbished and cleaned up his grave, and years later here he lays south of Eatonville along the Nisqually area on the side of the Mashel Prairie Road. There is a small shaker church cemetery where he and only a few others rest.

If you remember from one of my episodes back, Indian Henry had been one of the three only Indian guides who was immortalized by areas of Mt. Rainier being named after them and he probably never fully understood at the time how one person could have such a big impact.

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Indian Henry Soo-Too-Lick
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Indian Henry 1825-1895

Indian Henry came to Western Washington in the 1850s, banished from the village of Simcoe, where my great great uncle was an Indian Sub Agent on the Yakama Indian Reservation at Ft. Simcoe for killing a medicine man. Today I am unsure if their paths had crossed.

Born Soo-Too-Lick in 1825, historians aren’t sure of his tribal origin. He is believed to be of Nisqually, Cowlitz or Klickitat origin. He eventually settled on the Mashel Prairie near present-day Eatonville in 1864 among other Native Americans primarily of Nisqually and Klickitat descent.

According to Edmond Meany, when Henry Winsor, a mail carrier, met Soo-Too-Lick he asked him his name. It was unpronounceable to Winsor prompting him to joke, “that’s no name-your name is Indian Henry,” offering Soo-Too-Lick his “Boston” name. The name stuck. Indian Henry adapted well to this name as he did with many of the customs of the “Boston” settlers. He was equally as comfortable with his Native customs and had little problems living within both of these “worlds.”

Indian Henry wore western style clothing and took up farming on the Mashel Prairie. He raised horses and cows as well as cultivated grains and vegetables. He was fluent in English and several Indian languages. He converted to Christianity. He was hospitable to both natives and non-natives, establishing many friendships and companionships. Many folks who headed to Mount Rainier would stop and stay at Henry’s homestead for a night, purchase supplies from him and use his guide services.

Indian Henry became known as an excellent woodsman and guide. He led several climbing parties to Mount Rainier, but never summited the mountain. Like most area Native Americans, he held the mountain as a sacred place and would not venture onto its glaciers believing to do so would bring bad luck. Some of the notables Henry guided included James Longmire, George Bayley, Philemon Van Trump, and A.C. Ewing. In 1888, Henry guided John Muir and his party to Mount Rainier. Fay Fuller spent the evening at Indian Henry’s place on her way to the mountain for her historical ascent.

Indian Henry Had Three Wives

Indian Henry had three wives as was customary of his people at the time. One story goes that Henry was brought before Judge James Wickersham in Tacoma to explain his marriage to these women.  The judge told him that he would have to give up two of his wives. He kept his first wife which he ended up having five children with including a son he named Wickersham Soo-Too-Lick. Despite the conflict of having to let go of two of his wives, he apparently didn’t harbor any ill will for the judge, naming a son after him. Henry respected that Wickersham had an understanding of native cultures. Henry’s other two wives remained nearby working for him.

Indian Henry became fairly well off. It was believed by many of the area settlers that Henry had a gold mine somewhere on Mount Rainier. He always paid for his supplies at the local mercantile with gold nuggets. Some area settlers looked for this mine around Henry’s favorite hunting grounds but to no avail. Aside from the gold, Henry made a decent living by providing travelers lodging and supplies at his farm.

Despite raising cattle and cultivating crops, Indian Henry often left his farm for periods of time to hunt and gather food for the winter; keeping within his native routines. One of his favorite spots for hunting mountain goats is a beautiful alpine meadow area splotched with sparkling tarns-a beloved place by hikers today known as Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground.

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Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground

Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground was one of the first hikes I took my 3 boys on.

Coming up from Kautz Creek, my then husband took our 8 year old twin boys and 6 year son on our first attempt. We started our adventure early in the day but soon the steep hill and large steps were too much for them. We ended up having lunch, treats, snacks, cookies, and just having fun playing in the forest that day.

Years later, my second attempt from Longmire was with my friend Diane. I believe it was around 90 degrees that day. We ran out of water, the bugs ate us alive, and because of the fact there was no way to treat water or filter water on me that day, I ended up jumping into snow banked Mirror Lake to cool down. If I wouldn’t have, I probably would have become so dehydrated, I wouldn’t have made it back the 17 mile round trip.

After that experience, we decided to only go in early or late summer and not during the heat. Diane and I would spend many years hiking in this area between the Nisqually entrance to Paradise and Camp Muir. It was my good fortune to have a friend like her during a difficult and challenging time of my personal life after becoming a newly divorced 40 year old with three teenage boys.

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A Year of Wonderland New Episode Podcast

The Wonderland Trail today circumnavigates Mt. Rainier in Washington State. We begin this episode with an excerpt from the 1915 book, The Mountaineer, describing the first ascent of Tahoma by a white man named Tolmie. Travel back and time to 1833 long before Washington was a state, and then again in the 1974 for a look into two journeys quite different. This episode ends with Lisa saying goodby to Shannon after their ten days together backpacking in 2020. You can find this podcast and others at “A Year of Wonderland” on Spotify, Apple Itunes, Overcast, RadioPublic, Google Podcasts, and many others.

Mt. Rainier from Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout

Bears of North America and Hiking

More About Bears

I do not carry bear spray while hiking in Washington State. I never have and probably never will. However I do carry pepper spray for self protection from humans. You actually have a 60,000 times better chance of being murdered by a human than a bear in Washington.

Washington State however used to have a grizzly bear population.

Grizzly Bears

The grizzly bear is said to be a part of the cascade wilderness area according to North American Bear Center

According to The North Cascade Institute for Environmental Learning in 1860 there were approximately 1000 grizzly bears in the North Cascades of Washington State. That number soon declined to approximately 650.

Human attacks can happen and can be extremely dangerous. The most recent being in Montana in 2021 where the grizzly was protecting its food a moose near by. Most attacks are by females protecting their young.

Grizzly Bear Population

The second largest removal of the grizzly population happened when prospectors came to the North Cascades in search of gold. The number declined another 200.

Finally with open grazing and the final push out west the last one was located in 1967 in the Glacier Peak Wilderness of Washington State.

The last confirmed tracks in mud were located in the North Cascades in 1996 and in Canada in 2010.

The following Native American story was used to tell about the grizzly bear. It is symbolic with hot rocks being shots and the coyote being an animal that is a trickster, perhaps man.

from Teresa Anahuy, Yakama

Black Bear

Chances are if you hike long enough you’ll encounter a black bear in Washington State. It is estimated there are between 25,000 to 30,000 black bears.

They range in color between a cinnamon brown to black.

Black bears can startle you because of their quiet demeanor and large size but are in general not harmful.

The biggest misconception according to American Bear Center is females are dangerous if their young is present or you get between them. The centers best advice is speak calmly and back away slowly. If a bear becomes nervous it will “bluster” and really it is trying to communicate it is nervous and has a problem with you. None of the bears I’ve encountered at Mt. Rainier have ever shown a sign of being bothered with me.

Startled black bears often run up a tree so if you are bothered by them, your best bet is just to walk on by and continue to talk calmly.

The Spirit of Adventure 1843

Are you heading west to the Pacific Northwest? Perhaps you’d like to take in the mountain scenery, go for a hike or backpack in several of our National Parks.

The white mans history of the Pacific Northwest isn’t a long one.

When I think back to how early pioneers and Native Americans lived in the Pacific Northwest, it is the spirit of adventure that comes first to mind. 

Captain Nathan Olney’s Memorial Plaque Dedicated 1956

Mortal Arrow Wound to the Head

What should have been a mortal wound that ended his life, Nathan headed west having an arrow tip from a battle that permanently pierced into his frontal lobe. Discovering our ancestor, Nathan Olney, 1824-1866, was a pivotal find my mom first learned of during one of her many genealogy digs. 

Nathan Olney was our great-great uncle, who came to live in Washington through the Dalles, Oregon. He journeyed west on the Palmer and Barlow wagon train arriving in the Willamette Valley, Oregon during 1843. In 1847 he will later become known as the first settler and resident of The Dalles known as Wascopum a small village. 

First Resident, Judge, Commissioner, Sheriff, Indian Agent

If it wasn’t perilous trying to get here, the otherwise peaceful Indians who moved and lived around early explorers and fur traders easily, where unsure of the new arrival of permanent families, cattle, wagons and living on the land.

Through this one simple genealogy find, my mom soon connected with a cousin, and direct descendent of Nathan, Teresa Anahuy. Teresa filled in the history she knew. Holes and pieces that were missing slowly filled around Nathan’s life and time spent coming to the Northwest, eventually to Ft. Simcoe on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington where he later married and lived out his short life.

Nathan eventually married Teresa’s grandmother, Annette, who was the daughter of a Yakama chief. 

As a 19 year old, Nathan originally made his home in The Dalles. Over the next few years he was a merchant providing supplies and food to pioneers expanding their way west. The journey west was a perilous one for pioneers who traveled by wagon and foot towards a better life in the great northwest where they would eventually ford the Colombia River into what is now Washington State.

The following document from a speech given at Nathan’s gravesite by Dr. Thomas Griffith, August 12, 1956 when a bronze plaque was provided and “placed upon his monument in memory of a fine Gentleman of the Pioneer days who passed from this life in the prime of manhood.”

Dedication Speech for Nathan Olney’s Memorial Plaque

by Dr. Thomas Griffith

“Immediately after the news of the Whitman Massacre reached the western settlements, Nathan Olney recruited and commanded a company of scouts, served with distinction under Colonel Gilliam during the Cayouse Indian War.

After the Territorial Government was formed in 1849, Wasco County was created. Included within its boundaries was a vast area of land extending from the summit of the Cascade mountain range in the west to the peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the east. In this, the largest County in the Territorial Government a that times, Nathan Olney served successfully in its administration as County Judge, Commissioner, Sheriff, and later during 1862, when Oregon had achieved Statehood, he became Ex-Officio Probate Judge.

In the early records of Wasco County he is referred to as “The Honorable Nathan Olney.”

During periods of time between 1854 and 1859, in addition to his many other duties and services, he served as Sub Indian Agent at Ft. Simcoe on the Yakama Reservation.

He rendered valuable assistance to Father Wilbur, one of the outstanding conscientious Agents, in the formative period of the Yakima Indian Agency.

He, Nathan Olney, was Father Wilbur’s friend.

In 1855, while Fort Dalles was garrisoned by troops from the Fourth and Ninth Infantry Regiments together with detachments from Artillery Units and Dragoons, a meeting was held by the citizens of the towns to formulate Articles for a local government and for the divisions of properties. Nathan Olney assisted in the preparation of these Articles which were approved by the Territorial Legislature during the 1855-1856 Session. 

It goes without saying Nathan was well liked by the Yakama people. So well liked, he is the only white man who is buried on native land that we know of. There is a large headstone at his place of rest as proof.

Nathan died the same way he arrived. At 42 years of age, a fall from a horse and he hit his head pushing the arrow head farther into his skull.

Nathan Olney, 1824-1866

Bev Knoll Stern and Teresa Anahuy

Puyallup, Klapatche, and the few Native Languages on The Wonderland Trail

The following is a prelude to Video Episode 12 you can either click here to watch the video or read through and click at the end.

Chapter 17 Synopsis: Some of the most spectacular scenery met with some of the hottest and strenuous conditions, Lisa and Sandy find themselves pushed to their physical limits and under a time crunch to get to make it to South Puyallup Camp before nightfall. 

Learning the Native Language of Town Names

My hometown is Puyallup, pronounced Pew-all-up. Generations of my family have lived here since the early 1900’s.

Arriving from Buffalo, New York, my great-great grandparents purchased 10 acres of land in the Fruitland area of So Hill. A cable car conveniently ran from downtown Tacoma through the outskirts and then past our farm and then continued down Fruitland Avenue to Puyallup.

Our farm was one of the only farms that had a spring year around on the hillside. My grandmother said many people would stop at the spring, which was small, to get water. As a kid growing up this small 5′ in diameter hole created hours fun as I remember sinking my feet in the thick, gooey mud and searching for small amphibians. Somewhat hidden and tucked away in the old growth woods, my grandparents and great-grandparents had arranged small rocks around the border of the front where one could rest a hand as they kneeled and stooped forward.

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Sharpe Knoll Family Home South Hill, Puyallup, Washington abt. 1940-50

The back side of the spring had a tall bank, where small ferns and roots would stick out. A small trickle of water added to the landscape where I imagined make believe friends and fairies.

Growing up here was magical. The back 7 acres consisted of a water pipeline and road that carried water from the McMillan Reservoir to the City of Tacoma. Beyond that was nothing but trees. Tall, deep, old trees with a wide deep trail, eight city blocks long that connected 104th st to 112th St.

Lisa and sister Heidi on left abt. 1967
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Lisa’s Home 104th St. So Hill Puyallup abt. 1961
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Lisa’s Home 104th St. So Hill Puyallup abt. 1961 Mom, Beverly on left, Lisa, Grandma Ruth, Great Uncle Carl
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Lisa with brother Jack on left, and Heidi abt. 1967

Along with the early stories of my grandmother and uncles traveling to Longmire, a two day trip before good roads, this is where my love of nature and the natural surroundings transpired.

My grandmother and I would take daily walks through here. By the time I was in second grade I knew most of the names of the small plants and types of trees the forest held. We would be pick wild strawberries, tiny and sweet from the borders of the thick woods. Red Huckleberries would poke their shrubby heads up out of stumps that would make a yummy small pie. And always the grand finale of the walk was to go up to the top of the pipeline road to see if the mountain was out.

My parents and brothers and sister and I lived next door until the late 60’s. My grandparents lived here until the 70’s, then my husband I did until the 80’s. My great-uncle, my grandmother, my mother, my dad, my self, my brothers and sister, my niece, nephew, cousins, and now my grandchildren either all graduated from Puyallup High School or currently attend Puyallup schools. Many of us still live in the area but nothing but the spring and the old house sitting alone my grandparents lived in still remain.

Puyallup has changed into freeways and strip malls like most of urban-housed, grange-fed America.

Climbing Trees and Mountain Trails

Thinking back another great pass time of mine was climbing evergreen trees. There were a few favorites of mine, a cedar in our side yard between my parents and grand-parents house and a fir at the front edge of our property even thought there were many others to choose from.

The cedar’s branches were always coated in a fine green dust and pointed down, probably because the limbs were abundant and rarely disrupted. It was those limbs that saved my life once as I slipped, lost my grip and fell about 30 feet once. Hitting each limb, broke my fall and I ended walking away with just the air knocked out of me.

The fir was another story. My dad cut the limbs off the bottom so I could not reach the branches to climb. A portable step made out of a tree trunk was a local find in the gully and I easily rolled it to position. The tree climb was easy here up sixty to eighty feet. Even better was a windy day when you swayed with the top of the tree and could see all your neighbor’s yards front and back within the same block.

Day 12

Golden Lakes, Klapatche Park to South Puyallup Camp

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A willingness to endure some discomfort is the type of passion it takes for this stretch of the Wonderland. With August temperatures nearing ninety degrees, Sandy and I made our way from Golden Lakes through Sunset Park to the South Puyallup Camp.

Approaching some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable we stopped for a snack at the very end of the Westside Road before heading up to Klapatche Park. Now closed at mile two, Westside road was grand memory of times when we used to drive it to day hike in high school.

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Tahoma aka Mt. Rainier

This is when the heat started and Sandy’s blisters from her new boots became worse. Hiking up the hill in the heat, we approached Aurora Lake and we decided to stick our feet in and have lunch. It made for a nice spot because our friends from Golden Lakes were camping at Klapatche and the four women were no where in site.

The three of us walked around through the lake, cooling off and lunching with the lake lapping up the reflection of Mt. Rainier. Klaptache Park is the place to stay.

Making our to St. Andrews Lake, we break at the top in the heat of the day. I will never forget this being one if not the most beautiful spots on the trip, the exhilaration of the view and colorful and explicit language of our feelings of being completely done.

With weight of heavy backpacks, the heat, and uncomfortable footwear we continued unbroken but spent as we gently stepped our way down a long forgiving trail to South Puyallup Camp.

To live here you know the native names Puyallup- Pew-all-up, Tacoma- Ta-co-ma, Enumclaw-Eee-numb-claw, Sequim-Sqim, Snoqualmie- Snow-qual-me, Olympia- O-limp-pia, Mowich-Mau-ich, Klapatche- Kla-patch-ee, and the real name of Mt. Rainier, Tahoma- Ta-ho-ma

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Klapatche Park to St. Andrews Lake with Mt. Rainier (Tahoma)

 Video Episode 12 click here to watch the video.