This is not a stock photo. It was taken with an iPhone by my partner, Christina, on a recent September day. Mt. Shucksan as mirrored in Picture Lake is one of the iconic photographs in Washington state. And we were lucky enough to visit when photographic conditions were perfect.
Many, many things about that day were inspirational. We drove past Picture Lake up to Artist’s Point where Mt. Shucksan rises in one direction and Washington’s youngest volcano, Mt. Baker, rises in the other direction. For several hours we hiked the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail filling our souls with the majesty of these two great mountains.
There were lots of people on the trail that day. We paused in the shade of a tree island to rest and have a small snack. An older woman and three male hikers paused to rest with us.
“Pardon me,” I said to the woman. “I am 64 and always looking to be inspired by someone older than myself. Do you mind if I ask how old you are?”
“I’m 90,” she said.
“Wow!” I responded.
“We are a four generation hiking party,” she continued. “My son here is 65. My grandson is 44 and my great grandson is 6.”
We had a marvelous conversation, including learning that she had just hiked three rocky, occasionally steep miles with her family. Her grandson, obviously proud of his grandmother, volunteered a lot of information about this Illinois woman hiking along at 5,000 feet elevation. I learned that part of her secret is hiking several miles a day and enjoying a gin and tonic at night.
As we watched them hike back towards the parking lot, I found myself as inspired by human nature as I was by scenic nature.