https://picasaweb.google.com/katacarroll/PinnacleSaddle92013 The most beautiful Valley I’ve ever seen… If you are at Paradise at Mt. Rainier looking at the Tatoosh Mountain Range in the distance, Pinnacle Peak at 6562 ft. is one of many in the range jutting up into the sky in a Tolkeinesque scene of rugged beauty. http://peakbagger.com/range.aspx?rid=125136. We hiked up so far it hurt and was dangerous actually at points. Interesting that we saw more Amanita mushrooms here than ever before….http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_muscaria and Wiki has to say, “Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita, is a poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus, one of many in the genus Amanita. Native throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Amanita muscaria has been unintentionally introduced to many countries in the southern hemisphere, generally as a symbiont with pine plantations, and is now a true cosmopolitan species. It associates with various deciduous and coniferous trees. The quintessential toadstool, it is a large white-gilled, white-spotted, usually red mushroom, one of the most recognisable and widely encountered in popular culture. Several subspecies with differing cap colour have been recognised, including the brown regalis (considered a separate species), the yellow-orange flavivolvata, guessowii, formosa, and the pinkish persicina. Genetic studies published in 2006 and 2008 show several sharply delineated clades that may represent separate species.
Although it is generally considered poisonous, there are few documented human deaths from its consumption, and after having been parboiled it is eaten as a food in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. Amanita muscaria is noted for its hallucinogenic properties, with its main psychoactive constituent being the compound muscimol. The mushroom was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia, and has a religious significance in these cultures. There has been much speculation on possible traditional use of this mushroom as an intoxicant in places other than Siberia, but such traditions are far less well documented. The American banker and amateur ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson proposed that the fly agaric was the soma of the ancient Rig Veda texts of India; since its introduction in 1968, this theory has gained both followers and detractors in anthropological literature.”
Along the way, we passed Washington Trail Association volunteers maintaining the trail. Thanking them profusely, we learn that Jen, the trail-boss, works all over and she looks up to the task.If you’re drawn to this path of service to the World, volunteer here: http://www.wta.org/
Further up toward the peak, streams degrade the trail to the point we’re walking through them so this work is necessary. Donn takes a minute to divert the flow off the trail.
On the way down the peak, we had to grab tree limbs to keep from going over the edge around a few corners- very dangerous…but then whom do we meet at the descent but Charlie, dubbed by a fellow-hiker on the trail down.
He is the friendliest wild creature I’ve EVER met and he ate almonds (which I halved with my teeth) out of my hand. Biting me once on accident, he ran, realizing his breach of trust. “It’s okay sweetheart; come get the other half…” and he is right there again. But get this…when I leave, he RUNS after me! I have fallen in love with…Charlie.
I am a Child of the Forest and the Woods…a friend of fawns and fairies. Tolkien and Lewis…Yes, I can wear the dress and the heels and be charming but this is really who I am at heart, just a barefoot girl grounding out on dewy grass at dawn. I admit, I had to throw stones down the steep and rocky ravine to try to create a rockslide…so a little Elvish and Impishly Mischievious too.
We ran into about 10-15 people which makes me think mid-week will work best for me. I’m used to running into bears, deer, and elk- not people and need silence vs. the laughter of hiking groups. Interesting what Nature means to different people and at different times as I’ve been a part of those hiking groups in the past. For now, I need filling and profound serenity which is Pinnacle Saddle in a nutshell.
At the end, because of using downhill muscle I’m quite unaccustomed to using (very steep descent on slippery rocks) I lay on the wall of Reflection Lake. I am done…tapped out..wasted….