Two weeks ago I hiked the Cape Horn Trailhead and I wondered why I had this urgent need to hike the 8.3 miles. Now I know. The loss of this beautiful forest is indeed one of the most tragic things to hit the Northwest.
Home … I lived in this forest 12 miles from the nearest town, the nearest neighbor a mile to the left and right and the river to one side and the mountains to the other. I knew this forest intimately … well enough that upon my recent adventures to visit the trees I knew they were not doing well.
I spoke with Rangers near the Ripplebrook Ranger Station this last weekend and discovered that there has been a disease they were trying to combat. It is difficult to see from this beautiful picture, but they were dry, brittle, and dying on the inside. Being part of the forest every waking moment for those 8 years I can sense, and see, the suffering.
At Panther Creek I noted a big Forest Service sign stating they were growing an experimental forest, this “disease” is making all of the forests sick … now there are many which burn.
This is my home … I went to bed every night listening to the Wind River as it flowed outside my bedroom window, the forest alive with the sound of the life it held. In the past month my visits to this forest have been filled with silence, no songs were being sung, like they once were.
I have been blessed with a final opportunity to say my appreciation to these wonderful trees, these trees and land that healed me when I was broken. I thank God for urging me in their direction … one last time … before they had to go.