A light drizzle met us as we began our 2200ft ascent from the foothills of Port Angeles Washington to the clear glacial waters of Lake Angeles. As the afternoon progressed, cooler temperatures from atop the peaks won out over the moist, warm pacific air, and a frigid wind floating hair and coats from their resting places upon our bodies.
The energetic late evening breezes always put my mind at odds with itself. Rushing down off mountainous rock-crags, over fast swollen rivers, through sparse strands of sub-alpine spruce and cedar, the gusts both signal a time to come in, to make fast a camp, and yet to press on, in hungry pursuit of some great magic thing, some secret still untold, that one more bend in the trail must surely reveal. We pressed on.
A little more than an hour later, the scene pictured above would be our reward. Massive stone walls encased a natural cathedral of evergreens and a deep azure blue mountain-spring fed lake. A sparsely covered rock-island raised itself defiantly from the waters of the lake, and at the closest end of its rippling surface, a cluster of weathered logs, knocked loose by avalanche and washout of decades past, aligned themselves to the current of the lake's single out-flow , vying for position in a journey down-stream that they'd never be given chance to finish. We traversed them with flair, and pomp, and child-like soft stepping, as if to say "You belong. You have a purpose here. You may be stuck fast and naked, but you float and you're fun to walk on, so you're part of my story now, and I'll carry you downstream with me."
The comfort and the stillness of Lake Angeles is breathtaking. It stays a long time with you as you descend to the valley's floor, met, once again by the deep rumbling of logging trucks, that pivotal Northwest symbol, that marching ruckus of human progress so eagerly disguised and apologized for in the dense evergreens of the basalt cathedral surrounding the lake above.