Mt. Si with Storm Cloud

Mt. Si with Storm Cloud

A gold & blue split-toned black & white photo of Mt. Si partially covered with a storm cloud.

This week we’re going on a tour of mountains. We’ll visit Bhutan, Wales, Tanzania, Washington state and possibly a couple other places (or maybe I’ll make you look at a bunch of Mt. Rainier photos). Mountains are my favorite geological feature, because they are the most visible outward expression of Earth’s forces. Volcanic mountains, such as all of Hawaii, Iceland, Japan, many of the Greek islands, and my favorite range, the Cascades, are from the gradual upwelling of lava and gases, with occasional bursts of excitement, as happens in Hawaii all the time, Iceland sometimes, and at least once in Greece with such force it (probably) became the legend of Atlantis. Others, such as the Appalachian, Urals, Himalaya and Hindu Kush, are there because continents collided (the incredibly ancient Appalachian and Urals), or are colliding currently (the youthful and still growing Himalaya and Hindu Kush), pushing deep layers high above the surface. One of the finds that helps prove plate tectonics (the force that moves continents around) is seabed fossils high in the mountains of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. They could only have gotten there by the sea floor, after millions of years burying small sea animals to make fossils, were shoved upward.

This particular mountain, Mt. Si, in North Bend, Washington state, USA, is one of my favorites in the world. It’s not particularly tall, a little shy of 4200 ft (1270 m), but it’s one of the first true mountains as you move eastward from Seattle to the Cascades. It’s a tiring climb, as the hike to the top is 4 miles (6.4 km), so you’re climbing 1000 ft for every mile (180 m every km), without much of a break. But you get to the top and you feel like you can see forever (if it’s a clear day). I’ve met people jogging up and down Si to train for Rainier, and a lot of hikers use it to break in or test their gear.

On the day I shot this, I was just driving around the back roads, outside North Bend (fans of Twin Peaks should know this town), looking for what Bob Ross might call happy clouds and trees in the rain. I got a lot of nice photos of moss dripping from the intermittent rain, but this, this might just be the best mountain photo I’ve ever done.

Yesterday: Three Bridges
Tomorrow: Looking north from Chele La Pass, Bhutan

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