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Cabin Fever

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Cabin fever has a hold of me. Come March I am in the throes of agony. Four months of gray, dark, cold and rain has taken its toll on my psyche. My suffering has reached an intolerable level, all the more now because the end is near. Or at least, I tell myself, nearer…

Cabin Fever
Sahale Glacier Camp, North Cascades National Park

Yesterday’s warm temperatures were but a tease. Today again is gray, snow is forecast and disappointment floods back like a tide on time lapse.

Underneath it all I know that I could in fact get outdoors more during the winter, go snow-shoeing, learn cross-country skiing or any of a hundred other activities. The realization that I am just being lazy starts to creep into mind. Quickly I banish such pesky thoughts: suffering only works when you pretend that there are no options.

Cabin Fever
Liberty Bell and the Milky Way

Wikipedia says: “One therapy for cabin fever may be as simple as getting out and interacting with nature. Research has proven that even brief interactions with nature can promote improved cognitive functioning and overall well-being.”

Ah, cognitive functioning, that’s what I am lacking!

Cabin Fever
Mount Rainier, from the Lily Basin Trail

My idea of outdoors activity is backpacking through meadows of lupine and paint brush, gazing for hours at mountain vistas, cooling off in a fresh stream, setting up camp in a secluded meadow.   

So, I sit and read trail and trip descriptions and hone my list of trails for the summer. I look up meadows and vistas on the computer, searching for images, imagining my visit, planning my photographic opportunities.

Cabin Fever
Snowgrass Flats, Goat Rocks Wilderness

I revisit my photographic records of hikes from last year, fretting over my errors in capturing the beauty of a sunset or field of flowers, vowing to carry my tripod on every trip and take more time to stop whenever I see the light beckoning.  

Cabin Fever
Horseshoe Basin, North Cascades National Park

My head swims with anticipation of a trip south to Utah and a jaunt over to the coast. But what I am really jonesing for is another hike up to Sahale Camp, a tramp through endless Goat Rocks wildflowers, or a chance to relax and soak in Mount Baker in the morning light.

Is it time yet?

Cabin Fever
Mount Baker from the Park Butte Trail

For me, photography and outdoor travel have always been linked. In 1976, I planned my first trip on the Pacific Crest Trail. Two of my friends accompanied me - we hitchhiked from Eastern Pennsylvania to the Cascade Locks in Oregon and hiked south through most of Oregon on the trail. I borrowed a friends Nikkormat for the trip and tried hard to capture the look and feel of what I saw. Since that first trip on the PCT I have traveled broadly (50 states, 50 countries), yet no matter where I was living - in the US or overseas - I always felt a tug back to the Pacific Northwest. Finally settled in NW Washington, I am at home and have an abundance of outdoor photographic subjects. My favorite places are the North Cascades and the Olympic Coast. I'm currently offering photography classes in Bellingham, Burlington and Marysville as well as doing photo tours.

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