On the west side of the pass, October often brings gray, foggy days to the Seattle area, but there's a simple solution -- go east. Over Stevens Pass to Leavenworth and into Icicle Canyon for a day of dazzling light. The air, filled with the scent of Ponderosa pine basking in sunlight, invites you to breathe deeply.
In a darkened gorge at the bottom of the canyon, Icicle Creek carves stone walls into shapes that inform millenia of Earth going about her seasons, unhindered.
Larch, pine and fir grow tall reaching for the light from deep shadows cast by the canyon walls.
The high terrain that barricades The Enchantments also creates a localized ecosystem with rainforest features as prevailing winds rise and drop a treasure of moisture. Here, a shaggy cedar tree supports tatters of moss, hanging over tannin stained waters that have drained deeply forested ridges.
Higher in the canyon, rejoice your eyes and body in warmth, fragrance and brilliant color. Bottle it in your soul, etch in on the tablets of your heart to save for the long, gray days of coming winter.
And don't forget, winter means snowy days which means snowshoe trips with my dear friend, Jena.
I said, "cheese, Jena," and she said "Camembert."