Friday, July 24, 2009

Dancing with Whirlwinds

How we found an interesting thing and how I danced with the whirlwinds~

We are tiny creatures. Ants upon a landscape. One following the other across stone and earth. Clouds swirl about. Weather is a possibility. We hear rumbles. They sound like thunder, and that they may be. Off to the right is a sloping hill that falls off to a valley below. To the left, the same. We see but rock, earth, ice, and clouds. Ice on the mountain behind us. We are descending one of its flanks. It is called second Burroughs.

There is an anomaly in this Martian-like landscape. It is impossible to tell what it is from this distance. Metallic. It moves in the wind but is caught. Hung up by something. I go off trail and down slope to look at it. The others wait. It is a thing out of place here. It has been on a journey.

We had hiked up to the memorial to do “12 birds on the dome”. I’ve been here many times. I think Jon has been here before too. It is an awesome place. I want to take Jon on up to thirds Burroughs but we are unsure. I’ve been up here before during a lightning storm. We don’t want to get caught in that. We hear rumbles but are unsure if it is the glacier or advancing weather. We decide against. Too bad. Third Burroughs is an extraordinary place. A place worthy of ones ashes. I have been there before when weather was being born. It is the place where Burroughs becomes the trailing edge of Steamboat Prow. The rounded mountain sharpens into a knife edge. Green moist valley to the east, a direct drop to the glacier to the west. Rainier in front. It was here I stood with fog and mists lifting from the green valley and frigid air mass blasting up from the glacier. The point of their meeting was where I stood. Along this knife edge micro tornados were forming, like Whirling Dervishes, lining up, disappearing. And in these micro tornados snow formed and whirled and danced about me like spirits. They would engulf me and freeze me and spin away again. It was quite cold! And exciting. Imagine a dancing line of snow-whirlpools along this ridgeline including me in their happy existence. There was no snow anywhere else. Only here. You must go there someday.

While at Second Burroughs we lingered, enjoy the scenery and heard things on my FRS radio. They were having some sort of fair or something at Fort Lewis, and I was actually picking up conversation on my meek little radio. We were amazed at the tricks of radio reception. So what would be more unlikely than this?

I reached the object and it made me wonder. How did it get here? Than I looked the object over and I was shocked! A smile came over my face and I returned it up the slope to the others.

My E-Mail went something like this: “Dear Fort Lewis Fire Department. I have just returned from Second Burroughs on the North flanks of Mt Rainier. There, just off the ridge on the east slope at about 6000 feet or so we found one of your Mylar balloons with your Fire Department number on it. Evidently you were having an event and it escaped and made it’s way here to catch its string around a rock. Amazingly enough we could also hear your chatter on my little FRS radio. Hope you had a wonderful time.”


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