Early morning fog along the Mount Baker Highway near Bellingham

I do love a road trip.  Sometimes it still surprises me how I’ve yet to see many parts of Washington State, even after living here for more than thirty years.  This week I took a day trip along Highway 542, the Mount Baker Highway, and realized that this was unexplored territory for me.  I never knew what I was missing!

The Mount Baker Highway is designated as a Washington State Scenic Byway.  It starts in Bellingham (90 miles north of Seattle), and it’s just 58 miles to its end at Artist Point overlooking snow-capped Mount Baker. The outdoor adventure company, GORP, names this road one of the “Top Ten Scenic Mountain Drives” in North America.

I’ll devote several more posts to some of the spectacular spots I discovered along the way.  But today’s post will share the experience of the drive itself — a virtual road trip.  Enjoy the ride!

Fog along Hwy 542

A flock of Canada geese

Heading east toward the Cascade Mountains, blue in the distance

Towering trees in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Little bits of fall color amidst the evergreen

The road ascends

Surrounded by high peaks

Curving Mount Baker Highway near Artist Point at 5,100 feet of elevation











Wild Geese

May 12, 2009

Pair of Canada geese above the pond on my Dad's farm

Pair of Canada geese above the pond on my Dad's farm

Canada goose coming in for a landing

Canada goose coming in for a landing

Canada goose landing in the meadow

Canada goose landing in the meadow

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile, the world goes on.
Meanwhile, the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination.
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

     — Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”  (Thank you to Lynne, who gave this poem in her comments to my April 28th post.)

Every spring, my Dad awaits the return of a pair of Canada geese to the pond by his long driveway.  Once they arrive, he sets out shelled corn every day to entice them to stay.  It is possible that the same pair has been returning year after year.  Canada geese typically mate for life, are monogamous, and they can live up to 24 years in the wild.

Today is my 31st wedding anniversary.  I’d like to use this pair of Canada geese as a metaphor for our marriage.  I’d like to think that we will be together for life.  I’d like to think that we can travel far and wide, but still return together to the place we call home.