Solstice Camping in the Central Cascades

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For the summer solstice this year, my partner and I spent a day in the central cascades, camping off of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. My partner’s camped there for years – it’s his River. Right now, the road out is one of the nastiest in the area, riddled with potholes – but the Forest Service is planning to pave it, opening up access to more people. I’m excited that more people will be able to get in there and explore…but we also lament its future overrun state, and that we won’t have it ‘to ourselves’ anymore (not that it’s not already busy!). Over the past few years, we’ve noticed more and more use of the area. The undiscovered has been discovered.

We set our tent looking through a gap in the trees towards a snow-covered ridgeline. At night, we realized that the supermoon had risen directly in the same gap in the trees. The clouds that had drifted in over the evening swathed the moon, smoothing the moon’s stark brightness to the soft glow of a watercolor painting.

Packing our bags Saturday morning (it was our first camping trip of the year), I was frazzled and barely excited to go. A day in the woods with camera and friends helped me relax, more than any quiet reading or meditation I try for stress relief at home. What is it about the woods that revives us? Is it an instinctual feeling of being home, a genetic remembrance similar to baby birds fearing the silhouette of a hawk?

About Tracy Durnell

Seattle-area graphic designer and SFF writer inspired by the Pacific Northwest, crafting a sustainable and intentional life.

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