Posts Tagged ‘Spruce Railroad Trail’

Chapter 8

Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent

Heaven is a blue lake.

It’s name is Crescent and it’s 10 acres of pure blue Heaven. Millions of diamonds sparkle on the surface without making a sound, and a pyramid of green shoulders the lake. The Pyramid Peak trail tempts me no end, but its trails are too steep for me at this point in my life.

Lake Crescent was formed by glaciers in the last Ice Age. It is thought the adjacent Lake Sutherland was once part of it, but cut off by a landslide about 8,000 years ago. At 600 feet deep, you have to be careful when you wade into it; the drop off can be an unexpected ten story drop, or so I’ve heard. Luckily, without much nitrogen (and therefore algae), you can see far down into it.

I hike two trails here, Barnes Creek up to Marymere Falls and this easy path that follows the north end of the lake.

Marymere Falls

Marymere Falls

The Spruce Railroad Trail started when the government needed spruce to build planes in WWI. The idea was to log the Sitka spruce and transport it by train to the mills of the closest big town, Port Angeles.

Sadly, and I say that tongue-in-cheek, the war ended just as the rail was about to be finished, so it never got off the ground. It didn’t fly, if you will. But if you know where to look you can see some remnants of the rails. The railroad, once used as a logging road (did my father use it?), is now a four-mile trail that meanders along the lake, along the shoreline at times, sometimes not. And that’s ok, because when you get the view again, it’s like a free pass through the Pearly Gates.

I stop for a photo on the bridge at Devil’s Punch Bowl, as if to say, I WAS HERE. The bridge is the highlight of the trip, unless you count a couple of old collapsed tunnel entrances. Occasionally in the summer I’ve seen divers jump from the cliff into the little (but deep) cove the bridge crosses, but not today.

Devil's Punch Bowl

Devil’s Punch Bowl

I feel a little guilty today because Harry needs the backyard patio bricks weeded but I had to come to the lake so I could recharge.

His legs are hard like they’ve calcified. I am going to lose him first and I can’t guess, with his very bad heart and failed kidneys, how long he could have left. A year? It’s just like where I’m standing, in front of this pile of rocks. I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know if there is light.

I’m not sure about the afterlife anymore. Who will be the people I meet in heaven, if there is one? Would my Mom still sit on a cloud with her first husband if she got the chance? I want to know if my Grandmas will recognize me if I’m old. What if my two Dads are both there to meet me? My birth Dad would not get into Heaven without giving up his sin, creating a new end to the story and complicating things between me and my Dad that raised me. But either way it’s still Heaven, so it should turn out okay.

I tell myself to quit thinking and enjoy the scenery. If there is a downside to the Spruce Railroad Trail, it’s that it’s only one way. Sometimes two hikers who know each other will swap car keys when they meet in the middle, then meet up down the road for their cars. Actually, they don’t even have to know each other; they can do it for a mutual love of the lake and on the faith the other person wouldn’t do anything to injure what’s theirs.

Alone, I always walk the four miles to the end and then turn around and walk back. It loses some of the magic on the return walk, and on a day like this I have lawns to mow and bricks to weed, and it will be dusk when I get home. I speed it up. Slightly breathless, I finally approach the parking lot and check my watch. Oh, no. As I slip off my pack I look through the trees and see the forest. It makes me smile.

Today’s lesson is this: Don’t overthink it. Heaven is just better when someone meets you on the other side, no matter who it is.

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